Wich are the vowels of Scottish Gaelic? I‘m really confused

February 10, 2020


a e i o u + à è ì ò ù - the accents make the sound longer....

Thank you! But now I‘m even more confused. In the grammar text they wrote that you write a’ if the word begins with an vowel. But a’ ceannach begins with c. And a’ faicinn with f. Did I understood something wrong?

You got confused. ag with vowels - ag atharrachadh, ag èigheachd, ag ìthe, ag òl, ag ullachadh etc but before consonants a' ceannach, a' fuireach, a' laighe, a' meòrachadh, a' nochadh, a' ruith, a' seasamh etc It just makes it easier to say without using glotal stops.....

Now it makes sense haha. Thanks a lot

If this story turns out not to be true, I disown it, but it was told to me by a friend's husband, and it ought to be true.

He explained to me the thing about broad and slender vowels, and I was about to say "I read that on Duolingo yesterday" when he went on. "It all goes back to the fall of the Roman Empire..." I started listening.

He said that when the Roman empire fell, Europe fell into chaos and disarray. Only Ireland, where the Romans never went (they never sailed blindly out if they couldn't see land), remained a little haven of untouched civilisation. And there the monks were busy making their beautiful illuminated manuscripts, and they wanted the words to look balanced and artistic as well as imparting information. So in order to make each word balanced on the page they introduced this "broad and slender" rule, so that the words would look symmetrical. And they basically added vowels to the words so that every consonant or group of consonants was balanced by either a broad vowel on either side, or a slender vowel on either side. I can only assume that they wrote their e letters in a different (and narrower) way from ours.

My friend's husband said that if you figure out which vowels were the ones added by the priestly scribes, it's a lot easier to figure out how to pronounce the words. I have no idea if this is true but it's a cool story anyway.

Obh obh, finally I've found someone to blame. Had they never thought of us learners? ... to scribble away like that ... in their dark and cold scriptorium, to come up with fancy gaelic word aesthetics because of boredom...tapadh leibh, a bràthair.

I slightly suspect that in at least some situations the stress-accents on particular vowels are to indicate which vowel of a pairing is the real one that has to be pronounced, as opposed to the extra one to make the word look elegant on the page.

I've also been suspecting that. :)

Just because they had a weird sense of aesthetics, we have to suffer?! Thanks a lot, Irish monks. XD

According to my friend's husband, yes.

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