InterSpeech 2021

Exploration of Welsh English Pre-aspiration: How Wide-Spread is it?
(3 minutes introduction)

Míša Hejná (Aarhus University, Denmark)
This study investigates how widespread pre-aspiration and local breathiness are in English spoken in Wales, by speakers identifying as Welsh. While the main purpose is to establish whether the phenomenon is generally present in Welsh English, the data also enables us to explore whether pre-aspiration might be conditioned by sex/gender, age, and the ability to speak Welsh. An acoustic corpus of 45 speakers producing word-final plosives and fricatives is analysed. Pre-aspiration and local breathiness are produced by all speakers, representing 32 towns and 16 areas included in the analyses. Pre-aspiration and breathiness are more frequent and longer in L1 and L2 Welsh speakers than those who do not speak Welsh at all. In general, no statistically significant sex and age effects emerge. In addition, a gradient allophony between pre-aspiration and glottalisation is reported for all speakers in the plosive context: the more frequently they glottalise, the less frequent the pre-aspiration. In fricatives, most speakers do not glottalise. Regarding those who do, 1. some display no relationship between pre-aspiration and glottalisation, and 2. a minority display either an indication of gradient allophony between the two, or 3. a positive correlation.