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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (January-June) » Beginner's question about reading « Previous Next »

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greghoadley (68.164.20.2 - 68.164.20.2)
Posted on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 03:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Friends -

You probably get questions from neophytes quite often. Here's one more -

I bought O'Siadhail's book and have been reading through it. I have still not yet managed to internalize the system of pronunciation, especially the relationship between the language as written, and the language as pronounced.

I understand that vowels can be pronounced "as vowels" and other times they are only markers of the type of consonant (broad/slender). But my question is: how do you tell when a vowel is pronounced or when it is just there to "help" the consonant? Is there a regular rule or set of rules for knowing this when reading? Similarly, when I see two vowels next to each other in a word, how do I know when the pair are to be pronounced together as a dipthong and when only one vowel is to be pronounced because the other is just there to "help" the consonant?

Is there a systematic way to know how to pronounce a new word other than rote memorization? Using what rules did you all learn to sound out new words?

To clarify, this is not a question of being able to physically make the sounds with my mouth, it's a question of being able to know which sounds I should try to make when I see an unfamiliar Irish word in print.

If there is such a rule, or even a few tricks for knowing how to read aloud with proper pronunciation, can anyone direct me to a good description of it, either online (perhaps on earlier posts in this forum), or in print?

Thanks very much -

Sláinte

Greg
Oakland, Calif.
gnsh@socrates.berkeley.edu

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Oliver Grennan (193.122.47.162 - 193.122.47.162)
Posted on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 05:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Dia dhuit a Ghreg,
measaim go bhfuilim in ann do dheachrachtaí a thuiscint. Bíonn céasadh croí ort ag iarraidh fuaimeanna an theanga a fháil as leabhair.

I think I understand your difficulties. It's frustrating trying to work out how the language sounds from a book.

I've put together a list of vowels and dipthong combinations with their equivalent sound in English or a kinda phonetic rendition of it. Hope it makes sense, it covers the main sounds you'll need at this stage.

Just try to get your head round the way the letter combinations sound in Irish. BTW, there are sound recordings of phrases on this site, if you go to the main menu and choose phrases then click on any of the individual ones it gives a recording.

Slán go fóill,
Oliver.
(see below)

tá = thaw
lag = log

té = chay
te = cheh

tí = chee
rith = rih as in "hit"

bó = bow
bob = bub

cú = coo
cur = cur

A
aer = air
air = err
naí = knee
aon = ane (pane)
saoi = see
cáil = coil


E
teas = chass
deán = Jane
deis = jesh (mesh)
ceo = kyo (show)
seó = show

féar = fair
léim = lame

I
siad = shee-adth
sioc = shook
ciumhais = q-wess
siúl = shool

díon = jee-un
líon = lee-un

O

toil = thell
cloíte = clee-cha

cóir = koh-ir

U
cuan = koo-en
fuaim = foo-im
cuir = kwirr
luí= lee

cúis = koo-ish

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Ó Dúill (159.134.181.132 - 159.134.181.132)
Posted on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 03:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Maith duit a hOliver,
Ní raibh mé ach ag dul nasc a thabhairt dó.
Just incase Greg you want to push up my hit counter ; ) check:
http://colm.cjb.net/pronunce.htm
Sláinte, cheers,
Colm.

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Beth (204.111.62.158 - 204.111.62.158)
Posted on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 09:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I know this seems kind of obvious, but do get the tapes that go with the O'Siadhail if at all possible. They helped me much more than the pronunciation guides in the book did!

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James (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 10:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I would have to concur with Beth. Eventually, you will get a "feel" for how vowels and groups of vowels are treated. This will come with repeated, joint usage of the tapes and the book. I have found that I learned the rules before I read the rules--if that makes any sense.

Welcome to the most frustrating and wonderful language you could hope to study!

Is mise,

Le meas,

James

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greghoadley (68.164.25.213 - 68.164.25.213)
Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks to all for for feedback and suggestions, especially to Oliver and Colm
for the detailed information.

Beth's suggestion leads me to another question: do you have any ideas about how I can get hold of the tapes for O'Siadhail's book? I bought the book in Dublin a few years ago but didn't think to ask about the tapes. Since then I've searched for them but can't seem to find them. (For example, Amazon.com says they are out of stock.) Do you know of anyone that has them to sell?

And I thought Irish would be an easy change of pace from Arabic!

Cheers -

Greg

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Beth (204.111.21.134 - 204.111.21.134)
Posted on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oideas Gael offers them through their shop - www.oideas-gael.com. Click on the little ad for the shop.

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James (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Two members of my study group just got them through Walden Books. This was less than 2 months ago--try

www.waldenbooks.com

Le meas,

James

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James (209.48.182.219 - 209.48.182.219)
Posted on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Just checked the website to be sure I wasn't steering you wrong. They have books AND tapes. Not sure you can order just tapes through them.

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Greg (68.164.16.53 - 68.164.16.53)
Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 02:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith ag James agus Beth.

(Did I say that right?)

In the course of searching for pronunciation resources I also came across these:

http://www.contemporarypoetry.com/brain/lang/irish1.html
http://www.standingstones.com/gaelpron.html
http://www.lincolnu.edu/~focal/docs/irishsp.htm

And the BBC Northern Ireland service has this online tutorial from which I have gleaned some pronunciation pointers too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/blas/learners/index.shtml

I'm sure most of you all have seen these before but I thought I'd share in case anyone out there was also in my boat. At least it's something to work with until those coveted tapes arrive . . .

Slainte -

Greg

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James (168.192.57.109 - 168.192.57.109)
Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 04:55 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Greg, A Chara:

I would also suggest www.rnag.ite.ie (at least I think that's right--do a search for radio na gaeltachta and you'll find it quick enough)

Le meas,

James

(You wanted to say go raibh maith agaibh--agaibh is a contraction of ag and sibh. It's a peculiar piece of speech called a prepositional pronoun and it is terribly essential to Irish speech---you'll get the hang of them soon enough!!)

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