Please help me with the Irish 'r' pronunciation

This is one aspect of Irish pronunciation that I've neglected because it looked too confusing and daunting at first. I've always seen people write comments that the Irish 'r' is suppose to be rolled, most of the time I don't notice any rolling in people speaking Irish but sometimes I do and sometimes its very strong. My questions are:

  1. when am I suppose to roll my r? are slender and broad rs treated differently?

  2. How am I suppose to execute this roll? I've never learned a language that has a rolling r and am completely ignorant on the technique, would be great if you could show a tutorial

  3. Please in ainm Dé tell me how to tell the difference in words ending in slender rs vs broad rs, for example how is 'leabhar' pronounced differently to 'leabhair'?

1 year ago

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  1. There are at least two pronunciations for the Irish r — a “broad” (velarized) pronunciation and a “slender” (palatalized) pronunciation. Both are typically variants of an alveolar tap (IPA /ɾ/, as in Spanish pero [“but”]) rather than of an alveolar trill (a “roll”, IPA /r/, as in Spanish perro [“dog”]). The alveolar tap is used in many dialects of North American English, but it is commonly spelled with a “t” rather than with an “r”; for example, if your pronunciation of “metal” sounds much like “medal“, then you’re using /ɾ/ for the “t” in “metal”. (The /t/ sound is retained in “metallic”, though.)

  2. You don’t need to roll your r, but pronouncing the slender r could require some practice, since it’s not a sound that’s found in English. I don’t have a tutorial to show, but the links to recordings in this discussion might help; a textual description can be found in this discussion.

  3. A speaker must distinguish between a broad r and a slender r for a listener to determine whether leabhar or leabhair was said, since the only pronunciation difference between them is the broad r of leabhar vs. the slender r of leabhair. The difference between them is fairly clear in this exercise’s recording with leabhar vs. this exercise’s recording with leabhair.

1 year ago

go raibh mile maith agat, it looks as confusing as I thought it would be but I'm sure it will be worth it, whenever I hear someone speaking Irish with clear r taps I'm immediately impressed

1 year ago
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