Irish Gaelic Translations
Irish Gaelic
Free human community–based Irish Gaelic translations.

Pronunciation in the Irish Language

Aside from a few very common words, Irish pronunciation is very regular. Of course, some of the letters and letter combinations are pronounced differerently than in English.

smiley Tip: While you're first learning, you'll find it less confusing if you model your pronunciation after just one person.

Earlier I mentioned the golden rule for spelling, caol le caol agus leathan le leathan, requires that the vowels on either side of a consonant (or group of consonants) should both be broad or both be slender. That's because consonants have two pronunciations, broad and slender. A consonant that is is flanked by broad vowels is pronounced broad, and a consonant that is flanked by slender vowels is pronounced slender. But don't let the fact that every consonant has two pronunciations panic you. In most cases, the difference between the broad and slender pronunciation is subtle, and you really don't need to worry about all the subtleties at first.

The most dramatic changes are:

broad d is pronounced /d/ as in "door"
slender d is pronounced /dj/, like the "dg" in "edge"
broad s is pronounced /s/ as in "say"
slender s is pronounced /sh/ as in "sheep"
broad t is pronounced /t/ as in "talk"
slender t is pronounced /tch/ as in "tchah!" or "hatch"

Aside from that, broad consonants have a slight "w" sound associated with them, and slender consonants have a slight "y" sound. This is usually not noticeable except when you change from slender to broad within a word, or vice versa.

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