Linguistic research

I did some research on grammatical gender for my bilingualism class today which was similar to the experiment I tried out here last week.

The victims participants were all native speakers of Welsh and we asked them to assign male or female voices to inanimate objects, some of which are usually associated with men – (beard, hammer, screwdriver); some are usually associated with women (brooch, dress, needle); while others are semantically neutral (clock, table, television). We were trying to see whether they would be guided by the semantic or Welsh grammatical gender, and in most cases they went with the semantic gender, except for the neutral objects, for which some of them followed the Welsh genders.

Apart from the assignment of genders, I found it interesting that most of the participants learnt Welsh first and only started learning English from the age of 4 or 5, i.e. when they started school. This is quite common in this part of Wales. We also asked them estimate the percentage of Welsh and English they use. Some said they use both languages equally, others use Welsh far more than English -up to 90% of the time.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
This entry was posted in Bilingualism, English, Language, Linguistics, Welsh.

0 Responses to Linguistic research

  1. Adam says:

    Yes i couldn’t speak fluent English until i was atleast 7. Didn’t have English always used to watch planed plant , my primary school was and is a naturall welsh medium local school, My village welsh speakin and my family therefore never needed English i learnt English like English people learn french as a foreign language. Obviously now i can speak English but i rarely use it comepared to my Welsh i’de say welsh for about 90% + of the time to and the rest being English, German, Afrikaans, Spanish, or dutch.

  2. Drew says:

    This is relatively unrelated – I apologize for that, understand you’re busy and I don’t demand a reply.

    I’m an American college student studying Irish – I read an article (I believe it was in National Geographic) that was describing a man’s attempt to learn Welsh, and it was claimed that his teacher recomended that he drink coffee in the mornings because that would “get the saliva flowing” and therefore help with his pronunciation. I was wondering if anyone has found this to be true for them in learning Welsh, and more to the point, if the same would produce similar results in Irish pronunciation?

    Are there any other tricks of this sort to be found in the practice of Irish pronunciation?

  3. Simon says:

    Drew – I haven’t heard of that method to help with Welsh pronunciation, or of anything similar to help with Irish pronunciation.

    Listening to the languages as much as possible using online radio and TV is a good way to tune your ears to their sounds and rhythms.

    I find it helps to practise mimicing an Irish accent when speaking English and to try to use the same accent in Irish – I do the Ulster accent best.

  4. Drew says:

    Thanks!