Slender R in Kilkenny and Ceathrú Thaidhg County Mayo

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    I was doing some reading earlier about Irish in Kilkenny when I saw that the slender r was pronounced as /ʒʲ/ more similar to the s in measure and j in French. Listening to a clip of Seán Ó hÉinirí ( I thought I heard him make a similar sound at 1:47 and again at 2:14.

    Has anybody else noticed this or is it just O hEiniri’s idiolect? Has anything ever been written about this change before?


    Edit: It would appear the sound is like a voiced retroflex fricative similar to the voice retroflex approximant

    Héilics Órbhuí

    Sounds like a fairly typical slender r to me. I’m not a dialectical expert, but it’s definitely not just him.


    A chara,

    The slender /r/ is pronounced with a French /j/ in Ceathrú Thaidhg, Baile na Cilleadh, Port a’ Chlóidh, Corrán Buí and Ceathrú na gCloch. Here are such examples:

    Ag ghrian, we say /an jr’ien/
    Ag obair, we say /ag ob’ij/
    Ag gáire, we say /ag gá’jí’

    Please see ‘ The Irish of Erris, Co, Mayo: A Phonetic Study’ by Éamonn Mac am Fhailligh (1968)


    Interesting to learn that the slender /r/ had a similar pronunciation in Kilkenny..hadn’t heard of any other place that used the french /j/ pronunciation. Would you mind sharing where you found that information or where I could read more about it please?

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