Suggestions for learning phonetics and pronunciation?
Halò, a chàirdean! I'm having a lot of difficulty sorting out a number of the sounds that the various letter combinations encompass. For example, Gaelic "mh" sometimes sounds like English "v" and other times like Scots "ch", sometimes Gaelic "dh" sounds like English "y" and sometimes like English "g"...I know there are many factors: the accent of the speaker on the Duolingo recording, regional usage, and so forth. I have tried using the video guides on learngaelic.scot but they often leave me as confused as before. Do any of my fellow travelers through the course have any suggestions? Mòran taing!
It just takes time and practice. Listen to recordings that have the associated Scottish Gaelic text so you can hear how the words are pronounced. Use beginner material for speakers that speak more slowly.
As noted by RobbieKerr2 learngaelic has lots of recorded material including a dictionary that provides word pronunciation. Here is the path to sounds files for letters and letter combinations with examples and explanations (not sure if this is the one you already tried):
Learngaelic also has a feature called Litir Bheag. These are short essays on many topics related to Scotland and Gaelic. Each letter has a complete recording and there is a pdf of the full Gaelic text with a complete English translation. You can just listen, or pause the recording, phrase by phrase, and see if you can repeat what the reader said (using the pdf or not). Here is that path:
This (duolingo) course has a word list - from a Learn page click the "...More" menu and choose "Words". When you see the list, click any word and you will get to a page with the word pronounced and several sentences that use it.
Michael Bauer has a book called Blas na Gàidhlig with sound files online. He goes through very detailed explanations of all the sounds of Gaelic and how to make them. The text is sometimes very entertaining. He also talks about why Gaelic sounds can be difficult to learn.
It does take lots of study and practice -- but fortunately that really does work.