Talk:Irish orthography

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Thank You[edit]

Thank you to whomever (plural of 'whomever' is?) wrote this. I have been looking for an explanation of the buailte online and I came upon this. You are all making a contribution to knowledge. Le gach dea-ghuí. Dunlavin Green (talk) 19:22, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

As the primary contributor to this page, and on behalf of the other editors of this page, you're welcome and we're glad you like it. (And the word you want is "whoever".) +Angr 20:42, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

_ _ _

I wanted to give you another thank you for the picture of the "Pay & Display" sign. I looked everywhere trying to figure out why there would occasionally be a 7 stuck in the middle of an Irish sentence. Now I know. Ramseyman (talk) 01:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


Can we have an (rough) english equivalent for all of these? (talk) 00:00, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Slight problem with the pronunciation guide[edit]

I have only looked at the first few letters I'll admit, but I have already come across a few "errors" in pronunciation. The table shows bhf (broad) pronounced as a w and gives bhfuinneog as an example being pronounced as winn-yohg (obviously in IPA but ...). The problem with this is that it is more typically pronounced as vwinn-yohg in Munster and large parts of Connacht. Aibhneacha is shown here as being pronounced as [avʲnʲəxə], where most will actually pronounce it as [əinʲəxə]. I'm sure a lot of work has gone into these pronunciation tables and I can see there is consistency here, however I would argue that a disclaimer is made to show the variety of Irish being shown. Otherwise we run the risk of showing that sibh (as an example) is pronounced [ʃɪvʲ] everywhere when in actuality it is pronounced as that only in Connacht, Munster and the caighdeán but as [ʃɪːw], [ʃʲwː] or [ʃiːw] in Ulster and parts of North Mayo. --MacTire02 (talk) 21:56, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I've never seen a source that says bhfuinneog has [vʷ] anywhere in Connacht, and Irish phonology does state that the phoneme /w/ is realized as [vʷ] or [vˠ] in Munster. But it's true the article does tend to idealize the pronunciations a bit; I started to try to alleviate that at User:Angr/Irish orthography by bringing in more dialect differences, but it's been ages since I actually worked on that page. +Angr 22:34, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
My relatives in Ráth Cairn (who speak Connacht Irish as their native tongue) have a tendancy to realise bhf as [v]. They would say leis an bhfuinneog [leʃ ən vʷinʲoːg]. They differentiate in the following way - fuinneog [fʷinʲoːg], fhuinneog [inʲoːg] and bhfuinneog [vʷinʲoːg]. However, i do see your point in saying that bhf (broad) is pronounced as [w] as can be seen in the pronunciation of bhfuil [wil]. I think, as I said before, that an acknowledgement to the variety of Irish elluded to in the article would be of great benefit. All in all though Angr, fantastic work. --MacTire02 (talk) 23:44, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
In its current state, the article doesn't refer to a specific variety of Irish; it's an attempt to be roughly pan-dialectal. +Angr 06:41, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
The transcriptions in this text are phonemic (i.e. showing an abstract, idealised pronunciation), not phonetic (i.e. showing the techincal details of an individual’s pronunciation). Both [w] or [vˠ] are realisations of the same abstract phoneme /w/, which a phonetician understands to refer to [w] or [vˠ] depending on the speaker and the environment. The symbol /w/, therefore, is perfectly sufficient for this article. Whether, where and when people say [w] or [vˠ] is a phonetical question, and belongs here. On the other hand, where there are consistent phonemic differences between dialects (e.g. people in Munster using /ɟ/ instead of /j/ for word-final slender ‹ gh ›), this should perhaps be made clear.
I would also like to add that phonemes (phonemic transcription) are always transcribed between slashes //, while phones (phonetic transcription) are transcribed between square brackets []. Conflating the two leads to confusion. I have take the liberty to correct this in the preceding comments.

Spelling reform section[edit]

The new Spelling reform section says, "The Irish Texts Society's 1904 Irish–English bilingual dictionary by Patrick S. Dinneen used traditional spellings." But even Dinneen's dictionary uses some reformed spellings, such as sp and sc instead of sb and sg, -as instead of -us in words like solas, consistent use of éa instead of eu, and eo rather than to mark [o:] after a slender consonant. So while many early 20th century texts spell the word for "story" sgeul and the word for "knowledge" eólus, Dinneen spells them scéal and eolas as they're spelled today. —Angr (talk) 15:50, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Use of K[edit]

Though the Irish for kilometre is ciliméadar, it is always abbreviated as "km" on road signs. Can anyone say why, if there is no letter K? The article says - "k is the only letter not to be listed by Ó Dónaill." Is it bad Irish on the road signs, or did they think nobody would notice, or does nobody care anyway?? (talk) 15:42, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

km is an international symbol for the kilometre, it's the same in all languages. CodeCat (talk) 15:51, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Apart from being an international symbol and used in most (though not all) languages, using "cm" for "ciliméadar" would also be confusing as we also have "ceintiméadar" for centimetre. Mac Tíre Cowag 16:07, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

What dialect are the pronunciations supposed to be from?[edit]

Most examples are given with only one pronunciation, and there's no mention of whether it's supposed to be the “standard” one, the most common one, or the one from a particular dialect. For example, it says ao is pronounced /eː/ in the word aon /eːn̪ˠ/ "one" and its derivatives – well, Foclóir Póca says aon is /i:n/, and there are dialects where ao is normally /eː/, so a statement like that only applies to some dialects, and the article gives no clue as to which ones. Same applies to most of the exceptions (ceann is /canˠ/ according to Foclóir Póca and /caunˠ/ in Munster, beag is /bʲɛɡ/ in FP and (IIRC) /bʲaɡ/ in Ulster, ...) A. di M.plédréachtaí 23:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

When I started this page, the examples were in a vaguely Connemara/Aran Islands-ish sort of accent, but perhaps not terribly consistent. Since then I've been meaning to come back and represent all the dialects more consistently and with sources, but have been daunted by the enormity of the task. You can see at User:Angr/Irish orthography the sort of plan I have for this page, although I haven't worked on that draft in a very long time. To your specific examples, I think the Lárchanúint is the only "accent" of Irish where aon is /iːn/ rather than /eːn/ (at least, I'm unaware of any native accent that pronounces it /iːn/, but that doesn't mean there aren't any). As for beag in Donegal, Quiggin gives /bʲɪɡ/, Wagner /bʲʌɡ/, and Lucas /bʲɛɡ/, but I've never heard /bʲaɡ/. Angr (talk) 05:53, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that draft looks way better than this page. (/ʌ/ in a phonemic transcription? And why the hell did the ITÉ standardize on pronunciations no-one uses? I can't remember anyone pronouncing anois with /ɔ/ either.) For now, I'll just add a note somewhere stating that the pronunciations are those in Connacht Irish. A. di M.plédréachtaí 10:03, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, the character Wagner uses is actually "ø", but I don't think he means it in its IPA sense. AFAIK no dialect of Irish has front rounded vowels. Ní Chasaide uses /ʌ/ to represent the vowel of oladh in Gweedore, so I commandeered it in my comment above to stand in for Wagner's "ø" as it seemed to be the closest vowel available. Donegal vowels are a terrible mess; the literature is full of very vague descriptions, punctilious transcriptions of clearly subphonemic allophones (but without labeling them as such), and nonstandard uses of phonetic characters. I can't always tell when the differences between authors describing different Donegal accents are due to actual dialectal differences and when they're merely due to the authors' idiosyncrasies. Re ITÉ and Lárchanúint, I've also never heard anyone pronounce gloine with /ɔ/. Angr (talk) 10:36, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
So much for the “the O in Foclóir Póca's transcription of anois is just a typo for I” theory. :-) A. di M.plédréachtaí 14:18, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Nope, I'm afraid the rule in Lárchanúint is "‹oi› is always pronounced /o/, regardless of reality. If they wanted it to be pronounced /əˈnɪʃ/, they should have spelled it anuis." Angr (talk) 14:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I just checked. It says indeed anois [əˈnos´]. That's simply insane. Not a soul says that. -- Evertype· 12:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

If this is supposed to be Connaught dialect, why is there no lenited---unlenited contrast for 'l', 'n' & 'r'? (talk) 01:42, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Tengwar mode for Irish[edit]

In the forthcoming edition of The Hobbit in Irish a Tengwar mode for Irish will be published. Would a description of this be out of scope for the present article? -- Evertype· 12:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

I'd think so. In fact, I doubt it would meet the general notability guideline for inclusion in Wikipedia, unless it "has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject", i.e. if it's discussed by people other than the people responsible for creating it and for the translation. Angr (talk) 12:27, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

The word is[edit]

I don't speak Irish, I've just read a few things about it. I wonder why the word is is pronounced with an [s] instead of [ʃ]. Shouldn't it be [ɪʃ], since i is a slender consonant? - So is it an exception? Are there more? And could they be listed? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, is (both the copula and the conjunction, which is a contraction of agus) is pronounced with [sˠ] despite being next to i. It's an exception. The exception to the exception is that the copula (but not the conjunction) is pronounced [ɪʃ], or just [ʃ], before é, í, iad. So is é a dúirt seo "He's the one who said this" is pronounced [ʃeː dˠuːɾʲtʲ ʃɔ], but is é ina shuí anseo "while he was sitting here" (literally "and him sitting here") is pronounced [ɪsˠ eː ɪnˠə hiː nʃɔ]. Angr (talk) 19:05, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Irish typeface image[edit]

Uncial alphabet.png

This is a low-quality image. The edges of the letters are not smooth, and the letter "names" use some sort of quasi-phonetic spelling. It looks it was put together in an old version of Microsoft Paint. It would be nice if someone redid it. I was thinking particularly of User:Evertype, but if someone else has the necessary typeface (I don't), by all means go ahead and do it. (suoı̣ʇnqı̣ɹʇuoɔ · ʞlɐʇ) nɯnuı̣ɥԀ 21:16, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I have original sources! Your typeface is excellent! (for most interested Wikipedia Readers); A very good Bulgarian friend of mine, has original Irish type face construction algorithms... I, myself, can read the original typeface, (re Dineen 1927). Михал Орела 17:13, 14 August 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by MihalOrela (talkcontribs)

Uncial alphabet.svg

Replaced Uncial_alphabet.png with SVG version Uncial_alphabet.svg. —☸ Moilleadóir 06:32, 9 August 2021 (UTC)

Question about silent vowels and broad/slender consonants[edit]

Have the silent vowels that indicate broad/slender been inserted to indicate this, or were they originally really there, affecting the consonants, and have these vowels subsequently been lost? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:41, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

It's a mixture of both, but mostly they were inserted to indicate slenderness. This was done already in Old Irish, but the rules were different then and may not always have been consistent. Old Irish didn't require consonants to be surrounded by the same type of vowel on both sides. Instead, the slenderness was normally implied by the following vowel only. A slenderising silent "i" was added before a consonant to show slenderness when a slenderising vowel did not already follow it, which was primarily at the end of a word but also in cases where syllables containing "e" or "i" had disappeared, leaving the slenderness as an after-effect. Most importantly, word-final consonants that were preceded by "e" were generally broad, such as cet "hundred" (pronounced with slender "c" and broad "d"). In these cases, the vowel has since changed to "a" as an effect of the following broad consonant, but the slenderness of the preceding consonant was kept, hence the modern cead. Keep in mind that Old Irish spelling was not quite regular and so words might be spelled in unpredictable or counterintuitive ways. I'm sure User:Angr can elaborate. CodeCat (talk) 21:51, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Yep, what she said. It's only short e that became /a/ (spelled ea) between a slender consonant and a broad consonant; céad "hundred" has a long /e:/ in both Old and Modern Irish. You're thinking of Old Irish cet (/ced/) "permission", which became modern Irish cead (/cad/). In Scottish Gaelic, it's remained a mid vowel, so in that language cead is pronounced /cʰet/. Sometimes, however, the silent vowels don't seem to be silent any more because of the on-glides and off-glides. For example, you often hear cúig "five" pronounced [kuːi̯ɟ], in which case the i does seem to correspond to a sound, just not one that's present at the phonemic level. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:20, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
@Angr: Yes, I meant short e. I always think that céad has a short e for some reason, maybe my dad taught it wrong to me at some point and it stuck. Anyway, would I be correct to say that in the first syllable of an inherited word, an e or i (with no fada) after the initial consonant always represents an etymological vowel, while an e before the last consonant of the syllable is etymological but an i is an unetymological slenderising vowel? CodeCat (talk) 12:54, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think you ever get e before a consonant in (Modern) Irish except in the digraph ae (e.g. Gael, laethanta). And i obviously isn't merely a slenderizing vowel when it's by itself (e.g. tuigim), but otherwise yes, in ai ei oi ui and ái éi ói úi the first vowel is the etymological one and the i marks the following consonant as slender. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:36, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

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Putting names in All Caps[edit]

When I put Irish names that include Mc or Mac in all caps, should the “c” and “a” be capitalized? For example, I was watching golf and I saw the name “RORY McILROY”. Is this right, or should it be MCILROY? Either way, it should be added to the capitalization section with a reference. Worst Username (talk) 22:52, 8 April 2018 (UTC) Worst Username (talk) 22:52, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

It is a style guide decision for the publisher. Ireland does not have any equivalent of the Academie Française to rule on such things. But for what it is worth, MCILROY looks totally weird in my opinion. VanHALEN or VANHALEN anyone? --Red King (talk) 21:15, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

Fada combinations[edit]

As the "Diacritics" section points out, not all vowels next to fada vowels are silent: the two examples given are iá(i) and uó(i), and I've found aoú (as in naoú) as well. Such combinations should obviously be included in the chart in the "Vowels" section; let's try to list them all here first and then add them. So far we have:

  • iá(i) /iːaː/
  • uó(i) /uːoː/
  • aoú /iːuː/

Esszet (talk) 22:37, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

I found another one:
  • uá(i) /uːaː/ (as in Liotuáin)
Esszet (talk) 15:27, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
And another:
  • ió(i) /iːoː/ (as in sióg)
@Mahagaja, do you have any input? Esszet (talk) 21:59, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
I suppose the vowel section should say that ⟨i⟩ and ⟨u⟩ stand for /iː/ and /uː/ when they occur before ⟨á⟩ and ⟨ó⟩ (a fact only barely alluded to in the Diacritics section), but as far as I can tell the text doesn't claim that all vowels next to fada vowels are silent anyway; and it should be clear that something like ⟨aoú⟩ is to be pronounced as ⟨ao⟩ followed by ⟨ú⟩, shouldn't it? —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 09:52, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Well yeah, they should be added to the chart, I was more wondering if there were any I was missing. Esszet (talk) 12:56, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
I can't think of any off the top of my head. I think it's really just /iː, uː/ followed by /aː, oː/ where the fada is dropped from the first vowel. I'm pretty sure ⟨iú⟩ and ⟨eá⟩ are always back vowels after a slender consonant; ⟨eó⟩ is just an old-fashioned spelling of ⟨eo⟩ (/oː/ after a slender consonant); ⟨uí⟩, ⟨oí⟩, and ⟨aí⟩ are always /iː/ after a broad consonant; and I don't think the other possible combinations (⟨ií⟩, ⟨ié⟩, ⟨eí⟩, ⟨eú⟩, ⟨eé⟩, ⟨uú⟩, ⟨ué⟩, ⟨uó⟩, ⟨oú⟩, ⟨oé⟩, ⟨oó⟩, ⟨oá⟩, ⟨aú⟩, ⟨aé⟩, ⟨aó⟩, ⟨aá⟩) ever occur. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 16:18, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Alright, but just to be sure, I'm going to ask a native speaker...@Sean an Scuab? Esszet (talk) 23:00, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Since he doesn't appear to be on here much...@Stormy clouds? Esszet (talk) 23:35, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
@Esszet: - Bheadh orm a admháil nach bhfuilim cinnte faoin ábhar seo, ar an drochuair. Déarfainn go bhfuil an liosta atá curtha le chéile ag Mahagaja ceart, mar níor thug mé aon botún faoin deara. Táim brónach nach raibh mé in ann a bheith níos cabhraí daoibh. Stormy clouds (talk) 09:30, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Well, you're about to see how good my Irish is...ceart go leor, go raibh maith agat. Dála an scéil, nach ceart don "Gaeilgeoirí dhúchasacha" san infobox seo bheith ina "Gaeilgeoirí dúchasacha" (ainséimhithe, ní thagann deireadh le "Gaeilgeoirí" i gconsan caol)? Esszet (talk) 12:02, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
@Esszet: - Arís, nílim go hiomlán cinnte ar an ábhar seo, ach ceapaim nach chóir go mbeadh an séimhiú curtha isteach toisc gurb é "D" an chéad litir den aidiacht. Go ginerálta, bíonn D,N,T,L nó S ina eisceacht dena rialacha, agus b'fhéidir go bhfuil sé sin an chás anseo. N'fhéadar, le bheith ionraic. Is ainmfhocal fírinscneach é "Gaelgeoirí", agus ba chóir go mbeadh séimhiú ann ar an aidiacht dá bhrí sin. Ach níl aon séimhiú sa frása "báid turasóireachta", mar shampla, mar gheall ar na DNTLS. Ach, faraor, mar a dúirt mé cheana, nílim cinnte. Tá brón orm. Stormy clouds (talk) 13:51, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
I barely speak Irish (you’re clearly a lot better than I am), so I’m going to limit myself to “dúchasach”. Gaeilgeoir is a noun and not an adjective; to the best of my knowledge, adjectives only lenite after nouns in the nominative plural when the noun ends in a slender consonant. Because Gaeilgeoirí ends in a vowel, the adjective should thus be dúchasacha; the grammar wizard at confirms it. Esszet (talk) 18:11, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Oops, sorry User:Esszet - made an error there. Meant to say "ainmfhocal fírinscneach", and have since corrected it. By later references to "aidiacht", I was referring to "dúchasacha", and ergo agreeing with you regarding the séimhiú" (which I took as the point of contention). You are correct, and that is what I hamfistedly attempted to state. Apologies. Stormy clouds (talk) 19:23, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

Alright, then I guess I’ll just add that stuff to the chart, and if Sean an Scuab has anything to add, he’ll let us know. Esszet (talk) 18:20, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Pronunciation of diphthongs[edit]

@Zontas Do you have sources for the pronunciation of obh, odh, ogh, and omh as /ou/? The linguist Brian Ó Raghallaigh, for example, transcribes them all as /au/, which is the same pronunciation he uses for abh and amh. Esszet (talk) 14:09, 23 August 2018 (UTC)

=== The answer is hearing it on, but this is likely because my ears hear /ou/ for /@u/, my apologies. I also editted it a while ago, and am not 100% sure what i was referring to outside of that. Zontas (talk)

Sorry for taking so long, but I also saw that you changed the pronunciation of aon, so I tried to find out exactly how it is pronounced. There's apparently variation between /eːn̪ˠ/ and /iːn̪ˠ/ in Connacht and Ulster (see here and here (in the bulleted list under "Vowels")), so I'm trying to get confirmation that that is indeed the case. I still don't have a definitive answer there, but I changed /ou/ back to /əu/ and made some other changes as well. Esszet (talk) 23:22, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

The name of h[edit]

Is h really called 'hh'? No vowels in the name? Koro Neil (talk) 23:54, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Word-initial eo-[edit]

Judging by the page Eoin, word-initial eo- is not /oː/ but /joː/. Is this accurate? It should probably be included in the table if so. Rua (mew) 11:17, 7 December 2019 (UTC)