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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 4:36 pm 
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I'm relatively new to learning Irish on my own and have already learnt a lot more than I did in school. I do have one query though which I can't find a solid answer for and would appreciate if anyone could shed some light for me.

Everywhere I check on pronunciation shows the pronunciation for the lenited G (gh) to be either a slightly gargled sound or a 'y' sound depending on whether it's broad or slender. I'm from Munster however, and have always heard words like "Corcaigh" and "Taoisigh" end in 'g' sound. I can't find anything online which explains this, although Teanglann's pronunciation database seems to agree with the 'g' sound for the Munster dialect.

I assume this is a feature of the language specific to Munster, but that's about it. If anyone can explain the rules to pronouncing 'gh' in the Munster dialect and if they are shared with the pronunciation of 'dh' I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks a million!


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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 5:23 pm 
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Those words Corcaigh and taoisigh do have the -igh pronounced as a slender g.

It seems all words ending in -igh have the slender g pronunciation - they don't have a guttural dh or a y-sound.

At the beginning of a word, a slender gh is often transcribed as /j/, but I find this misleading, as, where it occurs before another consonant (important caveat), the sound is more like the patalalised version of the guttural gh. [The issue seems to be that the IPA doesn't distinguish between front-palatal and back-patalal sounds, and the gh in ghrian is back-palatal.]

If you listen to my recording of Eóiní Maidhcí Ó Súilleabháin saying such sounds, you will see what I mean: https://archive.org/details/ThePronunci ... rish/j.mp3

He is saying there: a Dhia, ana-dheas, dea-ghníomh, do-ghléas, sa ghleann, mo ghreim, an ghrian, mo dhriotháir (the first two of these have /j/; the rest have the back-palatal guttural).

It is also true that words in -idh have the slender g pronunciation, and not guttural dh or a y-sound. Like: 'na dhiaidh. But where a slender dh- starts a word and stands before another consonant, then it has the palatalised guttural (not a y-sound), as in mo dhriotháir above.

The genitive of magadh is magaidh, with a slender g. Likewise the genitives of margadh and samhradh.

I think in some cases, the traditional orthography could lead people astray. So the genitive of madradh, "dog", was traditionally spelt madraidh, but there was no slender g. That's because the word was reinterpreted as madra, with the genitive madra, and it is so spelt today. Ampla, with the genitive ampla, was traditionally spelt ampladh with the genitive amplaidh. The word ionadh is pronounced úna in both nominative and genitive, and so traditional spellings like iongnaidh in the genitive are misleading. One approach would be to spell this word iúna, thus obviating any discussion of the pronunciation of the genitive. Lonnradh was traditionally spelt lonnraidh in the genitive, but it seems both nominative and genitive are lúra in Cork Irish (and possibly lúnra in Kerry Irish???). has the genitive , but was traditionally spelt gábhadh, with gábhaidh in the genitive. So a whole class of words in -adh have been reanalysed as words effectively in -a.

Some other words like ceó and gleó have genitives ceóigh and gleóigh, with a slender g, and so arguably they should be spelt ceódh and gleódh in the nominative. As far as I can tell, the traditional spelling was ceo and gleo, and so the genitives have -igh by analogy with other words possibly??


Last edited by djwebb2021 on Fri 20 Aug 2021 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 5:52 pm 
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Let me simplify:

At the end of a word: taoisigh - slender g. Same for the final sound in diaidh.

At the beginning of a word before a vowel: gheibhim - y-sound. Same for the initial sound in dhiaidh.

At the beginning of a word in a consonant cluster: ghrian - palatalised guttural. Same for dhriotháir.

In the middle of a word gh and dh are often swallowed up in diphthongs or long vowels. Aighneas and laidhricín illustrate this. you can hear the pronunciations at https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/aighneas and https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/laidhric%c3%adn


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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 6:45 pm 
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djwebb2021 wrote:
[The issue seems to be that the IPA doesn't distinguish between front-palatal and back-patalal sounds, and the gh in ghrian is back-palatal.]


IPA does distinguish between j (voiced palatal approximant) and ​⁠ʝ⁠​ (voiced palatal fricative)

ghrian ʝ⁠ɾʲiːən


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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 7:58 pm 
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djwebb2021 wrote:
Let me simplify:

At the end of a word: taoisigh - slender g. Same for the final sound in diaidh.

At the beginning of a word before a vowel: gheibhim - y-sound. Same for the initial sound in dhiaidh.

At the beginning of a word in a consonant cluster: ghrian - palatalised guttural. Same for dhriotháir.

In the middle of a word gh and dh are often swallowed up in diphthongs or long vowels. Aighneas and laidhricín illustrate this. you can hear the pronunciations at https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/aighneas and https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fuaim/laidhric%c3%adn


Thank you very much! That is certainly a lot more information than I could find anywhere else.


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PostPosted: Fri 20 Aug 2021 8:03 pm 
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Labhrás wrote:
djwebb2021 wrote:
[The issue seems to be that the IPA doesn't distinguish between front-palatal and back-patalal sounds, and the gh in ghrian is back-palatal.]


IPA does distinguish between j (voiced palatal approximant) and ​⁠ʝ⁠​ (voiced palatal fricative)

ghrian ʝ⁠ɾʲiːən


I know about /⁠ʝ⁠​/. But I don't think the problem is whether it is an approximant or a fricative, but rather the place of articulation. The slender gh is at the back of the throat.


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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug 2021 8:20 am 
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Slender gh is palatal. It can't be further back in mouth than the end of the hard palate. Because everything behind is velar or "broad".

But you might be right that fricative slender gh "/ʝ/" is further back than approximant slender gh "/j/"- the latter a real palatal sound, the former rather a palatovelar sound (in IPA γ with a cross beneath) - that would correspond to its plosive counterpart "/ɟ/" (slender g) being rather a palatovelar plosive (in IPA g with a cross beneath).

But I'm no linguist and certainly no expert in phonology. Usually ɟ (slender g), ʝ/j (slender gh) are the symbols given as if all these sounds were true palatals.
And the difference between slender gh+vowel and slender gh+consonant is shown by j and ʝ.


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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug 2021 11:24 am 
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Labhrás wrote:
Slender gh is palatal. It can't be further back in mouth than the end of the hard palate. Because everything behind is velar or "broad".

But you might be right that fricative slender gh "/ʝ/" is further back than approximant slender gh "/j/"- the latter a real palatal sound, the former rather a palatovelar sound (in IPA γ with a cross beneath) - that would correspond to its plosive counterpart "/ɟ/" (slender g) being rather a palatovelar plosive (in IPA g with a cross beneath).

But I'm no linguist and certainly no expert in phonology. Usually ɟ (slender g), ʝ/j (slender gh) are the symbols given as if all these sounds were true palatals.
And the difference between slender gh+vowel and slender gh+consonant is shown by j and ʝ.

Yes, that's probably what the sound is. Palato-velar. This is the first time I've heard of that symbol with a cross beneath but that's it.


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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug 2021 11:33 am 
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another one: annró (bad weather), pronounced /au'ro:/ has the genitive annróigh with a slender g. This reflects the fact the original spelling was an(n)ródh.


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