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X. — Irish Spelling.

We have examined the distinction between broad and slender vowel sounds. The broad vowel sounds require the back of the tongue elevated, while the slender vowel sounds require the front of the tongue elevated. Similarly the broad consonants are those that require the back of the tongue elevated, and the slender consonants the front of the tongue. The consonants produced by the lips, and those by the tip of the tongue, are independent of the position of the back or front of the tongue. They cannot, therefore, be classed as either broad or slender. They should be independent of the rule caol le caol. . This rule has been engrafted on them owing to the analogy of the other consonants. It would be well, therefore, to relieve Irish spelling of the strain, which the application of this rule to p, b, m, f, ph, bh, mh, fh, and single n and l puts upon it

The want of a single vowel to represent the low front vowel sound (eA in such words as le&n) is the greatest drawback to our Irish system of spelling. If this want were supplied and a new simple consonant substituted for n5, it would be easy to make Irish spelling a very satisfactory means of representing articulate sound.



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