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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 1:17 am 
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Hello, so, there are some very knowledgeable and well read people on this forum, and there is a topic of interest to me that if you know much about maybe you could share your knowledge with me.

I read in a book in the library a few weeks ago, a chapter on the phonetics of the Irish language by a researcher named Cathal O'Dochartaigh, who was from Donegal.

He seemed to suggest that the Irish of Western Connaught, and the Irish of his own family in Donegal, was phonetically, overall, much closer to the phonetics of Old Irish than the Irish of the South (Munster).


Do any of you have any further insights on this?


I find it fascinating, that although the written standard of Classical Irish shared between Ireland and Scotland from the 13th to 17th centuries was possibly closer to the current Munster dialect, that the other dialects retained more of the phonetic features. And in the case of Connaught in particular, this makes a lot of sense given the millions of Irish speakers there before the famine who would have had little to no exposure to other languages.

Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 2:56 am 
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I'm fairly sure the language of An Rinn and other areas around Waterford were influenced by English and French. Apparently, some of the intonation is different from other Irish dialects as a result of the Normans, i.e. intonation on the final syllable of a word. And you have words like "garsún" for boy. I'll look into some of it as I am also interested by others probably know more.


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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 9:19 am 
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"In a somewhat wider sense, this dialect belongs to what may be termed the Irish of Middle Connacht. It may be added that Middle Connacht is the only major region relatively unaffected by one or other of those great linguistic movements—spreading respectively from the North-East and from the South—that have largely moulded the history of spoken Irish since the 13th century. Indeed, observers have been struck by the apparent closeness of the dialect to the classical form of Modern Irish ; a fidelity that is all the more remarkable because, unlike Northern or Southern Irish, that of Middle Connacht has depended solely on oral tradition ever since the fall of the classical order, over three centuries ago. Evidently the old tradition was transmitted orally with considerable success."

-Seán de Búrca, The Irish of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo

"The Irish of Erris seems to be typical of Mayo Irish in general ; it is conservative in its sounds, as also in its declensional patterns, and has not gravely digressed from Classical Irish, though there are some features in which it shows a striking departure from classical forms. Two scholars in the past have had observations to make which are apposite here and may be quoted. John Mac Neill in Clare Island Survey, Section I, part 3, p. 7, says of the local dialect of Clare Island : 'Its phonetic system is the best preserved of all the extant Irish dialects known to me, that is to say, is the most fully in conformity with the orthography of Early Modern Irish.' T.F. O'Rahilly in his Irish Dialects, p. 246 remarks : 'On the whole it would seem that the Irish of N. Connacht has the fewest deviations from the older pronunciation.' Their remarks would appear to be equally applicable to the Irish of Erris today."

-Éamonn Mhac an Fhailigh, The Irish of Erris, Co. Mayo


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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 1:08 pm 
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Yes Tiomluas Waterford, Cork etc very likely did get some of that Norman French influence (words like garsúin etc), dynasties such as the Fitzgeralds leaving their influence. Not to mention the Cromwellian plantations later.


Suairc thank you for those quotes. It's a crying shame that those Mayo gaeltachts weren't protected and preserved better.

I wonder how the Cois Fharraige/Connemara dialects compare to those Mayo dialects.


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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 4:25 pm 
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oisin wrote:
I wonder how the Cois Fharraige/Connemara dialects compare to those Mayo dialects.


In terms of what? Connemara Irish isn't a great representation of Connacht Irish in general, having been influenced by one of those "linguistic movements" De Búrca referred to. Not to say that it's somehow corrupted :D , variety is a great thing!


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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 6:16 pm 
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Quote:
Do any of you have any further insights on this?


what is "archaic" in Donegal Irish :
- the sets of consonants : /L' l' L l N' n' N n/ (Munster: only l l' n n')
- the fact that unlike other dialects, historically-short vowels aren't lengthened or diphtongized (?) before L N m
- the use of direct relative endings in -s (they also exist in Connachta but not in Munster)
- certain irregular verbal forms (some can be found in Munster too) : tchí, gheibh, théid, thig...

maybe other features I don't have in mind right now.

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jun 2019 6:39 pm 
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Ah that is interesting Suairc, when O'Dochartaigh spoke of Western Connaught would that not be referring to Connemara dialects or Cois Fhairrge?

In the book I browsed called 'The Celtic Languages' by Donald McAuley, O'Dochartaigh wrote that the Irish of Western Connaught and Donegal, at the time of writing, as he said changes were happening, were the closest phonetically to older forms of Irish.


Thank you Lughaidh that is interesting. I suppose all dialects have their archaisms and innovations. Even the most divergent phonetically (Munster), managed to be the only dialect to hold on to many of the classical verb endings (like 'beir' instead of 'beidh tú' for example).


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PostPosted: Sun 02 Jun 2019 5:03 pm 
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It's hard to say without having read it! I'd assume Western Connacht refers to Connemara.

oisin wrote:
He seemed to suggest that the Irish of Western Connaught, and the Irish of his own family in Donegal, was phonetically, overall, much closer to the phonetics of Old Irish than the Irish of the South (Munster).


Connemara is indeed closer to Old Irish phonetically speaking than Munster Irish so his suggestion was right. Donegal and Northern Connacht are even more so.

However, Munster is more conservative grammatically speaking than the rest.


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jun 2019 3:05 am 
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And are the phonetics of Cois Fhairrge and Erris/Tourmakeady very different or just very slightly different?


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jun 2019 8:02 am 
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Suairc wrote:
Connemara is indeed closer to Old Irish phonetically speaking than Munster Irish so his suggestion was right. Donegal and Northern Connacht are even more so.

However, Munster is more conservative grammatically speaking than the rest.


That situation has surprising parallels in other languages… For example, go bhfios dom, western Norwegian dialects are the most conservative Scandinavian -lects in terms of pronunciation – their phonetic inventory is the closest to that of Old Norse, but on the other hand it is Icelandic, which diverged phonetically considerably, that is the most conservative grammatically (and so Icelanders can fairly easily understand written Old Norse, but it’s possible that Norwegians would have a bit easier time understanding it spoken even though they would not understand the grammar).


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