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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (July-December) » Bh mh ceist « Previous Next »

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Miriam Ellis (spider-ntc-tg033.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.19.33)
Posted on Friday, October 04, 2002 - 01:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Is this a problem other people have? The Irishman who taught me Irish could not explain to me why 'bh' is sometimes 'v', sometimes 'w' and that the same applies to 'mh'. Is it a different rule in each dialect? Because grammar books tend to shy away from much information on pronunciation, I have never found a satisfactory answer to this. I've simply memorized how the various words sound. Not a very scholarly method!
I would love to hear people's replies.
Go raibh maith agat!
Miriam

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Al Evans (tbtm.org - 208.188.101.145)
Posted on Friday, October 04, 2002 - 08:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Miriam,

In general, "bh" and "mh" are pronounced "v" when they're slender (before/after/between the slender vowels "e" or "i") and "w" when they're broad (before/after/between the broad vowels "a", "o", or "u").

But I don't think generalizations are as useful as "simply memorizing how the various words sound":-)

--Al Evans

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Miriam Ellis (spider-ntc-ti053.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.20.43)
Posted on Saturday, October 05, 2002 - 01:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Dear Al,
Many thanks. I have heard this rule, too, but then have seen so many contradictions. Ah, well, isn't life full of contradictions? :)
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
Slan!
Miriam

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