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Re: 'Slainte': pronunciation?

From:Doug Barr <lingoman@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 5:10
It's correctly written slàinte with the accented à, at least in
Scottish Gaelic and is pronounced roughly /sl_d_ea:JJ\@/ if I have
Conlang X-Sampa correctly - that is, S + +
lengthened.A + palatalized.N + palatalized.voiced.stop + schwa.

As to why, there is an orthographic rule "caol ri caol agus leathann
ri leathann" "slender to slender and broad to broad," referring to
spelling with vowels. E and I are called "slender," A O U Ao
(pronounced /M:/) Adh when pronounced /7/ and their diphthongs are
"broad"; slender vowels cause palatalization of neighbouring
consonants. The rule means that single or clustered consonants within
a word must be surrounded by vowels of the same quality. The root
word of slàinte is slàn "safe/healthy", with a broad vowel and
therefore broad consonants but when you add the ending -te, which
contains a narrow vowel, you add in an i before the consonant cluster.

An example of this is the genitive case of masculine nouns, e.g.
balach, "boy". The original form, in Old Celtic at the stage it had
case endings like Latin, might have been - if the root goes back that
far and if there was no vowel change, neither of which I'm sure of -
something like balacos, with genitive balaci as will be familar to
any Latin-speaker (and the c is of course /k/ throughout). The c in
the genitive would have been palatalized to /k_j/ in pronunciation
because of the following i. Then later, the c - being between vowels
- was lenited, so you got something like balachos, genitive balachi,
with ch representing /x/. The /x sound would still be palatalized to /
x_j/ in the genitive, of course. Finally, much later, almost all last
syllables were dropped, annihilating the nominal case system, so the
nominative was now balach and the genitive was /'bal_d_e@x_j/,
retaining the palatalization of the now-final consonant, which they
chose to spell as "balaich."

Clear as mud, yes? Aren't you glad you asked? :-D


Glóir nan cairdean as milse na mhil. The praise of friends is sweeter
than honey. (Gaelic proverb)

On Oct 24, 2006, at 8:34 AM, Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Hi! > > How is Gaelic 'slainte' pronounced? And why? (I.e., the orthographic > rules leading to the pronunciation would be interesting to me, > too. :-)) > > And is it written correctly? > > Bye, > Henrik