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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37 38 39 40
41 42    



§ 14. The Obscure Vowel-sound. There is in Irish, as in English, a vowel-sound usually termed "obscure". In the word "tolerable" the a is pronounced so indistinctly that from the mere pronunciation one could not tell what is the vowel in he syllable. The symbols ă and ĕ will be used to denote this obscure vowel-sound. The use of two symbols for the obscure vowel-sound will be found to have advantages. The student should, therefore, remember that the symbols ă and ĕ represent one obscure vowel sound, and are not to be sounded as 'a' or 'e' in the table of vowels (above). Thus when the Irish for "a well", tobar , is said to be pronounced "thǔbăr" the last syllable is not to be pronounced ar, but the word is to be sounded as any of the words "thubbar, thuuber, thubbor, thubbur" would be in English.

§ 15. The Diphthongs.

In the keywords, the letters: Are to be sounded like: In the English words:
ei ei height
ou ou mouth
oi oi boil
ew ew few


§ 16. The Consonants

The consonants used in representing the pronunciation of Irish words will be sounded thus

In the keywords, the letters: Are to be sounded like: In the English words:
b, f, m, p, v, w, y as in English
h   as in English except in dh, th, CH, sh
k, l, n, r   as in English. But additional signs are needed, as explained below.
g   as in English go, give, never soft as in singe
ng   as in English song, sing; never soft as in gin
dh like th in thy
d like d in duty
th like th in thigh
t like t in tune
r like r in run
r   no sound exactly similar in English, see note
s like s in so, alas
sh like sh in shall, lash
l like l in look, lamb
L   thick sound not in English
l like l in valiant
n like n in noon
N   thick sound not in English
n like n in noon
NG like ng in longe-er
k like k in liking
K like k in looking
g like g in begin
G like g in begun
CH like gh in O'Loughlin
γ   gutteral sound not in English
W is in Connacht like w
  is in Munster like v
V is in Connacth like v
  is in Munster silent

The above table will be explained in the course of the following lessons; but we may here note that s is never pronounced like z and that beginners may pronounce NG, γ , r like N, G, and r.


note that
are not
necessarily pronounced
as in English

See § 13-16

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