Pronunciation of some slender consonants

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  • #36698
    Jkspiezio
    Participant

    So, I understand very well the concept of broad and slender and know how most of the consonants are pronounced. However, though I’ve read that a lot slender consonants (such as m, n, c, b, et al) are pronounced with a sort of “y” sound after them, when I listen to speakers I only really hear this before the “eo” diphthong. Has anyone else noticed this? In short, what is the proper pronunciation for these consonants. If it makes a difference, I’m studying the Connacht dialect.

    #45046
    Labhrás
    Participant

    So, I understand very well the concept of broad and slender and know how most of the consonants are pronounced. However, though I’ve read that a lot slender consonants (such as m, n, c, b, et al) are pronounced with a sort of “y” sound after them, when I listen to speakers I only really hear this before the “eo” diphthong. Has anyone else noticed this? In short, what is the proper pronunciation for these consonants. If it makes a difference, I’m studying the Connacht dialect.

    eo isn’t a diphthong, it’s only a digraph. It is a single vowel /o:/ written with two letters. The “e” in eo is silent.

    A sort of “y” sound is only necessary to negotiate the somewhat uncomfortable step from slender consonant to broad vowel. This step can be higher or lower. Maybe you are right and before [o:] this step is highest.
    But I hear an on-glide /j/ in meá, neá, beá, ciú, niú, etc., too.

    Of course, there’s no “y” sound between slender consonants and slender vowels because there are no steps to go:
    cí, cé, bí, bé, ní, né, mí, mé, etc.

    #45047
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    But I hear an on-glide /j/ in meá, neá, beá, ciú, niú, etc., too.

    depends on the dialect, in Ulster there’s no glide in meá, beá etc, since the á is not a back vowel, but a front one 🙂

    #45048
    Jkspiezio
    Participant

    Go raibh maith agat. So does this “on glide” occur with any digraph consisting of i or e followed by o a or u?

    #45049
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    It is a single vowel /o:/ written with two letters. The “e” in eo is silent.

    Not always true, i.e. “ceo”, “beo”, etc.

    It really depends on the word. Irish isn’t, despite what some people say, at all phonetic. I’ve heard people say that it is, and those people clearly don’t know the definition of “phonetic”.

    The best I can say is that sometimes an “i” or “e” has a sound that you will hear as a “y” glide and sometimes it only serves to slenderize that consonant. Which one it is depends on the word and the dialect. You really have to just listen to as much audio as you can and learn what the words sound like that way. I have discovered almost no absolute rules with any aspect of Irish phonology.

    #45050
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    Not always true, i.e. “ceo”, “beo”, etc.

    in ceo and beo, you don’t hear the e, you just hear the glide

    It really depends on the word. Irish isn’t, despite what some people say, at all phonetic. I’ve heard people say that it is, and those people clearly don’t know the definition of “phonetic”.

    I don’t see exceptions to this very rule about glides

    The best I can say is that sometimes an “i” or “e” has a sound that you will hear as a “y” glide and sometimes it only serves to slenderize that consonant. Which one it is depends on the word and the dialect. You really have to just listen to as much audio as you can and learn what the words sound like that way.

    as much audio of Gaeltacht native speakers as you can. Because on the internet you’ll hear loads of recordings of non-native speakers and most don’t respect the rules of Irish pronunciation, so it won’t help you to understand it 🙂

    #45051
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    I wouldn’t call a glide “silent”.

    And yes, one should listen to correct audio, not just any audio.

    #45052
    Labhrás
    Participant

    I wouldn’t call a glide “silent”.

    And yes, one should listen to correct audio, not just any audio.

    Well, in any word starting with eo- (eochar, eolas, Eoghan, eorna) e is silent (except an article or m’, d’, etc. precedes it.
    In this case a glide occurs).
    E is silent in seo, sheo, theo, too, because no glide is necessary.

    The glide is no vowel but rather part of the consonant.
    The e in eo is just a marker of slenderness of the preceding consonant.

    #45053
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    That’s not really accurate. The consonant and the vowel are linked. You can’t talk about one without the other, otherwise we’d be talking about “co”, which isn’t even a word. The rule is “broad with broad”, etc. for a reason.

    The e in eo is just a marker of slenderness of the consonant before.

    which is exactly what produces the glide.

    #45054
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    What produces the glide is the difference of place of articulation of the consonant and of the following vowel, it has nothing to do with the letter “e” 🙂

    #45055
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    Notice I never specifically said the letter “e” had anything to do with it. The fact that there is a slender consonant at all is what causes that. Again, the obvious evidence of this is if you pronounce a word like “cara” there is no glide.

    I have to ask… did you even read my above post? Because the last part of what you said is saying basically the exact same thing I said in a different way.

    #45056
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    I had this in mind: “The best I can say is that sometimes an “i” or “e” has a sound that you will hear as a “y” glide and sometimes it only serves to slenderize that consonant. “

    #45057
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    As should be clear by the last words of that sentence (i.e. the fact that those sounds produce the glide with a consonant in front of them, I’m not saying the “e” or the “i” themselves are the glide.

    You make the exact same apparent contradiction when you say it’s not the “e” but the combination of the “e” and the consonant. So does the “e” have anything to do with it or not? You haven’t seemed to decide. You cannot have it both ways. You are effectively asserting that an “e” after a consonant isn’t itself a “glide” yet a consonant without it will not produce a “glide”. So is it or isn’t it? You’re arguing a ridiculous point, frankly.

    #45058
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    You make the exact same apparent contradiction when you say it’s not the “e” but the combination of the “e” and the consonant.

    I can’t find where I wrote that…
    Btw I think we all agree on this topic but we just express things differently and maybe not always clearly to others… No need to keep arguing, I think!

    #45059
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    You make the exact same apparent contradiction when you say it’s not the “e” but the combination of the “e” and the consonant.

    This was my way of paraphrasing this:

    What produces the glide is the difference of place of articulation of the consonant and of the following vowel, it has nothing to do with the letter “e”

    Maybe I did so badly.

    No need to keep arguing, I think!

    Fair enough. I definitely agree we’re effectively arguing the same thing. I probably should step away from the internet and the computer altogether right now. I have so much stress in real life right now that my patience is just wafer-thin. I shouldn’t take my verge-of-nervous-breakdown state out on you.

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