Modern Gallaecian mutation

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Modern Gallaecian features, as other Celtic languages, a word-initial consonantal mutation system. While there is some evidence that other Continental Celtic languages such as Gaulish might have evolved mutation,[1] it is impossible to ascertain whether Gallaecian would too.

Soft mutation (bucoscaso)

The so-called soft mutation affects plosive consonants. It is the result of plosives voicing between vowels or voiced consonants.


  • Feminine nouns of either number in the direct case after the definite article: beaem vea, terbaem derbas.
  • Singular masculine nouns in the locative case after the definite article: torhedoen dorheide.
  • After singular possessive pronouns, that is, mo ‘my’, to ‘your’, and so ‘his/her/its’: quenomo gueno, páto bá, gañaso haña.
  • After certain prepositions:
  • In singular existential constructions: téTa dé uba ‘There is tea here’
  • After the numbers 2, 5, and 8: tomatedau domate, quessoquenque guesso, polbootu bolbo.
  • After the negative particle ne: cobruñeNe gobru ‘I don't want’

Nasal mutation (esloñaloscaso)

Nasal or hard mutation is far less common than its soft counterpart. Celtic nasal endings *-om, *-ām evolved into nasalized vowels, which lost the nasalization in most environments. In those where it was kept, it mutated the following consonant, hence the name.

Original > Mutated
b > m
d n
g c/qu
m v


  • After a genitive plural pronoun, i.e. asero ‘our’, suero ‘your’, and so ‘their’: dunoasero nuno.
  • After the number seven: garoseta caro.
  • After the preposition i: míi ví camerze.

Marginal mutations

Hard g

Outside soft and nasal mutations, the letter g shifts to c (before a, o, or u) and qu (after e and i) after a word ending in n, namely the definite article en.

M-to-b mutation

While regarded as a kind of soft mutation, it is the only mutation in Modern Gallaecian that is not triggered by the preceding sounds. Instead, if a syllable starts with m and its coda or the onset of the following one is an n, the former mutates into a b.

mini-saia bini ‘miniskirt’ [3]


  1. ^ Gray, Louis H. (October 1944). "Mutation in Gaulish". Language. Linguistic Society of America. 20 (4): 223. doi:10.2307/410121. JSTOR 410121.
  2. ^ Superseded by the hard g mutation.
  3. ^ Only example available; does this count as a hapax legomenon?