Traditional Welsh poetry has been marked by patterns of correspondences among sounds in alliterations and rhyme. Ostensibly, these correspondences have depended upon precise phonetic matches following prescribed patterns. However, throughout the history of Welsh literature, there have been apparent lapses and exceptions to this phonetic regularity. This work proposes that these apparent phonetic irregularities in the history of Welsh literature derive not from the actual acoustic phonetic perceptions of the poets and reciters, but rather from the manner in which we have described the sounds themselves as letters or as phonetic segments. This work is of importance not only to Welsh and Celtic Studies in general, but also to phonetics, linguistics, and poetics.
Toby D. Griffen, Professor Emeritus of Foreign Languages and Literature at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, received his A.B. in Modern languages from The Citadel, his M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Virginia, and his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Florida. He has published extensively in linguistics, Welsh, and Celtic Studies, and is currently serving as President of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States.
Commendatory Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The Rules of Cynghanedd; 2. The Phonetics; 3. Prosodic Alliterations; 4. Generic Rhyme and Alliteration; 5. Epenthesis and Mesotomy; 6. Nonsyllabics; 7. The "Exceptions"; 8. The Accent Rule of Cynghanedd; 9. Implications for Poetry and Phonology; Bibliography; Index