Review of Buntús Cainte through Actual Irish Dialects: Chapters 1-9

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    What would Buntús Cainte look like and sound like in the actual Irish dialects? What words, phrases, and pronunciations would change? Is it correct to say that Buntús is written in the Connacht dialect – or is it actually An Caighdeán Oifigiúil? Which then brings me to the subject of this thread. What would Buntús Cainte look like in the other main dialects?

    Using the following single letter descriptors for the three major dialects:

    (U) = Ulster Dialect (C) = Connacht Dialect (M) = Munster Dialect

    Note: Comments and observations of all Irish dialects and sub dialects are encouraged.

    Chapter 1. The text (tá sé an-gheal, etc.) appears to apply to all dialects except would duit change to dhuit in one or two of the dialects?

    What other dialectal differences exist in Chapters 1-9?


    Differences would be minor, really.
    As you mention, duit is frequently dhuit in the spoken language, especially following a vowel.
    The intensive prefix an- is ana- before consonants in Munster, leniting d,t & s:- ana-gheal, ana-thirim etc.
    Buíochas is pronounced “baechas” in Munster.
    is Thá in Waterford Irish.

    That’s about all I can see. Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of Ulster Irish could spot more.


    An suimiúil, or when in Munster should I say “ana shuimiúil?” Especially how “ana” can cause lenition of those letters (d,t,s) that I would normally think of as unlenitable (because of the dentals rule I think?)

    And then the insight into Waterford is appreciated. So, then in Waterford I would say “Thá sé ana-thirim?”

    From Ó Siadhail’s Modern Irish I see where the Waterford dialect fits in with the Munster dialect, and would I correct to think of Buntús Cainte as being in the Connacht Dialect? And if so, where would it fit into the Connacht dialect? I’ve been studying from Ó Siadhail’s Learning Irish and see how its Cois Fhairrge Dialect fits into the Connacht dialect, but I don’t have a clue where Buntús Cainte fits in. Maybe Buntús Cainte is a hybrid? Just a guess…

    And input about the Ulster dialectal factors for Chapter 1 would be greatly appreciated, and of course, any of the other dialects.

    Go raibh maith agaibh.


    Chapter 2 continues with focus on tá and nil, along with introducing modifiers, for example “Tá an aimsir go deas.”

    In his book Modern Irish, Ó Siadhail indicates (pg 7) the following dialectal differences when using such modifiers as deas:

    Tá an leabhar seo deas (U)
    Tá an leabhar seo go deas. (C)
    Tá an leabhar so go deas (M).

    So then, would the example above with the addition of “this” be:

    Tá an aimsir seo deas. (U) Note the lack of go
    Tá an aimsir seo go deas. (C)
    Tá an aimsir so go deas. (M) Note that seo is spelled so.

    Other dialectical differences? For example in Waterford, would it be

    Thá an aimsir so go deas. (W)


    A Chairde,

    Please note that I have expanded the scope of this thread for Chapters 1 through 9 of Buntús Cainte. Originally I started with Chapter 1 only, which means that Murchadh’s input was based on Chapter 1 only, since that was the scope at the time. So my apologies for any confusion and I look forward to understanding what can be said about the dialectal differences in Buntús Cainte for Chapters 1-9 for now. Go raibh maith agaibh!


    Buntús Cainte is definitely written in the Caighdeán Oifigiúil but the speakers on the recordings are Conamara speakers.

    Also, I think in Munster they still would use seo if the preceeding noun ends in a slender consonant?


    A Roibeaird,

    Thanks for the clarifications on Buntús Cainte. Looking at Ó Siadhail’s Modern Irish diagram on Western Dialects (Figure 0.4), I see where Connemara fits in: Connacht/West Connact/Galway/Connemara. So, although the speakers on Buntús Cainte are from a Connacht-speaking area, they’re aren’t really talking in the Connacht dialect, since I assume any written or verbal Connacht dialectal factors were suppressed to render Buntús Cainte “dialect free.” If that’s correct, then the same focus of this thread on the Ulster and Munster dialects needs to be applied to the Connacht dialect, since Buntús Cainte is actually Caighdeán Oifigiúil.

    Regarding your observation about seo, I found this information on Wikipedia at

    In both demonstrative pronouns and adjectives speakers of Munster Irish differentiate between seo “this” and sin “that” following a palatalised consonant or front vowel and so “this” and san “that” following a velarised consonant or back vowel in final position: an bóthar so “this road”, an bhó san “that cow”, an chairt sin “that cart”, an claí seo “this fence”


    Chapter 3: Níl, the negative counterpart to “tá” is introduced, along with the intensifier “an.”

    [U]=Ulster [C]=Connacht [M]=Munster

    Following up on Murchadh’s observation on “ana,” this source, , describes the use of “ana” in the Munster dialect instead of “an” before consonants. So then excerpting from BC (Buntús Cainte) we would have:
    Tá sé ana-bheag. [M]
    Tá sé an-óg. [M]


    i think Ulster speakers may use iontach instead of an- as an intensifier but i’m not sure.

    Are you trying to re-create dialect-specific versions of BC ?


    I’m looking to explore the actual Irish dialects while using BC as a source for phrases and basic conversational material. I think as we move into the later chapters we’ll come across more material to make more in-depth comparisons between the dialects and the CO found in BC.


    i think Ulster speakers may use iontach instead of an- as an intensifier but i’m not sure.

    ‘Iontach’ is certainly the usual version in Ulster, but “an-” is used too.


    ‘Iontach’ is certainly the usual version in Ulster, but “an-” is used too.

    Thanks. Would you use one or the other depending on the situation or are they roughly interchangeable? Also, would there be a hyphen after iontach conecting it to whatever it was intensifying?


    No hyphen, no lenition: “iontach maith” vs “an-mhaith”. I’m no expert but I think they’re broadly interchangeable. As I said above, “iontach” is more common by far. “An-” can sometimes be used as an intensifier with nouns as well as adjectives – “an-chluiche”,”a great game”- but “iontach” can’t.


    I remember listening to Raidió Fáilte a while back and there was a program where someone was reading through BC and they were replacing an- with iontach. I don’t remember if they made any other dialectal changes to it but Dáithí, that may be a place for you to start. I’m sure they have the podcasts up on their website.


    As Roibeard says above, the speakers are from Conamara but generally pronounce the language as written.

    Some dialect differences I’ve noticed going through lessons 2-9:
    Níl = Chan fhuil in parts of U.
    Aimsir = /aim’s’É™r’/ in M.
    Breá = /b’r’e:/ in U.
    Maith = /maix’/ in north C & U.
    – Non-initial slender ch is generally /h/ in M, so oíche = /i:hÉ™/ there.
    Iontach = /i:ntəx/ in U & C, /u:ntəx/ in M.
    – The speakers pronounce inniu as if it were spelt inniubh. This is the norm in M. I’m surprised to hear Conamara speakers use it.
    Tinn = /t’iN’/ North C & U, /t’i:N’/ in Conamara (as heard from the speakers) and /t’aiÅ‹’/ or /t’ain’/ in M. (In M tinn usually means ‘sore’, breoite means ‘ill’.)
    Ar chor ar bith = ar scor ar bith in U (?) and i n-aon chor in M.
    Arís is often aríst.
    Anseo & Ansin = Anso & Ansan in M (also ansiúd = ansúd).
    Amuigh = /əˈmix’/ in north C & U, /əˈmu/ in Conamara & M.
    Istigh = /əˈs’t’ig’/ in M.
    Freisin is a Connacht word, in U fosta is used and in M it’s leis.
    Sa (ins an) causes eclipses in parts of C & M, e.g. sa mbaile etc. In most of the areas in which it causes lenition, t is prefixed to initial s, e.g. sa tseomra.
    Leaba is Leabaidh in U, north C and M (apart from Waterford).
    Teach = tigh /t’ig’/ (dative of teach) in M.
    Agat is usually a’d in C (U ?) and stressed on second syllable in M.
    Bosca = bocsa in U.
    – In M d & t are eclipsed after a preposition & the article, so ag an ndoras, ag an dtine etc.
    Tine = t(e)inidh in U

    Phonetic symbols as found in ‘Learning Irish’.
    I’m sure there are errors or oversights which others may be able to correct.

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