Consonant Mutations

The mutation or alteration of word-initial consonants is an important part of all modern Celtic languages. These Initial Consonant Mutations are used in numerous ways to show grammatical information and often occur following certain words. It is important to get to grips with the changes mutations cause as they will make understanding Cumbraek much easier.

Cumbraek has three initial consonant mutations called LenitionSpirantisation and Nasalisation, each of which causes different changes and affects different consonants. The changes caused are summarised in the table below:

Unmutated Lenition Spirantisation Nasalisation
p b f  
t d th  
c g ch  
b v   m
d dh   n
g h/-   ng
gw w ( w ) nw
m v    
j     ny


  • is lenited to h- before a vowel, but is lost before a consonant: i hen his jawer lann the shore
  • words beginning with the prefixed go-, gor- or the sequences gu-, goo- usually lenite to wo(r)-, wu-, woo- etc.
  • Lenition of d, g, b does not occur when the preceding word ends in t, k, p; e.g. gant davat with a sheep not gant dhavat.


Besides the three consonant mutations above, some words cause an h’ to be attached to a following word beginning with a vowel, e.g. i h’ewidir her uncle.

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