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  5. "cofaidh agus siùcar"

"cofaidh agus siùcar"

Translation:coffee and sugar

December 8, 2019



Any explanation for the pre-consonantal aspiration?


Well, it is a little difficult to explain for a French speaker but I hope I shall manage to do it. Old Gaelic (old Irish) had voiced and unvoiced stops which remained the same in modern Irish. In Scottish Gaelic voiced stops became unvoiced, between vowels and at the end of a word in some dialects, in all positions in other dialects, and unvoiced stops became pre-aspirated, for instance:

old Gaelic [d] > Scottish Gaelic [t]

old Gaelic [t] > Scottish Gaelic [ht]

Both changes were certainly simultaneous otherwise there would have been massive confusions between words. If it can help, it is an example of what André Martinet, a French linguist, called "chaîne de pulsion" (chain of pushing, if it is proper English): a phoneme takes the place of another one and "pushes" it to another position in the phonological system, so that confusions are avoided (for instance [d] becomes [t] and pushes [t] to [ht]).

I hope it is clear :)


Actually that makes perfect sense. Merci!

  • 1208

In English, you wouldn't say "Coffee and sugar" unless handing over two separate containers. So how do you say 'coffee with sugar', which is what would actually be served/recieved?


cofaidh le siùcar :)


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