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Scottish Gaelic course pronunciation question.

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    Each of the people used for the audio clips pronounces the words slightly differently, which up until a certain point wasn't too much of an issue. However I have now come to Ceart gu leòr and I genuinely cannot tell how to pronounce the leòr part because there are different pronunciations of it each time I hear it.

    Is there a specific reason why there are so many variances in the pronunciation?

    November 26, 2019



    Like most languages, Gaelic has many dialects. The small number of speakers and lack of standardized Gaelic education until very recently means that no one dialect has come to dominate the others.

    That said, I'm hoping that once Gàidhlig is out of beta, they keep the same pronunciation for a single sentence, since it's a bit jarring to switch dialects and speakers mid-sentence.


    I can understand why you might want some consistency. For me, I actually like hearing the different accents within a sentence as it later helps me recognise a word in many different pronunciations more easily. It may take me a little longer to grasp the sentence but I’m not going to have to somehow put the different examples together in my head from different time periods. But I imagine everyone’s brains work differently and what is the easier way for me might make it more difficult for someone else.


    That makes sense! I've already been learning Gaelic for a long time so I've already been learning some of the differences from teachers and am used to listening to Gaelic radio and television, which is probably why I find it strange to hear a sentence split between speakers. :)


    The variances in pronunciation are due to dialects - as with most languages, speakers from different areas will pronounce things differently. With regards to 'leòr', the IPA transcription is /Lʲɔːr/, so the middle part is pronounced the way you would pronounce the 'a' in the English word 'called'. Phonetically written, it would be something like 'lyawr'? I hope that helps!


    I'm still struggling through as well, but I've been using guides that detail some of the sounds and help me make some sense out of it.



    A great resource for information and guidance on Gaelic pronunciation and grammar is Akerbeltz: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?title=Beagan_gr%C3%A0mair

    Not sure how trustworthy the "Unofficial Cambridge Hillwalking Club" is!


    Have you seen any specific issues with that Cambridge Hillwalking page? I've seen it recommended in a few places and wondered if there were problems with it.


    Great link. Thanks! I’d give you a lingot but computer says no :-( Besides pronunciation there’s also info about similarities and differences between Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic and Welsh even gets a mention. Also a general over view of the language structure. A good quick introduction


    There are many dialects as others have said in how to pronounce words in Gaelic. I've started the course on here from the beginning though I am probably more advanced than beginners with learning as a beginner in school and again in university. Even in our exams in school and uni, we had to become accustomed to the different dialects with different teachers from different areas of the Gaelic speaking parts of Scotland and also in our exams when taking the listening exam. I remember being told I had "a Uist accent" by a lecturer based on my teaching in school... I've never been to Uist nor have connections with the place in my family or in friends. I don't know if that's part of the reason why it's taken a while for Duolingo to talk it on board.


    Regional variation in Gaelic is much less pronounced than in many other European languages, Italian, even English. Phonological difference in pronunciation is relativity diverse but with little syntactical difference. The most pronounced difference centres on a / e / o - bainne, beinne, boinne the three ways to say milk. (Or mulk as I would say in English!)


    Really? Is it less pronounced? Thank you, I've been wanting to know that and I couldn't find that info anywhere.


    I, for one, am delighted that the speakers are actual live speakers instead of text-to-speech software. I’m not about to fuss over regional variations.

    Be glad we have speakers at all, eh (the German course doesn’t).

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