p h o u k a  h o m e i r i s h  l e s s o n s  h o m e

Book I:


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exercise XXXVII

§ 223. The softened or "aspirated" sounds of the consonants

We have now spoken of the sounds of the vowels in Irish, and of their peculiar sounds in the Munster and Ulster dialects; we have also spoken of the sounds of the various groups of bowels. We have treated of the broad and slender sounds of consonants, and we have now to speak of the softened, or, as they are generally termed, "aspirated" sounds of many consonants. We have examples of this softening down of consonantal sounds in other languages. Thus, from the Latin word deliberara are derived the French deliverer and the English word deliver, where the o of the Latin is softened to a v. Again, the Irish words bráṫair , leaṫar correspond to the English brother, leather, but the t is softened in sound (this is denoted by the mark above it, ) and the words are pronounced brau'-hĕr, lah-ăr.

§ 224. This softening of consonant sounds is usually called aspiration. Aspiration in Irish, therefore, affects consonants only.

§ 225. In studying "aspiration", we have to ascertain (1) how the aspiration of a consonant is marked; (2) the effect of aspiration upon the sound of each consonant; (3) when aspiration takes place.

§ 226. Aspiration is MARKED usually by placing a dot over the consonant aspirated, thus: ḃ, ċ, ḋ, ḟ, ġ, ṁ, ṗ, ṡ, ṫ . The aspiration of l, r, n is usually not marked, and learners may neglect it in the beginning.

§ 227. Aspiration is sometimes indicated by placing an h after the consonant to be aspirated; as bh, ch, dh, etc.

§ 228. We have now to see what are the SOUNDS of the aspirated consonants.

§ 229. Sounds of L, n, r, aspirated.

The aspirated sounds of l and n are almost like the sounds of the English l, n. The aspirated sound of r is almost the same as that of r slender. As these sounds are not very important, they may be passed over lightly.

§ 230. Sounds of T and S aspirated

Aspirated t (i.e., or th) is pronouned like "h"
Aspirated s (i.e., or sh) is pronounced like "h".

§ 231. Words


(koh'-ăl), Cathal, Charles
O' caṫail (ō koh'-ăl), O Cahill


(koh'-eer), a chair, Munster (ko-heer')


(bō-har), a road


(bōh'-reen), a little road, Munster (bōh-reen')

Baile an Áṫa

(bwal'-ĕ-ăn ah'-ă). Ballina
Baile Áṫa Cliath (bwal'-ĕ-klee'-a) Dublin
go braṫ (gŭ bruah), forever


(lah'-ăn), wide, broad
mar (mor) as, since

§ 232. NOTECathal is an old Celtic name, but in modern times is has often been translated as Charles. Compare Diarmiud and Jeremiah in §210.

We will no generally use bóṫar instead of ród. Ród, however, is a pure Irish word and is found in Irish manuscripts written before the English came to Ireland. [In common usage, ród is the poetic, bóṫar the colloquial word. Compare dís and beirt = two people, and the usage of dale (dell) and valley in English ].



note that
are not
necessarily pronounced
as in English

See § 13-16

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