Pronunciation and reading.

Fáilte (Welcome) Forums General Discussion (Irish and English) Pronunciation and reading.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #36815
    Amaunet
    Participant

    Ive been trying to teach myself Irsh for a few weeks now, and one of the biggest problems I’ve been having is tryin to read the words I’ve been seeing out loud. It’s much easier for me to retain a word when I can say it. What is the general rule for reading Irish words, do you pronounce every letter, what about accent marks? I have picked up a few things, such as bh sounding like a v, but what other rules are there? Any help is appreciated.

    #45635
    acutia
    Participant

    IMHO, this video is a very good introduction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIokUII7LX0 Good luck with it.

    #45636
    Wee_Falorie_Man
    Participant

    I just started watching the video and I’ve already spotted a very obvious error. The word for eclipsis is urú, not úrú which is another word entirely; these two words are pronounced differently and have totally different meanings.

    Also, I disagree with lots of the pronunciations that she gives. For example, I was taught that broad “t” does not sound like the letter “t” in English. Nor does a slender “t” sound like “ch” in English; slender “d” does not sound like “j”, etc. Maybe these are just dialect differences. I was taught by a native speaker from the south of Ireland, so I’m hoping that someone will come along and let you know if the pronunciations in the video are correct for another dialect.

    #45637
    Seáinín
    Participant

    When I first tried to learn Irish, this “how do I pronounce the word I see on the page” thing stumped me and I couldn’t get over the hurdle. The second time I tried I did an online course (Mango Languages) that included decent recordings of every word and phrase being taught. That made the difference for me. That particular system is subscription based, so it might not be accessible to you (although it’s worth checking your local library to see if they are subscribed to it) but now there’s a free online course at http://www.duolingo.com that has decent recordings for some of the words.

    I also found the pronunciation system used by the hardcopy dictionary Foclóir Póca useful early on, and there are systems used in some other texts that can help.

    Get a course with recordings, whether it’s online or hardcopy, and cut yourself some slack. This is the primary stumper for a lot of beginners. (And I wouldn’t get too hung up on whether the recordings you’re listening to are “natively pure”. You can move more in that direction once you’ve got your linguistic feet on the ground.)

    #45638
    Labhrás
    Participant


    Also, I disagree with lots of the pronunciations that she gives. For example, I was taught that broad “t” does not sound like the letter “t” in English. Nor does a slender “t” sound like “ch” in English; slender “d” does not sound like “j”, etc. .

    Well, actually, she pronounces slender t´ quite different from English ch and slender d´ different from English j.
    To say “t´=ch and d´= j” is an approximation or simplification which might be useful for a total beginner (who probably is not at all able to hear the difference between deo and Joe)

    #45639
    Wee_Falorie_Man
    Participant

    Well, actually, she pronounces slender t´ quite different from English ch and slender d´ different from English j. To say “t´=ch and d´= j” is an approximation or simplification which might be useful for a total beginner (who probably is not at all able to hear the difference between deo and Joe)

    Ah, I see what you mean. 🙂

    #45640
    Amaunet
    Participant

    I’ve actually been using Duolingo primarily as my teacher, but they don’t say every word they show. It’s very good app for getting lessons with the eclipses and if you use it on the computer they give you actual notes. I’m more hung up on accent marks than anything else. I think I have the general idea but I get very confused on the vowels like é á and í. How are they pronounced in relation to English?

    #45641
    Amaunet
    Participant

    I’ve also been able to pick up a lot with the setence structures, but I still get confused on how it’s laid out, like the format. I know if it’s an action sentence then the verb is the first word, but I’m slow on the uptake with it.

    #45642
    Wee_Falorie_Man
    Participant

    I’m more hung up on accent marks than anything else. I think I have the general idea but I get very confused on the vowels like é á and í. How are they pronounced in relation to English?

    é – “eh”
    á – “aw”
    í – “ee”

    This is roughly how they’re pronounced, but I recommend listening closely to a native speaker, instead of relying on English phonetics.

    #45643
    eadaoin
    Participant


    é – “eh”
    á – “aw”
    í – “ee”

    This is roughly how they’re pronounced, but I recommend listening closely to a native speaker, instead of relying on English phonetics.

    I’d say é is pronounced like “ay” (as in DAY)

    #45644
    Wee_Falorie_Man
    Participant

    I’d say é is pronounced like “ay” (as in DAY)

    That’s the problem with trying to use English phonetics for non-English sounds. To my ear, the é sound is somewhere in between “eh” and “ay” – except in words like scéal, for example, where it sounds more like “ee”.

    #45645
    Seáinín
    Participant

    It will be a little less confusing if you pick a dialect to focus on, while keeping in mind that pronunciations can vary quite a bit between them.

    #45646
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    Yeah, what Seáinín said. If you expect everyone to say things the same in Irish you will just end up confused. Really the best way to start is to find something where you have the text and the audio and to practice using that. When I first started learning over 10 years ago, I had a great resource which was this old program for Mac called “Languages of the World” which I think was by Transparent. It had different lessons and you could click entire sections of text and have that spoken (with a button to have it spoken slowly) or individual words. That really helped ingrain certain letter patterns and words into my head. I’m still a much better speaker than I am a listener. Suffice it to say, learning to pronounce Irish correctly is a lot harder than most other European languages which are much more phonetic. The fact that certain letter combinations are said differently in different grammatical situations makes it that much harder (i.e. “casadh”, the verbal noun, “chasadh”, the past habitual of that and “casadh”, the autonomous past all have a different sounding final syllable, at least on Connacht Irish). When in doubt, you can consult various sources. breis.focloir.ie has many words in the “foghraíocht” panel. forvo.com is another great resource, even though many of the recordings are of inconsistent quality, they are still a fantastic resource. abair.ie is a speech synthesizer which can be used if you can’t find the word pronounced by a real person.

    #45648
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    You can also use songs, (sung by GAELTACHT SPEAKERS), like those sung by Altan, Skara Brae, Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill…
    That’s the way i learnt Irish pronunciation without even noticing 🙂

    #45652
    Gríofa
    Participant

    You can have forvo open while reading:

    http://www.forvo.com

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