This paper attempts to account for the linguistic variation amongst the Welsh speakers of the Treorci area of the Rhondda Fawr valley at the end of the 1970s. This is done by using and adapting sociolinguistic techniques developed by pioneers in the field, in particular William Labov. The paper begins with a classical phonological description of the Welsh used by the native speakers recorded. It then goes on to explore the relationship between the ‘free’ variation recorded in informants’ speech, through the concept of the linguistic variable and the social network. A detailed analysis of the data is given – both quantitative and qualitative – which adds to our knowledge of Welsh dialects, and also helps us to understand how social factors influence the choice of language by individual speakers.
Linguistic variation amongst Welsh speakers in Treorchy at the end of the seventies
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