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phonetic pronunciation guide

I've been on duolingo for a month or so, and as much as I love the course, i am on occation struggling with pronunciation. Is there a written guide out there designed for non linguists to follow? I've looked and found a few sites that advise me to do things like 'click my tongue on the back of my teeth' or such. Can someone suggest guide that offers suggestions that "leibh" should sound like "leave", or an accented a sounds like the 'a' in apple?

I realize this might (perhaps) be complicated by regional accents both in Gaidhlig and English, but any help would be benificial.

March 5, 2020



Learngaelic has a helpful phonetics page. https://learngaelic.scot/sounds/index.jsp


This course has sound files for all the words in the word list. (I use the website version, not the app.) On the Learn page follow “More ...” and choose the “Words” link (different from the Dictionary). On the word list click a word and you will see a page for that word with a sound file for it. There is also a list of sentences that use that word and sound files for each of the sentences. If you hover your cursor over each word in each sentence you can also hear individual pronunciations.

I don’t know of a dictionary that uses English sounds in the pronunciation for Gaelic words, but there are a couple of books that do.

Gaelic Gold – A Learner’s Dictionary /Phrasebook (MacRisnidh, 2017) provides pronunciations using English sounds. On page 10-11 is “A guide to the pronunciation system” which explains how to read the entries. This is an English – to - Gaelic book only. So you need to think of the English word – look that up to get the Gaelic equivalent and see a pronunciation in brackets. For example the entry for “artist” is:

artist, neach-ealain [nyaK-yalan]

There is a table of prepositional pronouns in the back and the pronunciation for leibh is given as “liv” -

Everyday Gaelic by Morag MacNeill (2014) uses English sounds for the pronunciations and explains Imitated Pronunciation on page 2. It is a book of words, phrases, and sentences divided by topic. The first 3 sections are on basic grammar topics. Following that are Sections for Numbers, Meeting Friends, Weather, Outdoors, Placenames, etc. For example, the pronunciation for three shoes (trì brògan, page 14) is “tree brawgun”.

Both Everyday Gaelic and Gaelic Gold are available from The Gaelic Books Council (gaelicbooks.org).

EDIT – I just reread your question. Maybe these books would help as well. Both Scottish Gaelic in 12 Weeks (Roibeard OMaolalaigh) and Complete Gaelic (by Robertson and Taylor) have pronunciation sections in the front. They describe how different letter combinations sound using examples of English words that have the sound and Gaelic words that use the sound. These are also at The Gaelic Books Council (gaelicbooks.org).
You might also find these books in a library so you could see if any are helpful enough to purchase.


Thanks for the useful help.

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