The pronunciation of every language changes somewhat with time, the spelling has to be changed to suit the pronuncation. There are thus many differences of spelling and pronuncation between Modern Irish as now written and spoken and the language as it was written and spoken centuries ago. But some common words, although their spelling has changed with the general change have retained wholly or in part their old pronuncation. We have already met some specimens.
The consonants which have in some words retained to an unusual degree, traces of an older pronunciation are ḋ and ġ. At present, ḋ and ġ broad are pronounced with the gutteral sound which we denote by the Greek γ at the beginning of words only. There is evidence that at one time ḋ and ġ broad had this sound always, and some words retain it in whole or in part. Thus—
|cróḋa||pronounced (krō'-γă) or (krōg'-ă)||brave|
|diaḋa||pronounced (dee'-ă-γă) or (dee'-ăg-ă)||godly|
§ 462. So doruġa, a fishing line (dhŭr'-oo-ă) is in Donegal doruga (dhŭr'-ug-ă); and teaġlaċ, a family (tei'-lăCH) is in Donegal teglaċ (teG'-lăCH, and in some places teγ'-lăCH)
§ 463. At the end of the words ḋ broad is now silent. In Scottish Gaelic ruaḋ, etc, are still pronounced roo-ăγ. Some terminations of verbs have preserved the sound partially in our Irish. Thus, the terminations -aḃ, eaḃ, of the 3rd singular of imperative, imperfect and conditional active of verbs are pronounced as a rule as -ăCH, a softened form of an older pronunciation -ăγ. Again, the perfect passive terminations -aḋ, -eaḋ are pronounced in Munster as -ăG, a slightly hardened form by -ăγ. Examples will be given in due course.
as in English