Articulation and neutralization: A preliminary study of lenition in Scottish Gaelic

Diana Archangeli, Samuel Johnston, Jae Hyun Sung, Muriel Fisher, Michael Hammond, Andrew Carnie

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Initial Consonant Mutation in Scottish Gaelic is considered to be morphological, somewhat idiosyncratic, and neutralizing, that is merging either the mutated sound and some underlying sound or merging two mutated sounds. This study explores articulation in one class of mutation, called Lenition (also Aspiration), asking the question of whether these sounds are articulated in the same fashion or not. Comparison of relevant ultrasound images collected from 3 native speakers of Scottish Gaelic shows that speakers maintain distinctions between True Lenition and False Lenition, suggesting that there is incomplete neutralization. Furthermore, when Lenition of two distinct sounds converge on the same target, subjects again keep the two articulations distinct. These results are consistent with a phonological model which distinguishes between surface forms corresponding to different sources, showing very little complete articulatory neutralisation.


  • Articulatory phonetics
  • Consonant mutation
  • Lenition
  • Scottish gaelic
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Signal Processing
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation


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