After the birth of our daughter my wife and I wanted her to know both her Irish and American roots. My grilfriend is from County Wicklow, Ireland and was fluent in Gaelic as a child. It seemed like a good idea to introduce our daughter and myself to the language as well.
Gaiscioch being an Irish guild I thought I would create a simple pronunciation guilde to help our memeber with names and words that fit our theme and lore. This will not only help our members but also help me learn the language as well! So lets begin...
Irish has most of the same consonants as English. Each of which has both broad and slender sounds, for example: SlÃ¡inte, a common toast, is pronounced "Slawn-cha". Notice the 's' is pronoucned just like it would in English. This is an example of a broad sound.
If we look at my Rogue's name in Rift: Sionn, pronounced "Sh-oonn" we see that the 's' is now pronounced like a 'sh'. This is a slender sound.
I am sure the question on all your minds now is, "Well, how do I know when a consonant is broad vs slender?" It is actually pretty easy. The rule of thumb is when a letter is flanked by either the letters 'e' or 'i'.
Here are the consonants with their broad and slender sounds. I included consonants paired with the letter 'h' as these have different sounds and are seen often together.
|b||Beag (B-yag)||BÃ¡d (Bahd)|
|c||Ceara (Kyara)||CabÃºl (Kabool)|
|ch||ChÃm (Hyim)||Chonaic (Khonic pronounced in back of throat.)|
|d||A deich (Ah jay)||A dÃ³ (Ah doa)|
|dh||DhÃ¡ (Gha back of throat.)||Dheas (Yas)|
|f||Fada (Fahduh)||Fear (Fyar)|
|g||Gan (as it looks)||Geata (Gyatuh)|
|gh||Same as dh|
|h||Same as English|
|l||LÃ¡ (Law)||LÃ©igh (Lyay)|
|ll||Ã¡lleacht (Ahll-yakt)||Allas (allus)|
|m||MÃn (Mween)||Maoin (Meen)|
|mh||Same as bh
|NÃ (Nyee)||Naoi (Nee)|
|nn||Bainne (bann-yuh)||Banna (Bannuh)|
|p||Peann (Py-ahn)||PÃ¡ (Paw)|
|ph||Pheann (Fyahnn)||Phoill (Figh)|
|r||Sounds the same at the beginning of words but has different sounds at else where.|
|Fir (Firzh)||Doras (dorus)|
|s||Sionn (Shoon)||SlÃ¡inte (Slawn-cha)|
|sh||Always sounds like 'h'|
|t||Teocht (Chahkt)||TÃ¡ (Taw)|
|th||Always pronounced like 'h'|
I have found that listening to people who speak it helps a lot. My wife has a Connacht accent so the way she pronounces some of these consonants is quite different. I also like to go to Forvo.com and listen to how people say different words. It should be noted that a majority of the words were submitted by one user so you will get one accent which may not match these textbook pronunciations. Please feel free to message me if you have questions! The wife is happy to help me out as I am far from an expert.
Next lesson vowels!!
Basic Irish: A Grammar and Workbook by Nancy Stenson
Consonants: Broad and Slender