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PostPosted: Fri 29 Apr 2022 10:38 pm 
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Hello, Everyone! :wave:

I have a quick question today for anyone who may know! :D

For so long, I’ve been uncertain of the pronunciation of “oi” / “io” in Ulster Irish.

Based on different sources (e.g. Abair.ie, Teanglann.ie, Fuaimeanna.ie, wicktionary),
“oi” can either sound like uh/ ĭh / ī / aw / or even ʊ (as in b”oo”k)

…I’ve noticed little patterns, e.g., “oi” before “ch” seems to sound like ī … so “foiche” (wasp) would be pronounced FĪ•hyĭh, I’m assuming? Most other “oi” words seem to be one of the other sounds (or somewhere in between) and I can’t seem to nail it down or trust what I’m hearing/reading. [And, btw, “coinín”(rabbit) seems to randomly be pronounced Kʊ•neen, for some reason, which doesn’t fit the rest of what I’m hearing :panic: ]

I’m having similar trouble with “io,” but not as much…I think I’ve got it down to either an ĭh or an uh, but I can’t figure when to use which. :??:

Can anyone familiar with Ulster pronunciation please help me with this? Thank you so much! :) :good:


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PostPosted: Mon 02 May 2022 1:02 am 
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One thing to keep in mind (for any dialect) is that the "o" or (especially) the "i" may be there simply for reasons of orthography, that is, to indicate that the adjoining consonant is "slender" (caol) or broad (leathan), and wouldn't be pronounced.

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I'm not a native (or entirely fluent) speaker, so be sure to wait for confirmations/corrections, especially for tattoos.


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PostPosted: Tue 03 May 2022 1:51 pm 
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Ah! Thanks, I’d completely forgotten about the orthography part of it. That helps a bit, thanks! :D


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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun 2022 8:18 pm 
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This is possibly the most ambiguous aspect of Irish orthography i.e. how to pronounce a digraph of two vowel letters, with no síneadh fada on either. There doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer to your question I could find anywhere when it comes to Ulster irish.

Typically, and as Caoimhín indicates, only one of the two vowel letters is pronounced, with the purpose of the other one simply being to indicate whether the adjoining consonant is broad or slender. (Or you could also imagine that the other one represents the glide vowel, being the brief and subtle vowel that is heard when transitioning between a broad vowel and slender consonant, or between a slender vowel and broad consonant.) But the challenge lies in figuring out which vowel letter has which role.

But also, sometimes, for 'oi', the sound is somewhere between the sound represented by each of the two letters sounded on their own. In such a case, it is typically pronounced [ɛ] as in 'wet' e.g. 'oifig' in Connacht.

And sometimes again for 'oi' (but rarer, I think), it can be a diphthong, approximating that in the English word 'try' e.g. 'poiblí' in some dialects.

===

On the whole, it seems that the answer depends on a combination of three things: (i) dialect, (ii) preceding consonant, if any, and (iii) subsequent consonant, (The second and third criteria together are what you might call the phonetic context.)

This Wikipedia page does go into quite a bit of detail of how these two digraphs are pronounced in various phonetic contexts, but only does so for Connacht Irish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_ort ... _trigraphs

So a suggestion might be to use each category of phonetic context as given in the Wikpedia page (for both 'oi' and 'io') to create a template. Then look up words from each category and see how they are pronounced in Ulster Irish in the 'FoghraÍocht' section of teanglann.ie. In this way, you could build up a profile of how these digraphs are pronounced in Ulster Irish i.e you would essentially be deconstructing Ulster pronounciation of these digraphs.

I am making an assumption that, for Ulster Irish (and the other dialects), once the phonetic context is defined, the pronounciation of of 'io' and 'oi' is fully consistent/predictable. However, there might also be words that are exceptions to the rules.


Last edited by Caoilte on Mon 06 Jun 2022 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun 2022 8:59 pm 
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There might be some info to be gleaned from this online document on Irish orthography, although it doesn't seem to go into dialectical variation that much.

https://www.cogg.ie/wp-content/uploads/ ... Hickey.pdf


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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun 2022 7:51 pm 
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You've had some good replies by Caoilte.
Can I add that in Irish, getting the broad/slender quality of the consonants is much more important than the vowels. I don't mean the vowels don't count, but the are often intermediate (i.e. not really i, or e or o, but something kind of in-between) and if you get the consonant write, the vowels often sort themselves out.


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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun 2022 11:49 pm 
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Thank you both (Caoilte & DJWebb ) for the extra info/resource! Sorry for the late reply! I only get on here every now and again. :wave: I’ve saved that document link to my Irish Resource trove and will read through it in the next few days, and both your explanations really helped me. :good:

Go raibh maith agat,

Rosie


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