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Re: Gaelic broad/slender vowels

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Monday, August 21, 2000, 15:33
> Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 10:54:54 -0400 > From: John Cowan <jcowan@...>
> callanish wrote: > > > In Gaelic this system is much more widespread and regularized, of > > course, but that's really all there is to it. You just have to > > remember that certain letters have two pronunciations: one next to > > A/O/U and one next to E/I.
> Yes, that is the easy part, particularly since the slender pron. of > consonants is simply palatalized. The hard part is to remember how > all the different vowels, vowel diphthongs, and vowel triphthongs > are actually pronounced, which is far from obvious. The worst case > is "ao", which is pronounced "<broad> e <broad>". But even in cases > like "ai", is that "<broad> a <slender>" or "<broad> i <slender>"?
And going the other way is just as bad --- I bought a number of primers on Irish once I visited Dublin, and none of them had usable aids for getting from pronunciation to spelling. Never mind that /x/ can be both <d.> and <g.>, the silent <f.>s and so on --- there was not even a list of 'if you hear /e/ between two broad consonants, it's probably spelled <ao>' and so on. And what happens if the consonant does not have broad and slender versions, or if a word has no initial or final consonant? I know, I should go spend GBP 100 on a proper graduate-level grammar. Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)