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YII. — Combinations of Vowels.

When the long broad vowel sounds are both preceded and followed by broad consonant sounds they are, pf course, written simply á, ó, and ú.. When, however, a long broad vowel is preceded or followed by a slender consonant sound, then a slender vowel sound must intervene. Thus we have explained the following combinations, eá, eó, iú, ái, ói, úi, eái, eói, iúi. In each case the broad vowel sound alone need be attended to. The slender vowel is but a necessary glide from or to the slender consonant

In like manner when a long slender vowel, é or í , is preceded or followed by a broad consonant, then a broad vowel glide must intervene. Thus we have the- following combinations, aé, aí (oí, uí), aoí, ía, ío, uío.

It is well to remember that in aoí, íai, and ía the accent is usually not written.

When a slender short vowel comes beside a broad short vowel the combination has in almost every case two quite distinct sounds. In the majority of cases the slender vowel is a mere glide, and all the stress is laid on the broad vowel, as in the words maidin, teach, deoch, coill, cuid, tiuc; ; in some cases, however, the broad vowel is the glide, and on the slender one the stress is laid, as in tduine, fios, , while still a third class have a simple sound unlike either vowel, but somewhat of a mean between them, as ais, leanbh, coirce. These several pronunciations can only be learned from Irish speakers, until a pronouncing dictionary is forthcoming. The usage of native speakers is, moreover, very far from being uniform upon the pronunciation of these short digraphs. I have often heard speakers of the same locality give very different relative values to the u and i in the words Muire and dhuit.

The only other combinations of vowels are ao, ua, uai, éi, ei. The sound of AO has been already referred to. In UA, both vowels are sounded separately with the principal stress on the u. The i of UAI is merely the glide that is necessary to get from UA on to a slender consonant. éi and ei have the simple long and short sound of e. The i is superfluous inasmuch as it only represents a glide from a slender vowel to a slender consonant.



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Irish phonetics - Rev. M. O'Flanagan - 1904