In Irish, as in English, vowels are grouped together in three ways. (1) In the word ruin, the u and i are pronounced separately.; the u being pronounced distinctly and the i somewhat obscurely. The same may be said of the e and a in the word real. (2) In the word round the sounds of o and u melt into each other, forming what we call a diphthong. (3) In the word mean, the ea represents one simple vowel sound, like that of e in me. But as this one vowel sound is represented in writing by two letters, these two letters, ea, are called a digraph. Other digraphs are ai in main, ou in through, ae in Gaelic, ao in gaol, oa in goal, etc. We shall now examine the vowel-groups in Irish.
|ia||is pronounced ee-ă almost like ea in real|
|ua||is pronounced oo-ă almost like ua in truant|
Each vowel is pronounced separately, the second vowel being obscure.
|cuan||(koo'-ăn), a harbour|
|sgian||(shgee'-ăn), a knife|
|suas||(soo'-ăs), up, upwards|
|uan||(oo'-ăn), a lamb|
as in English