Mutations - how many causes?
Following from a discussion my wife and I were having about when things do and don't mutate (I was able to work out the specific answer we were looking for, but this is a more general question), I had a look at the grammar guide downloadable from the BBC web site, and I see it lists thirty-one different circumstances that can cause a soft mutation.
Obviously we will encounter some of them more often than others (we are more likely to have a feminine singular noun after a definite article than most other situations, for example), and I would have grouped things a little differently, resulting in a slightly smaller number of items (they separate "masculine nouns following the number two" from "feminine nouns following the number two" from "nouns after the ordinal 'second'", for example), but how many of the different situations (for all mutations) are we actually likely to encounter in conversation? How many of them (roughly) are actually picked up in this course?
The existential problem of learning Welsh.
In terms of a general conversation they are quite often not that important because casual speech is often short phrases and half finished sentences.
Also most Welsh speakers native and learners make mistakes with mutations.
So from the point of view of learning and practising speaking it's more important to speak at as normal a conversation speed as possible and not worrying about mistakes than ensuring each sentence is perfectly grammatically correct but taking a minute over each one.
Thanks for that reminder that it's better to just get on with it (I did know, but had forgotten in the almost thirty years since I was telling jokes to a farmer who spoke only French). And thanks to ibisc for the numbers and the "feel" for what this course actually covers.
It depends how you count them, really. 30-40 causes of soft mutation would be about right, a few of nasal mutation and perhaps ten for aspirate mutation.
This course covers the most common ones in the basic patterns of the colloquial language.