§ 5. The letters are divided, as in other languages, into vowels and consonants. The vowels are a, e, i, o, u. The other letters are consonants.
§ 6. Each vowel has two sounds-- a SHORT sound and a LONG sound. When a vowel has a mark over it, as in á, é, í, ó, ú, it is to be pronounced LONG When the vowel has a SHORT sound, there is no mark.
§ 7. Vowels are also divided into two classes -- the BROAD vowels, a, o, u ; and the SLENDER vowels e, i. This is an important division. The student is not to confound BROAD and LONG vowels; any of the three BROAD vowels may be either long or short; they are long when they are marked as á, ó, ú ; they are short when unmarked, as a, o, u. In the same way, the slender vowels may be long é, í ; or short, e, i.,
§ 8. A consonant is said to be BROAD when the vowel next it, in the same word, is BROAD; and SLENDER when the vowel next it is SLENDER. Thus, s in sona, as, mas is BROAD; s in si, sian, mise is SLENDER.
§ 9. Consonants, in addition to their ordinary natural sounds, have, in modern Irish, softened sounds. These will be treated in a special chapter.
§ 10. Although it is true that no one can learn, from books alone, the perfect pronunciation of any language like Irish, still it is possible to give a very fair approximation to every sound in the language except, perhaps, two (y and r). Of these two, one (r) is not absolutely essential.
The plan of these lessons is the following:-- We give in each exercise a number of simple sentences in Irish to be translated into English, and other short sentences in English to be translated into Irish. At the head of these exercises are given the words which the student must know. After each word we give two things, its pronunciation and its meaning. Thus, the entry, "sal (saul) a heel" will convey to the student that the Irish word sal is pronounced 'saul' an means 'heel'.
§ 11. We may call these words in brackets KEY-WORDS, as they give a key to the pronunciation. It is, of course, absolutely necessary that we should know what is the sound of each letter, and each combination of letters, in the key-words.
§ 12. Sounds are divided into vowel sounds and consonant sounds.
as in English