Stump (1988)

De Arbres
  • Stump, Gregory T. 1988. 'Non-local spirantization in Breton', Journal of Linguistics 24:2, 457-81.

 "Among the most striking morphosyntactic characteristics shared by the Celtic languages are their elaborate consonant mutation systems. It is clear from the most cursory inspection that in such systems, the range of possible syntactic relations between mutation triggers and their targets is subject to principled  limits. In a recent paper, Zwicky (1984) has hypothesized that trigger-target relations are universally restricted by the constraint in (1):
 (1)   The trigger determining a rule feature for a morphophonemic rule must be adjacent to the affected word and c-command it (Zwicky, 1984:389). Following Zwicky, I shall refer to this as the TRIGGER CONSTRAINT. The effect of this constraint is to rule out the possibility that a word may undergo a particular morphophonemic rule as the result of the influence of some 'non-local' triggering expression. As Zwicky shows, certain  evidence from the Welsh system of initial consonant mutations appears to require the postulation of non-local mutation triggers, and thus seems to disconfirm the Trigger Constraint. He argues convincingly, however, that the Welsh evidence can in fact be brought into conformity with this constraint. Here, I will present some data from the Breton mutation system which poses genuine difficulties for the Trigger Constraint; depending upon one's assumptions, the reconciliation of this data with the version of the Trigger Constraint in (1) is either impossible, or can only be achieved through the introduction of an unprecedented sort of rule."


  • Zwicky, A. M. 1984. 'Welsh soft mutation and the case of object NPs', CLS 20, 387-402.