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Roibea/rd ( -
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 06:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde...

My quest to learn Irish continues. I have two things which are puzzling me.

Question #1: I don't quite yet grasp the rules of spelling/pronounciation change when addressing someone. For example, in Buntu/s Cainte. Caitli/n is address as "a Chaitli/n" while No/ra is addressed as "a No/ra". Se/amus is "a She/amus". I had someone address me as "a Bhob". What about "Roibea/rd"? I guess it would be "a Roibea/rd"? Would I address my sister, Terry, using "a Terry" or "a Therry". What I'm trying to work out in all this is what the Irish grammar rule is.

Question #2: What is the proper form of address for someone you have affection for who is a member of your family (cousin, aunt, uncle, brother, sister etc.)? Does 'sto/r' imply something more? I am looking for something more than 'a chara' but less than husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. Am I make sense? :-)

Sla/n agus go raibh maith agat!


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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Lenite names in Irish in direct address: a Cháit, a Sheosaimh*, a Pheadair*, A Shiobhán. If you cannot put an 'h' after a consonant in writing, then you don't have to worry about it in speech.

'N', 'r' and 'l' can be lenited in speech, however, but it has never been the custom to indicate it in spelling, probably because not all native speakers do it (or ever have done it, apparently). So no need to worry about 'a Nóra', 'a Roibeáird', etc. (You will hear some speakers pronounce them with slender values if you listen closely).

As pressure from English has grown, Irish speakers are less and less likely to lenite non-Irish names. It varies from person to person and place to place. I heard 'A Mhelissa' from a native speaker recently. 'M', 'p', and hard 'c' seem to be lenited in foreign names quite commonly, maybe those that start with 'b' as well.

* Note that with male names, you usually make a final broad consonant slender. There are a handful of exceptions: a Liam, for example.

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