MInor mutation query

I wonder if someone could help me with a minor mutation query. In a book I am currently reading (‘Ar Daith Olaf’, by Alun Davies, quite a good read) there occurs at one point the phrase ‘Cam wrth gam’ (step by step), in the sentence ‘Cam wrth gam, troedfedd wrth droedfedd, rydyn ni’n dringo’r llwybr serth’. So, no mutation of the first ‘cam’, which is as I would expect. But in another place, we get the same phrase this time with the first ‘cam’ mutated: ‘Er gwaetha’r gwynt a’r glaw mae’r chwys yn diferu i lawr fy nghefn wrth i mi lusgo Alaw, gam wrth gam, i fyny’r llwybr’.

Is there an actual mutation rule at work here, or is mutation of the first ‘cam’ in the phrase simply optional and dependent on whatever seems to the writer to flow better, which may be influenced by nothing more than the phrase’s position in the sentence?

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment

This looks like a question for @garethrking :grinning:

I don’t want to even hazard a guess, but if I say those out loud they sound right, and changing the mutations sounds strange.

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Well I would hazard a guess that it’s gam wrth gam if you ARE treating the whole phrase as an adverb (perfectly defensible, I would say), in which case that first gam is mutated because we mutate adverbs and adverbial phrases; whereas it would be cam wrth gam if you’re NOT treating the whole phrase as an adverb.

Does that sound like a convincing wriggle? :slight_smile: