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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2005 (May-June) » Archive through May 08, 2005 » IPA versus LPA « Previous Next »

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 74
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 01:56 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I would like to coin the acronym LPA to stand for Local Phonetic Alphabet. Since we speak English with different accents and dialects, it seems impossible to me to be able to understand how to pronounce Irish words with LPA if you don't know which LPA the translator is using. For example if we took the phrase "Tá mé go maith," the local accent or dialect of the translator's English will affect reader's understanding of the correct pronunciation. This seems apparent to me when other members post LPA versions of Irish words and phrases. To avoid miscommunicating the pronunciation, it seems that the LPA translator should indicate which LPA she or he is using, e.g., "South-East American," "Australian," etc. Then, of course, the reader would have to convert the translator's LPA into her or his own LPA.

A simpler method would be to just spend the minimal amount of time it takes to learn the basics of IPA and there wouldn't be any confusion. But, since there are those who are anti-IPA or simply not interested in learning IPA, I feel there needs to be some process by which LPA translators and readers can make the necessary conversions between the different LPA's to get the proper Irish pronunciation.

The thoughts and comments of other members are appreciated.

Le meas,

Dáithí

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 221
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 02:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Excellent post!! It's not that I'm opposed to IPA, I just see it as redundant. I've got to learn the IPA symbols and the corresponding sounds so that I can then learn how to pronounce the consonant/vowel combinations of Irish....just seems like a case of "learn this so you can learn that" to me

But..your point regarding the dialectal differences of the various renderings of english is well taken. LPA it is but with a regional identifier!

Excellent!

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Max
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Username: Max

Post Number: 25
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 07:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It seems to me that this IPA vs LPA thing is essentially a question of habit.

It's a bit like spelling. if we were to simplify English or French spelling so that to each sound would correspond one letter and vice versa, I know that, personally, I'd be totally incapable of reading anything in those two languages.

And ay dount think ay'd bî dhî ounli won tu bî låst in hîr...


As a linguist, i'm used to IPA, and i find it rather difficult to decipher LPA. And i understand that those who can't read IPA find it rather obfuscating.


IPA is the only way to render the pronunciation of any word accurately. Nowadays, dictionaries use a simplified version of IPA (although a lot of people are prone to ignore it whenever they look up a word).

I don't agree with the seemingly "learn this so you can learn that" uselessness of it because it works with any language, so you just have to learn it once.

Now for those who can't read it, either they know the sounds that exist in Irish and are able to draw the accurate inference from LPA; or they don't, and they'll just read LPA with the English sounds (which, I think, is neither a good nor a bad thing.... just like foreigners one shouldn't be banned simply because they can't pronounce the sounds like the natives).

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Daisy
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Posted From: 12.75.241.149
Posted on Friday, May 20, 2005 - 09:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

GRMA, a Max. The most vociferous among the IPA users are non-Irish who hammer at those who don't use it. I will bet that their pronunciation is not like the natives either.

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 75
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2005 - 07:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I think we're getting somewhere! James, although I thought you would take the bull by the horns and give a rebuttal to my posting, you instead complimented my posting. Ok, I can live with compliments, but I'm looking to stir up a lively debate....

(All kidding aside, James, I appreciate your compliment!)

James, you make a very good point in your remark "learn this so you can learn that." This is the crux of IPA. Is it worth it? I think it is. I plan on following up with some basic IPA terminology that will help us in communicating to each other the proper way(s) of pronouncing Irish.

Max, you say "IPA is the only way to render the pronunciation of any word accurately." I would like to agree with you on your supposition, but again, I would like to open the discussion to others who have thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc. on this subject. Max, please understand that I'm not able to judge your remark about IPA being the only way to render the pronunciation of any word accurately. I'm just a beginner in Irish but have this notion that IPA can help all of us to correctly pronounce Irish words and phrases.

Le meas,

Dáithí

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Max
Member
Username: Max

Post Number: 26
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2005 - 07:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"IPA is the only way to render the pronunciation of any word accurately."

this statement might indeed appear a bit farfetched...

of course we could invent our own IPA system, but IPA already exists, all the work has already been done, so all we have to do is learn it.
By "accurate", I refer to the fact that IPA provides for any possible sound a particular sign.

the assets of IPA are:
1/ it's international
2/ it enables to see the differences we don't perceive. (For instance, French -d- is not English -d- (the first is "dental", the second "aveolar"). This is a very subtle difference which is hardly noticed, but which is rendered by IPA)

To me, the real problem is :
- I may tell you that [q] is an "unvoiced oral uvular occlusive" (provided that you know what each word means)
- or tell you that [q] is like in arabic "qalb"
unless you have already heard the sound, you'll have the greatest difficulties picturing it out for yourself...

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Pádraig
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Username: Pádraig

Post Number: 162
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2005 - 04:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I've struggled with the concept of the IPA for more than 40 years beginning with my first collision with the rantings of G.B. Shaw. I recall wondering what all the fuss was about.

I wonder if I'm missing something. Is there a way to teach/learn phonics without making sounds? If not, doesn't the IPA (like all other alphabets) require that each symbol be demonstrated with someone's version of it; that is a pronounced word? This being the case, the IPA is no more reliable than the LPA. It's just longer.

I agree with Aonghus. The best way to pronounce go raibh maith agat is go raibh maith agat. And that means the rain in Spain is the rain in Spain.

Go rabe mayth aggut for your kind attention.

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Max
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Username: Max

Post Number: 27
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2005 - 08:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

>>The best way to pronounce go raibh maith agat is go raibh maith agat.

1/ this is not very helpful
2/ i'm not sure it even makes sense at all...

>>This being the case, the IPA is no more reliable than the LPA.

This statement confuses the "reliability of a code" with the "ability of the reader to decipher the code"...
1/ IPA is always reliable because it's standard (their is only one possible way of pronouncing what is written with IPA)
2/ LPA cannot be reliable unless it's standardized

>>I've struggled with the concept of the IPA for more than 40 years

but the concept is very simple: 1 sound = 1 sign
(for the record, English has about 20 vowels, and only the 6 letters "a e i o u y" to write them down, not even used in a sensible way...)

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1465
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 07:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What I meant by saying that I pronounce "go raibh maith agat" "go raibh maith agat" is that I have difficulty analysing pronunciation and rendering it in other letters - because I don't think that way.
And so I never offer pronuciation advice.

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Max
Member
Username: Max

Post Number: 28
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 08:20 am:   Edit Post Print Post

hardly anyone thinks that way... that's the point...
what linguists call "phonological conscience" doesn't dwell in the level of consciousness.
and the more complicated the spelling of a language is, the more difficult it is for its speakers to consciously know what and how they pronounce.

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 76
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"doesn't the IPA (like all other alphabets) require that each symbol be demonstrated with someone's version of it?"

A Phádraig, a chara, excellent observation! But I think the difference between IPA and the informal LPA's is that once one understands the pronunciation of the IPA symbol from her or his own language, be it English, French, Chinese, etc., then when we communicate to each other in IPA, we eliminate the confusion that exists with LPA's.

There are also sounds in the Irish language, that occur very frequently, that may be impossible to indicate with an LPA. For example, take the simple example of "dhá loch" (two lakes). How would you render this pronunciation in LPA, especially the first and last consonant sounds? IPA can handle this pronunciation easily, once the user understands the basic sounds.

I'd like to suggest that instead of using the complete IPA, that we adopt the pronunciation guide found in An Gum's dictionary, which is a simplified version of IPA. This is also the same (or similar?) as the pronunciation guide found in "Learning Irish."

Le meas,

Dáithí

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Pádraig
Member
Username: Pádraig

Post Number: 163
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 03:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

what linguists call "phonological conscience" doesn't dwell in the level of consciousness.
and the more complicated the spelling of a language is, the more difficult it is for its speakers to consciously know what and how they pronounce.

Bear with me, a chairde, and if my question appears to stem from dim-wittedness, I apologize. I prefer to be thought dim-witted over annoying.

I find the phrase "phonological conscience" fascinating, largely because I don't know what it means. I'll Google about and see what I can learn.

Meanwhile, I'm imagining a shortened IPA just for the student of Irish/English. I have finally realized (dim-wit) that there are sounds in Irish which do not correspond to any sounds in English. (This IS true, isn't it?) In this shorter version of the IPA, how will the English speaking student know how to pronounce any of the Irish sounds which have no English counterparts? Won't he have to ask some Irish speaker and thereby set himself up for the potential confusion resulting from the Irish speaker's particular dialect or other sources of differential pronunciation.

To simplify my question: How do you guys who use the IPA as a universal tool learn to pronounce the sounds which are not common to your spoken language?

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Max
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Username: Max

Post Number: 29
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

>>To simplify my question: How do you guys who use the IPA as a universal tool learn to pronounce the sounds which are not common to your spoken language?

this is a difficult question to answer because it largely depends on how much one knows about phonetics.

take "loch". a simplified IPA version would give [lox].

1/ you know phonetics and you recognize [x] as being an "unvoiced oral velar fricative".
a/ plus you know German, in which their is such a sound : then no problem.
b/ but you don't any language in which there is such a sound (say you speak only English) : then you try to shift from [k] to [x] just like you shift from [p] to [f]

2/ you know nothing about phonetics
a/ but you speak German : then again no problem.
b/ and you only speak English : then you try to find on the internet audio samples in which the very sound will be pronounced.

in the end of the day, everyone will be able to read [x]...

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Lughaidh
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Username: Lughaidh

Post Number: 316
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 04:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

>To simplify my question: How do you guys who use the >IPA as a universal tool learn to pronounce the sounds >which are not common to your spoken language?

Through its description in the IPA system, you can know where in the mouth and how the sound is pronounced. The better way is to hear the sounds by speakers of a language that uses them. There are websites as well, like this one: http://www2.unil.ch/ling/phon/index.html (in French, sorry, must be other ones in English).

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Max
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Username: Max

Post Number: 30
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 04:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post



(Message edited by Max on May 22, 2005)

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James
Member
Username: James

Post Number: 224
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 06:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Lughaidh's last post illustrates my point. You go to the trouble to learn IPA...you take these funny little symbols and learn what sounds go with them. If the sound isn't from your native language, then you have to learn how to pronounce it based upon some OTHER foreign language in order to pronounce the IPA symbol so you can then pronounce the sound you were trying to learn to pronounce in the first place!

This is what I mean when I say it seems to be a "learn this so you can learn that" approach.

For example...I wanted to learn to play the violin. My sister (the one with the PhD in music)suggested I learn to play the mandolin first. She said it would make learning the violin easier. My approach was more along the lines of "I don't want to learn to play the mandolin, I want to learn to play the violin!" Why? Because, when the mandolin gets hard, or confusing, I'm more likely to abandon it because it's a "bridging" education to reach my desired instrument. So...being the hard headed and stubborn individual that I am (I know, this comes as a shock to many of the regulars...me, a hard-head...go figure) anyway, being the kind of guy I am, I just got a fiddle and started working at it. It was hard, not all of my notes were exactly right (Antaine can attest to this from first-hand experience) but I was enjoying what I was doing and making passable progress. Now, with practice and with careful attention to tapes, CD's etc...I'm getting better.

Irish (or any language) would be no different. IPA is a bridging task to accomplish the desired task which is to speak Irish. Making a concerted effort with sounds that are familiar to you and refining those sounds with time, practice and careful attention to the native sound heard on tapes and CD's makes far more sense to me than learning some heiroglyphic alphabet that uses borrowed sounds from several foreign languages, none of which are the target language.

If IPA works for you, then great. But I don't see it as the panacea of pronunication. It's a tool. It'll work for some but not for all.

Le meas,
James

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Max
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Username: Max

Post Number: 31
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 07:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

James, I'm afraid you're missing the point completely... or more exactly : you're mixing everything up..

- Sounds are sounds, they don't belong to any particular language. [x] exists in German, as well as in Irish. You don't learn to pronounce the German [x] in order to pronounce the Irish one, you just learn to pronounce [x].

- Irish spelling is not like the Turkish one where each sound is represented by only one letter and vice versa. If it were so, people would just learn what sound is represented by each letter in Irish, and get it over with. But it is obviously not the case.

- Take "raibh". One possible pronunciation is [ro]. If you say it's proncounced like RAW, first : I'll have to take into account the fact that the R is rolled, second : knowing how AW is pronounced in both English and American doesn't help at all since the question is still "what is the sound in Irish?"

- [o] is not "the Irish way of pronouncing AW", it's simply a sound that doesn't exist in English.

- IPA uses the latin alphabet. Learning the IPA symbols that represent the Irish sounds would be like learning 10 new letters tops.

- The concept of IPA is plain : 1 letter = 1 sound. It is as far as possible from ambiguousness ; and it appears to me that that is exactly what people want when they ask for pronunciation advice : having the spelling disambiguated.

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 77
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 07:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A James, a chara,

Good to see you're back in top form! I enjoyed reading your post above; you make some excellent points, especially in regard to understanding the different IPA sounds.

I'm not advocating the full IPA for our use. I think the symbols are too complex to type and it's too advanced for our needs. Rather, I think it would be good for us to consider using a simplified version of the IPA. In particular, the one found in An Gúm's dictionaries and also used in "Learning Irish."

As Max points out above, the answer to the pronunciation of "loch" in my example above, as representd in IPA, is "lox." Max also points out that the "x" is not present in the English language, but it sounds like the ending in the great German composer's "Bach" name (when pronounced correctly and not pronounced like "Back" in English).

The first consonant in my simple example above, dhá, is pronounced like the "g" in the Spanish word "agua." The pronunciation guide in An Gúm's dictionary uses the Greek letter "gamma." for this sound. I haven't figured out how to show "gamma," but when I do, I'll pass along the information. So, you're correct James in that in order to understand the pronunciation guide, we'll have to invest in some foreign words. But I think the minimal investment is well worth the return.

In my simple example above I think demonstrate that we need more than the sounds present in the English language to properly pronounce Irish. I don't mean to shortchange anyone in the use of their particular LPA, but I would like us to consider using the simplified IPA for lack of anything better.

Le meas,

Dáithí

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 225
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 08:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"- [o] is not "the Irish way of pronouncing AW", it's simply a sound that doesn't exist in English."

OK...if it isn't the Irish way of pronouncing AW then how is it pronounced? You can't say it's pronounced [o] without first explaining what [o] sounds like. [o] isn't a letter, it doesn't represent a sound to anyone except the IPA crowd. So, what does it represent? If it represents AW as in RAW, such as "raw meat" or "raw bar" then I've just learned that [o] sounds like AW in RAW and this is the sound to apply to "raibh". Again...a cyclical approach, in my opinion.

I agree with Dáithí that a limited use of some commonly accepted and commonly recognized IPA might be useful. The "schwa" being perhaps the best example. But, what sound does @ make in IPA? What sound does ' represent? What sound does ^ render to an e? You can't answer any of these questions without using some form of another word to get the point across. You can tell me to place the tongue at the back of the throat and to exhale gently. But, eventually, you're going to tell me to make a sound similar to the German "ach".

I'm not saying there is no use for IPA but I see it as another realm for confusion. Especially, when you're addressing someone with less than an ideal linguistic background.

If I'm a newcomer to Irish and I ask how to pronounce raibh and you answer back [o]....well, that's probably the last question I'm going to ask because I don't have th foggiest clue what that means. But, if you answer back "well, my young mind full of inquitiveness, it sounds sort of like RAW as in Raw Bar or Raw meat...you'll see it represented in dictionaries and in the IPA system as [o]" Well, if you answer like that, maybe you'll keep me coming back for more.

That's my point in a nutshell. We've got to make this a welcoming language if we want to recruit new speakers. The unwelcoming nature of prior educational attempts and its effect is well documented.

Le meas,

James

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Pádraig
Member
Username: Pádraig

Post Number: 164
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 08:54 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"Certs is a breath mint!"

"Certs is a candy mint!"

"Stop! You're both right."

I am content, and I can see this subject from both sides now. However, because I'm the guy I am, I will continue to go with James' LPA and given the opportunity I will ask James how to pronounce Irish because, although I've never met him or heard him speak, I lived for years in western NC and I can hear him inside my head, y'all.

By the way, I just spent 15 minutes trying to pronounce dha with the sound of g as in agua. I'm having a terrible time trying to separate the g from the u, but I think I've got it, by Jove. If not, then at least I am coming to a clearer understanding of why adults speak languages foreign to them with 'foreign' accents.

(Please: no offense intended by the word 'foreign.' Shades of an old flame war.)

My guess is that I shall always speak broken Irish to the native ear. So will you, James. Should we ever encounter each other, we shall speak our broken, rebel, redneck, hillbilly Irish to one another, and neither of us will know that the other sounds like a Yank to the lads as Dún na nGall.

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Maidhc_Ó_g
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Username: Maidhc_Ó_g

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 10:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Has anyone thought, besides me, of trying to use a program such as 'Cake Walk' and the like to record oneself saying the words - then creating a wave file or such and posting it? Then, any person who wants to hear the words being pronounced can just download the file and listen to it.
Just a thought. And I'm sure that anyone with a different way of saying something would give their feedback on the quality of each others speech.

-Maidhc.

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Caoimhín
Board Administrator
Username: Caoimhín

Post Number: 113
Registered: 01-1999


Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 10:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Maidhc,

Canuck suggested this a while back.

http://www.daltai.com/discus/messages/13510/13595.html?1110995498

We investigated the possibility of enabling the uploading of sound files, but decided against it, at least as far as the board is concerned. We imagined it wouldn't take long for someone (read that "troll") to upload a virus, string of obscenities or pirated copyrighted material.

However, we could easily construct a page where user sound files could be posted. That would enable us to preview the file first and insure that the content contained therein was appropriate for downloading. We'd have to work in a copyright release too.

My apologies for not getting back to everyone sooner.

Caoimhín

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.

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Maidhc_Ó_g
Member
Username: Maidhc_Ó_g

Post Number: 3
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005 - 11:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat, a Chaoimhín. Tá cinnteach orm go bhfuil an t-abaltach ar na "techies" ag na leathanach a dhéanamh agus níl cinnteach orm faoina 'copyrights'.
That could get pretty sticky if someone wanted to hear a passage from a book other than the Bible. And music could prove trickier still. How would one truly know if a song really were an original from the poster of the file?? ANd if someone tried to post their own 'rap' music with sampling - YIKES!! In a word, fuggeddabawdit!
Yet, still.....

-Maidhc.

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Bean_rua
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Username: Bean_rua

Post Number: 10
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 01:01 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I either found this link searching here on Daltaí sometime last year or I just snagged it in my travels out on the web. I saved the link because I thought it might be helpful. I'd be very interested to know how accurate this guy's pronunciations are, if someone cares to take the time to check them out.

http://nagaeilmagazine.com/pronunciation/introduction.htm

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 686
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 08:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"GRMA, a Max. The most vociferous among the IPA users are non-Irish who hammer at those who don't use it. I will bet that their pronunciation is not like the natives either."

A Daisy, caithfead a rá ná dóigh liom go bhfuil cliú ar bith agat mar gheall ar an eolas atá ag na daoine anso - agus cad 'na thaobh nach mbeadh Gaelainn líofa ag duine éigint agus an tIPA aige leis???

(Message edited by Jonas on May 23, 2005)

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 687
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 08:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"To avoid miscommunicating the pronunciation, it seems that the LPA translator should indicate which LPA she or he is using, e.g., "South-East American," "Australian," etc. Then, of course, the reader would have to convert the translator's LPA into her or his own LPA. "

I get the idea, but there are those of us using Parisian English, Scandinavian English, Serbian English and so on. I do think it is easier to spend the 15 minutes on learning IPA. Come to think of it, if people would have spent 1/10 of the time complaining about IPA at learning IPA, they would already have mastered it.

The most important thing, though, is that this is a voluntary forum. Those who want to post in IPA will continue to post in IPA. For me, there are two options available. Posting in IPA or posting how to pronounce Irish according to Swedish pronunciation. I assume there are more people able to understand if I post pronunciations in IPA, but of course I could switch to giving pronunciations in Swedish if you all really want to have them instead. Giving Irish pronunciation by using Englisg is not an option for me.

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 80
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 09:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Vive tout les LPAs!

But, since I haven't heard any response regarding my request for expressing my simple example "dhá loch" in any English-based LPA, is it safe for me to conclude that it's impossible to do so? If so, that gives us an additional motive to consider using IPA.

"I do think it is easier to spend the 15 minutes on learning IPA." I guess I'm a slow learner; it took me about 2 hours to learn the basic IPA sounds :)

I discussed the IPA issue with Caoimhin, Daltaí's website administrator, and he pointed out that Daltai has a pronunciation key located at http://www.daltai.com/key.htm

This pronunciation key contains the basic IPA symbols and their sound files for listening to the correct pronunciation - very nice! I understand that Lúcas is responsible for putting this together - go raibh máith agat a Lúcas!

Dáithí

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 226
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 02:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas makes my point as well. He says:

"For me, there are two options available. Posting in IPA or posting how to pronounce Irish according to Swedish pronunciation."

For me, I'd rather get the Swedish version. At least I've HEARD Swedish before. I've got a better chance of understanding how a Swedish word sound than an IPA word.

Again, I'm not saying IPA isn't useful, nor am I attempting to banish IPA from this site. All I'm saying is that it isn't enough to put the IPA symbols out there without some explanation of what sounds correspond to those symbols. That's what I mean when I say it's a cyclical way of teaching sounds.

Question: How do you pronounce (insert Irish word)

Answer: @ e^ v':

What the heck does that do!?!?!?

Question: How do you pronounce (insert Irish word)

Answer: Well, it sound sort of like (insert fairly universal representative sound from the language of your choice followed by the IPA symbols if you want)

You're going to keep an inquiring mind quicker using sounds and symbols that are familiar rather than heiroglyphics.

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Dáithí
Member
Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 84
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 02:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A James, a chara,

Since you're one of the most vociferous among the LPA users, could you provide an LPA version for my simple example of "dhá loch?" I'm having a hard time understanding the value of an LPA if it can't even handle the simple case of "dhá loch."

Le meas,

Dáithí

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Jonas
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Post Number: 688
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Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 05:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Alright, here goes my LPA... (Yes, it's in English)

James, aj du andörständ jår pojnt åvv vjuv. Hauevör, ajm ferli kånvinst dät möust pip-l vudd fajnd it isiör tu lörn hau tu jus di ajpiej dän tu stragl tru maj ötemts ät rendöring prånaunsiasjön in ö svidish spelling.

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Aonghus
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Post Number: 1477
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Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 05:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bra, Jonas, Bra
I wonder did the Irish steal "go bréa" from the Swedes, or vice versa.

For the compulsively lazy (like me) here is the link to the subset of IPA Daithí mentioned: http://www.daltai.com/key.htm

The sound quality is not great though - and it would be worth trying to get a gaeltacht speaker to record the sounds. (That makes me sound like Lughaidh, but...)

MP3 would give better sound for the same size files, and would be fairly universally avalilable, I think.

(Message edited by aonghus on May 23, 2005)

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Pádraig
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Post Number: 166
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Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 05:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

it can't even handle the simple case of "dhá loch."

Okay. Pronounce gwaw. Then, while holding the tongue, lips, teeth, and palate in position, remove the first w and say it again. That gives you the dhá.

loch is low followed by a stretched out k.

I give up. It can't be done. You'll have to study German first.

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Max
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Post Number: 32
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Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 07:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonasse, aille coude note eugrille more...

rènedeuring zeu prononeciéicheune ine eunozeur langouadge's spelling maïte bille aze comfiouzing aze Aille-Pi-É itselfe....


being French, I just realized that writing this English sentence in French spelling took me at least thrice as much time as writing it with IPA, just because I had to re-codify the sounds with spelling conventions which, being the French ones, cannot render certain sounds at all because there is nothing of the like in French (like "th" in "the" and "truth"), and cannot render certain strings of sounds because they don't exist in French (like "and" [ænd] whose closest seemingly rhyming word in French could be "Andes", pronounced [ã:d])...

IPA is not difficult to learn, nor is it cryptic, nor cyclical, nor obfuscating, not to mention it's international, in fact, what is really wrong with IPA ?

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Daisy
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Posted From: 12.75.204.7
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 07:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Well Yumpin' Yiminy, a Yonas - It's not that I don't realize the great genius of you fellows. I've never said that anyone was stupid. It's just that the great majority of fluent Irish speakers that I know managed to acquire the language without IPA. And neither they nor you will ever really sound like a native speaker. It's your insistance that yours is the ONLY way to do it that floors me.

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James
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Post Number: 227
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Posted on Monday, May 23, 2005 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The IPA chart in the link above gives a total of:

10 vowel sounds

1 neutral vowel

4 dipthongs

37 consonants

Of these 52 sound representations:

10 are essentially "one for one" equivalents. A "t" sounds like a "t", "m" sounds like "m" etc.

24 use some "other" word to convey the general sound associated with the IPA representation

So, of the 52 sounds represented on the chart, 34 of them are either "no brainers" or are using some other word to get that sound across. The majority of the remaining 18 sounds are "slender" sounds that are unique to Irish.

So....at the risk of repeating myself over and over again in repetetive redundancy....

For a PERSON WHO IS EXPRESSING INTEREST IN LEARNING IRISH PRONUNCIATION to give them an IPA representation of a sound is pointless. Fully 50% of the sounds are either represented by a "one for one" sound (m,t,p etc) or use some known word to convey the sound (I don't care if it's a french word, an english word or a swahili word...it's using ANOTHER word to demonstrate the corresponding sound). The other sounds are unique to Irish and are BEST LEARNED by listening to native speakers.

If people who are familiar with IPA want to use it, that's great. We'll all be duely impressed with your acumen vis a vis linguistics and the "universal" sound of IPA. But, for the rest of us commoners, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, for those new minds that express an interest in this language....I will continue to use LPA for the INITIAL introduction to sounds. All you academics who speak 18 languages and can rattle of grammar terms like I rattle of medical terms can have a blast with IPA. I just don't think you're going to connect with those people who are looking at Irish for the first time.

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Robert
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Posted From: 198.182.64.40
Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I would just like to make a few points in the direction of clarity:

1) IPA is not a ‘rival’ to LPA. IPA is a code. Any basic code must start with one symbol = one entity (IPA: one symbol = one sound. Period). LPA is more like cryptology with any symbol having an unfeasible large set of possible referents. The more cryptic something it is, the less use it is for open communication.

2) /m/& /p/ in Irish are NOT the same as the English m and p. One requires a contrast between ‘broad’ and ‘slender’ consonants simply because the spoken language has just such contrasts. Just because one cannot perceive the difference, and just because the same Roman letter is used for both consonants, does not mean they are the same. A different code and is been utilised in both. I have never heard a British or American person articulate an Irish /r/ or /r’/, and LPA been relative to English cannot code for these. LPA is brilliantly shown up where Swedish and French phonology have influenced the English sentences portrayed and the results are a parody.

3) As for the ‘fluent speakers having learned Irish without IPA’ argument, nothing is proved. IPA is for the written communication of the sounds of a language by using an absolute standard while in the absence of a suitable interlocutor. It is also used for detailing the results of a broad analysis of a stream of speech. One could indeed learn a language without it, but used in the proper fashion awareness of the target language’s phonology is sped up.

4) One can learn to sound like a native in terms of syntax, phonology, and general usage. One might get caught out in regards to local knowledge, but that can’t be helped. LPA is so useless, one will never even be able to communicate, let alone be taken as a native.


Also, there is an ugly habit of demeaning the value of any post that attempts to clarify a point written from a place of understanding by referring the ‘academic’ faculty of the author as if to imply their information does not apply here in the ‘real’ world where such dusty pronouncements are out of place. This is part of a prevalent spirit of anti-intellectualism that rallies against the stated aims of this forum. It receives de facto support of the administration who use a cohort of ‘wide-boys’ to harangue, scapegoat, and hound off posters who challenge any dogmas, as occurred recently to a frequent poster. Their payment-in-kind is free espousement of vacuous opinions that then cannot be challenged. The content of this thread is one result of such policy.

And who are these ‘inquisitive young minds’ that must be pandered to? Why should I neanderthalise my enunciation to suit someone surfing the net who has never heard of Irish until 20 seconds ago?

One could blame the publishers of novels and travel books who have long known that packaging language books in the self-help or travel format sells more than a dour black and white manual ever could. They paint second language acquisition as a simple, fun, and social event that can be achieved by picking up and reading the book on the flight to sunny Spain. The reality is very different. Much time, effort, and practice must be applied before mastery can hope to be achieved. The LPA debate shows how successful the publishers have been at conning learners.

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Dáithí
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Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 85
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 01:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Two resources written for beginners are O'Siadhial's "Learning Irish." and the dictionary, "Foclóir Poca." Both of these sources are available on this Daltaí website. They both contain pronunciation guides that embrace the IPA system. The Foclóir Poca, and it's big sibling, Foclóir Scoile (School Dictionary) indicate that "The aim of this dictionary is to meet the ordinary needs of school-goers and of the general public."

This Daltaí website has the following to say about the Foclóir Poca:

"The primary advantage to this dictionary is it's phonetic pronunciation guide for each Irish word which is based on the I.P.A. (International Phonetic Alphabet)."

Daltai has also gone to the effort to include a pronunciation guide to Irish, which uses the same, simplified version of the IPA system.

I would like to suggest to beginners like me, based on the above cited resources, that the use of the IPA when learning Irish is for other than, as James would put it, "All you academics who speak 18 languages and can rattle off grammar terms."

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Searlas
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Post Number: 34
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 02:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I think all that James has been trying to say (correct me if I'm wrong, James) is that for the person with no real knowledge of Irish, that wants what I'll coin a "casual" translation and subsequent pronunciation, giving it to them in an IPA format likely has essentially no value. Most likely that person will be satisfied with an approximation of how a given phrase sounds, and they probably have no knowledge of IPA.

If you present the pronunciation using IPA, all that person is likely going to see is a bunch of symbols. If all they're looking for is how to say an isolated statement I doubt they'll take the time to learn IPA just so they can say that one little thing. In cases like that the approximation gotten from an "LPA"-type system will almost certainly get them closer than IPA, since they likely don't even know what IPA is. Granted, the IPA will undoubtedly convey in a much more accurate manner how it should be pronounced vs. "LPA", but that is of no benefit in this case.

For the actual learner of Irish, I would absolutely recommend that they learn IPA.

I don't think anyone here is arguing that IPA isn't a more accurate representation of pronunciation than "LPA", simply that you need to know your intended audience before using one or the other.

Regards,

Searlas

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Canuck
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Post Number: 25
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 02:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I've a question for you linguist types. Is there any software available that will read in IPA symbols, combine them, and form an audio sample (and vice-versa)?
-Canuck

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Canuck
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Username: Canuck

Post Number: 26
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 02:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Perhaps this SSML standard (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) is the key to our problems..

http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/

Has anyone heard of this before? It looks like it is designed to work with the IPA..

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Dáithí
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Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 86
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 03:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"In cases like that the approximation gotten from an "LPA"-type system will almost certainly get them closer than IPA, since they likely don't even know what IPA is."

I would disagree that an LPA system will get them closer. In fact, it hasn't been demonstrated that an LPA system can handle even the simple example of "dhá loch." I think the consonants in these two words occur very frequently in Irish, and since an LPA can't represent these sounds that are important for beginners to learn, the simplified IPA system, as used by the Irish schoolchidren's dictionary Foclóir Scoile, is needed.

By the way, here's the IPA representation of "dhá loch:"

γa: lox

For an example of the sounds of the IPA characters, please see the Grammar section on this website for the pronunciation key. It's not that hard, even I could figure them out.

Dáithí

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Searlas
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Post Number: 35
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 03:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dáithí, you're right that "LPA" can't handle everything, including your example. That's why I said approximation. That's all it is. No need to get argumentative about it.

If you want to strictly give IPA-style pronunctions, that's fine, do so to your heart's content. But keep in mind that the casual translation requester will probably look at it and go "wha?"

Searlas

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James
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Post Number: 228
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

And to someone who doesn't understand IPA what you've posted is:

Yah locks

Searlas has said exactly what I've been trying to get across. IPA is more accurate. There is no denying that. It is also more confusing to the uninitiated.

dhá loch with LPA:

Well, it's kinda like the "g" in a really think spanish accented Agua followed by the "ah" sound as in, "The doctor told me to say..." Make the hard "g" sound like you would in the english word "Golf" but think about making that sound farther back in the throat. It's almost like you're swallowing the g before it can get out of your throat. It's weird but a necessary aspect of pronouncing Irish.

Loch is pronounced like "loch" as in "Loch Lomond". Just use the english word "Lock" but use the german sounding ch like in "Achtung".

OK...there's your freakin' LPA example! I will bet you dollars to donuts that for someone who has no prior academic exposure that this does them a hell of a lot better than:


γa: lox (Yah Locks)

If this person has never seen Irish before and has never really studied another language then you go ahead and slap them upside the head with IPA and see how long you keep them.

My total point has been...get them in the front door. Once they're inside, THEN you can sit them at the desk and introduce them to the nuances and such associated with Irish and linguistics. But, for many of the people that ask these pronunciations, they are like window shoppers...they're just passing by...it's up to us to get them in the door before we try to sell them a maintenance plan!

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1489
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 04:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This argument is going around in pointless circles, because the middle ground is being ignored.

"LPA" is useful for exactly the reasons James' said, added to the fact that many, if not most, of those looking for pronunciation guidance are Americans. (and so it is their LPA).

I don't think anyone with a serious interest in the language will be naive enough to think that LPA will get them all the way, it will get people in the door however.

And there is nothing preventing anyone posting in IPA, preferably with a link to either the page here or some other useful resource to explain the pronunciation.

Now, how about getting back to learning and discussing Irish rather than endlessly discussing how best to do so....Anybody able to help out with that Deer's Cry request, for example?

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James
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Post Number: 229
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Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 05:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Exactly, Aonghuis!

As much as I've ranted against IPA, I do know what many of the symbols mean and I DO use it to help me with my pronunication. As was mentioned earlier, Foclóir Poca uses it extensively. It is a valuable tool.

I agree that any serious study of Irish (or ANY language) almost demands that one become at least rudimentarily familiar with IPA.

But, for the casual browser it is a deterrant more than it is a help. Not unlike the endless debate over "which dialect should I learn?" Or, "What book/tape is best?"

(NO...I most certainly DO NOT want to start that debate all over again!)

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Dáithí
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Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 87
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 05:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Aonghus -your points above are well made. From the postings above, I learned from members on both sides of the fence on this issue. I didn't think it could be done, but James was successful in providing an LPA representation of my simple example. (Honorable mention goes out to Padraig - nice try!)

I can see how IPA could be a turn off for new members who are just beginning to learn Irish. Maybe it's best to offer beginners initially an LPA version and then an IPA version which they can pursue if so inclined.

Jonas' and Max's LPA versions of their English responses were fascinating! I could actually understand what they were saying.

Thanks for all of the postings.

Le meas,

Dáithí

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Cá bhfios?
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Posted From: 24.185.223.101
Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The sound quality is not great though - and it would be worth trying to get a gaeltacht speaker to record the sounds.

A Aonghuis,

Tá na fuaimeanna léite ag fear a rugadh in Éireann agus a togadh le Gaeilge.

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Dáithí
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Username: Dáithí

Post Number: 88
Registered: 01-2005


Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 08:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Trying to finish on a humorous note.....

Here's a funny website that takes English sentences and translates them into various "dialects."

http://www.shortbus.net/dialect.html

I thought Jonas might like the Swedish Chef :)

Dáithí

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Aonghus
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Post Number: 1490
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 04:05 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chá bhfios, cheap mé sin. Ach idir an droch fhuaim, agus blas na cathrach (mar atá agam fhéin)... dá mbeadh cainteoir Gaelachta ar fáil, b'fhiú na fuaimeanna úd a fháil uathu.

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Jonas
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Post Number: 690
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 07:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Robert, thank you very much for a long and brilliantly written post!

James, perhaps unwillingly, really demonstrates the shortcomings of LPA. The Irish "dhá loch" is perfectly rendered in IPA by
/γa: lox/

If we would take the LPA version "yah locks" and try to spell it in Irish, we would end with "dheá locs". Or in other words, the learner using LPA would want to say "two lakes" but would in fact say "good locks" (with faulty grammar). It would make no sense to an Irish speaker.

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Jonas
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Post Number: 691
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 07:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I should add that this is definitely not a question of linguists versus beginners. Few people here could match James when it comes to language learning. I'm all for the IPA but I'm definitely not a linguist.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1492
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 07:37 am:   Edit Post Print Post

But what is at issue here is the passing person who wants to know how to pronounce a single phrase, for a single occasion. IPA will be a sealed book to them.

LPA will be better than nothing (but only just).

James' point is that we should avoid frightening off such window shoppers with complexity precisely so that some of them will remain and learn Irish properly.

By all means post /γa: lox/, but with an explanation, please. And why jump down the throat of someone who tries to give as good an approximation as possible in LPA?

BTW, James' LPA version was quite long, and not YAH LOCKS Yah Locks was his assertion as to what /γa: lox/ would convey to someone who didn't know IPA. (because γ would look like y, and x be mistaken for the english letter x).

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Jonas
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Post Number: 692
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 09:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

You're right, I read it too fast and missed that. And yes, I assume /γa: lox/ would be pronounced that way by a monolingual English speaker.

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 230
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Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 09:14 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Aonghuis,

Go raibh mile maith agat. You've summed up my position very accurately.

I am not opposed to IPA. What I am opposed to is sticking someone's face in front of an open fire hydrant when all they asked for was a sip of water!

(This was my point in the formerly endless debate over dialects as well)

Jonas, A Chara:

While I am grateful for the complement regarding my language learing abilities, I must set the record straight. I speak two languages English and Spanish (and am losing more and more Spanish with every passing year). I've dabbled with German,Korean, Swahili and Somali. To say I speak either one would be a gross overstatement.

I actually would assert that, amongst the "regulars" here, I probably have the least Irish! But, that's my own fault. I've not really sat down with it since the Esopus immersion in February.

But, my intent is to re-focus this summer and get back on track!

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Daisy
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Posted From: 12.75.182.131
Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Robert - There is no spirit of anti-intellectualism on this post and as for "wide boys" being supported and encouraged by the administration you are being ridiculous. The administration is very careful to preserve fair play for all. The poster you refer to was well-known for sneering japes at people. It wasn't his brilliant intellectual material that had him evicted but his ill-mannered drivel.

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Robert
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Posted From: 67.105.100.69
Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 05:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Daisy,
of course, sneering can get up anyone’s nose and breeds discontent in those it is directed upon.

However, far from been ridiculas, I believe I have been proven correct on one point. As can be seen, the poster who assaulted Jonas is once again been left to his own devices despite been the most frequent and extensive abuser this site has ever had. If you don't believe me, check the archives. His victim even praises him, which is most extraordinary.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that there is a subtext that the Irish language is 'owned' by a number of people, and that the restoration of a Gaelic world vision rests on the shoulders of a few individuals who deem themselves controllers of the right of access to Irish. The language is then a form of capital to be fought over, rather than a source of communal benefit.

The drivel of the banned poster seems to stem from a reaction to the very rigid modality this forum has become. If you allow no room for humour certain individuals pick up on that, and mockery is assured. Definitely, I have seen mild jokes assaulted where I could see little harm, and the reaction of the original author is to go into self-defence, resulting in a flame war. The original protagonist is then banned, but never the reactionary abusers. It is incumbent on the forum to remove both elements. The failure to do so is turning this forum into the 'Magdalen Laundries' of websites –conservative, dogmatic, and one sided.

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Caoimhín
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Username: Caoimhín

Post Number: 116
Registered: 01-1999


Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 08:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ahhh,

all of this makes me yearn for the days of the flame wars ;-)

Post what you will, this thread will be closed and archived by 11:00 PM this evening, Eastern US time.

Caoimhín

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.

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Maidhc_Ó_g
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Username: Maidhc_Ó_g

Post Number: 6
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 09:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

HAHA - HAHAHA - HAHAHAHA - HA!
Dúirt tú, "...'Flame' Wars..."
Gabh mo leithscéil. Bhí 'flashback' ó "Beavis and Butthead" orm de sin agus an frithbheart é ní raibh sé ar bith agam. ;-))

Maidhc.

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