| Scottish Pronounciation Guide
, How do you say...
Posted: 02-Aug-2004, 03:26 PM
Group: Celtic Nation
| 1. Letters
There are eighteen letters in the Gaelic Alphabet, namely:-
a, o, u; e, i
b, p, f, m; c, g; l, n, r, t, d, s; h
The vowels are divided into two classes:
a, o, u
[Note: The term used nowadays in English is "SLENDER" rather than "SMALL" - CPD]
They have a long and a short sound. The long-sound vowels have a duration mark over them; the short-sound vowels have no such mark, thus:-
a, o, u; e, i
à, ò, ó, ù; è, é, ì
Two and three vowels coming together, with the sound of the one passing into the other, are called Diphthongs and Triphthongs; as, uan, uaigh.
Some have but one simple sound; as, gaol, ceum.
H is called the aspirate letter, and when used after the consonants b, p, f, m, c, g, d, t, s, it forms the aspirates, bh, ph, fh, mh, ch, gh, dh, th, sh.
[Note: The term used nowadays in English is "lenition". The term traditionally "aspiration", although traditionally used in English grammars of Gaelic, is actually phonetically incorrect. - CPD]
When used at the beginning of a word it is written thus, h-; as na h-uain; and has a strong breathing sound.
The letters, sg, sm, sp, st, have no aspirated form.
2. Vowel Sounds
3. Consonant Sounds
B, sounds almost as sharp as p in English.
Bh, is like v; sometimes the sound of bh in the middle and at the end of certain words is like u, and sometimes it is silent.
F, is like f in English.
Fh, is silent, except in the three words fhéin, fhuair, fhathast, when it has the sound of h.
M, is like m in English.
Mh, is like v, and more nasal than bh. It is silent in the middle and end of some words, and gives a nasal sound to the vowel. In some districts it has the sound of u; as, samhradh, pronounced sauradh.
P, is like p in English.
Ph, is like f in English.
C, is always hard; before a, o, u, it has the sound of c in can; after a, o, u, it has the same sound in some districts; as, cnoc, like ck in lock; but more generally the sound of chk; before e, i, and after i, like c in came.
Ch, preceded or followed by a, o. u, has a gutteral sound like ch in loch; in contact with e, i, it has a more slender sound.
Chd, has the sound of chk; as luchd, pronounced luchk.
G, has a flatter sound than c, before and after a, o. u, it is like g in got; in contact with e, i, it sounds nearly like g in get.
Gh, is flatter than ch; before and after e, i, it has the sound of y in English; in contact with a, o, u, it has a broader sound. In the middle and end of certain words it is silent.
T, has a flatter sound that t in English; when preceded or followed by a, o. u, the sound is like th in than but stronger, and is produced by putting the point of the tongue against or between the teeth; in contact with e, i, it has the sound of ch in chin.
Th, beginning a word has the sound of h; silent in the pronoun thu, and in certain tenses of irregular verbs when preceded by d'. In the middle of some words it has a slight aspiration, in others it is silent.
D, is the flat sound of t; in the same position it has almost same sound as t, but softer.
Dh, is equal to gh in the same position.
S, in contact with a, o. u, is like s in English; before or after e, i, like sh; after t- (with hyphen) it is silent.
Sh, has the sound of h.
L, before or after a, o. u, and ll after a, o, u, have a flatter sound than l in English, and is produced by pressing the point of the tongue against the teeth as in the word that; in contact with e, i, the sound is like ll in million. It has a simple sound after i, and when aspirated it is like l in English.
N, in conjunction with a, o. u, is like n in English; m has a flatter sound; with e, i, it has a slender sound like n in pinion; n aspirated has the sound of n in English; after c, g, m, t, it resembles the sound of r.
R, rr, like r in English.
Monosyllables ending in lb, lbh, lg, lm, nm, rg, rb, rbh, rm, are sounded as two syllables; thus, fearg (fearug), dealbh (dealuv), marbh (maruv).
The letters l, n, have an aspirated sound, though the aspirate letter is not used, so also has r though much slighter.
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