" dhubh"

Translation:a black cow

January 2, 2020



This pronunciation is wild


It's interesting that in the introduction to Duo Gaelic we are told, "Gaelic, although it may appear quite different at first, is a very regular language with consistent grammar rules and a sensible spelling system that accurately represents Gaelic sounds."

So far, I'd agree that the grammar rules are consistent but I'm not so sure about the sensible spelling system having looked at the orthography page in Wikipedia referenced by Michael880308, which runs to 13 A4 pages! I'm not knocking the Duo Gaelic course. I think the authors have done an outstanding job, and I'm loving the experience, but I don't think it is particularly helpful to be told (quite frequently) that the spelling system and pronunciation are simple when they are clearly anything but simple. Please take into account that, to a beginner at least, the pronunciation can actually seem pretty tricky and maybe give us a bit more guidance in the Tips sections along with some consistent audio clips which don't plunge us into dialectal variations so early in our learning. Sometimes it feels like it might if one was trying to learning English as spoken in Lancashire or French from a native of Britanny (with no disrespect to either of those groups!) Thanks.


I promise you, Gaelic spelling is a breeze compared to English spelling. The thing with Gaelic is that even if you don't know how to spell a word, you have a high chance of accurately predicting it. The 'broad and slender' rule is consistent across nearly every word (barring the days of the week and a handful of former compounds like "rudeigin"), and the verbs have a very regular conjugation pattern, unlike English. English has around 200 irregular verbs, whereas Gaelic has a grand total of 10.

I'm sure it must sound a bit patronising having native speakers tell you it's easy, but I can hand on heart say that I've never come across a language with anywhere near as predictable a spelling system :)


The main problem is actually hearing the sounds so that you can then have a chance of putting the sound with a spelling construction. I really listen over and over, with headphones if needed.

It's a bit like a Spanish speaker trying to speak English. They don't have enough vowels, and really have to work at it to avoid sounding out each vowel. Learning Spanish, I found the main problem is in unlearning English vowel sounds. I find similarly with Gaelic that it more about unlearning English pronunciation than learning Gaelic. I suspect that learning "from the page" complicates matters, as the new written word is processed initially in your first language. Learning orally skips that part and allows you to focus on the sounds themselves. I lived in Spain for a number of years and it was the conversations with people that made the difference, because if you didn't understand, you could ask. I now have an "Andalu" accent apparently, but because I talked just like everyone else in the village, it doesn't seem like an accent to me. And spelling just reflects that. As in English or Spanish, once you know that a particular sound has a particular way of writing it in a particular word then that's that.

With that in mind, it would be nice to know where the various accents come from.

Keep up the good work, and thank you.


I imagine it's easier if English is your first language! I like how in medieval Dutch, you can read words out loud and it sounds like modern Dutch. The spelling of those words reminds me of Gaelic in that sense. Though here I need to pronounce vowels the English way, if that makes sense? So yes, it's logical for many, but definitely not all :')


I finally had to look elsewhere for help with spelling and pronunciation and I found this: https://cuhwc.org.uk/page/unofficial-guide-pronouncing-gaelic


Or by googling: "a guide to scottish gaelic pronunciation" in case that link is verboten. :)


This is a great link. Thank you.


One other thing - which is completely outside the control of the good people running this course - is that dictionaries usually don't give pronunciations for conjugated prepositions (like orm, agam, leat etc.), and given how complicated the orthography is that really sucks.

So these two dictionaries give pronunciations for air "on", but they don't give pronunciations for oirre, oirbh, etc.


I can't comment on Gaelic spelling but standardized English spelling is a fairly recent thing as languages go. Samuel Johnson codified spelling in his dictionary in the mid 1700. It was met with resistance.


That's probably the biggest issue with English - it hasn't undergone a spelling reform in the way that most major languages of the world have.


Hey, Gaelic spelling is very very regular. It will start to seem less wild! :)


I hear "bò luke". IS there an L and a K sound, or is it just my admittedly poor auditory processing?


Like friendorphobia, I hear bò luch(cow mouse? Mouse cow?) Just by ear, i would never guess any variation of dubh


Is the lady pronouncing the dh in dhubh, or is this a case of a silent consonant?

And if she is pronouncing the dh, what is she saying?

(Assuming Wikipedia is correct - a big ask, and assuming I'm reading the Scottish Gaelic orthography page correctly - an even bigger ask! - then I'd expect the dh to be /ɣ/. I can usually hear that sound ok, but it's entirely possible in this case that the sound is present and I'm completely wrong.

If I've read that page correctly and the lady isn't pronouncing a consonant, would that be due to dialectal variation?)


Hello teacher, I could hardly hear what the man was saying, it was muffled as if speaking through cotton wool! The bo, I heard, but the dhubh was impossible! Please fix it for future students. Margaret.


I'm finding it hard to study at present, as my husband is critically ill ( not coronovirus ) as his organs are all breaking down, I cannot contact a tutor to ask if I can take time off for a short period?


Margaret, with great sorrow, and prayer, for your situation and your husband's health, this is a loosely structured course. You may pause your study based on your life conditions and return at your leisure when you are ready and able. It is possible that you may encounter "a new class of students" when you return but you can be assured that we are all with you in spirit wherever you are.


My husband lost his life on 20th January! Thankyou Connor 697532


You are among friends here, and we hold you and him in our hearts tonighr Yours Bill


ok but if the pronunciation isn't "wild" or "dodgy", it appears, in some cases, to be inconsistent across recordings of certain words, even allowing for lenition


It's just a difference in dialect :)


I am with John362626. I am having a devil of a time hearing the sounds, and hearing them consistently when written with the same consonants. If there are rules that make this easy, I haven't yet derived them myself, and I'd love to get some tips.


When I mentioned "hearing", it's not a simple matter. Often we are hearing what we expect to hear, or what we think we should hear. In English if you see the word "farm", for example, I might pronounce it "faruhm" or "ferm" or even "feruhm" depending on who I'm talking to (being Scottish). Someone in the south of England might say "fahm". Neither is wrong or right. The important thing is to get what the word means. How a group of letters "should" be pronouced will depend on a multitude of things. The best hint I can suggest is to accept that there are going to be different accents and that you can learn to hear them and still recognise the word. How you then say it is another matter.


I completely agree. But I need some way points for my brain to try to figure out how to even interpret the sounds I'm hearing before I can try to reproduce them. It would maybe be helpful to hear a collection of words that repeat the same sounds, the same way a preschooler might hear "cat" "bat" "mat" "vat" to learn the "-at" sound, but also "cat" "car" "cuddle" "coo" to learn the "c-" sound. That's what I'm looking for. A way to parse the phonemes in the word so that I can learn and extend them.


Oh, and maybe some contrasting examples, like how in English we might learn to distinguish between "cur" and "cure" in shaping our mouth to make those different sounds which are technically in the vowel, but have to do with the initial consonant in combination.

[deactivated user]

    Gosh sounds like wind in a tunnel.


    That's inaudible.


    Definitely thought this said "bò muc." Her dialect is incredibly difficult to understand without context (didn't expect dhubh to show up in a lesson one review). I'm trying to memorize her pronunciation but I generally assume if shes speaking, I'll get it wrong. Hopefully I'll get better, but in the meantime, solidarity!

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