"Tha mi a' leughadh."

Translation:I am reading.

June 1, 2020

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A' leughadh is cognate with the Gaeilge 'ag léamh'. Seeing the Gàidhlig word written an Irish speaker wouldn't have any idea what it means, but hearing it it's very clearly related to the word léamh. Interesting how the spellings differ so much! Sgoinneil!


Yes, this one always trips me up because gh shouldn't have the mh or bh sound, and yet I'm hearing it. It is is one of the exceptions though. Usually the pronunciation is fairly consistent.


I too hear a "mh/v" sound where my brain says there shouldn't be. I wonder if there are regional variations in pronunciation.


Given that the word is apparently cognate with an Irish word which does have an MH, that kinda just makes me think that the V sound is the normal pronunciation.

That being said though, perhaps this spelling comes from a dialect where the MH's and BH's disappeared and created a hiatus (and the GH might have been added later to write the hiatus, similar to how Sgitheanach has a silent TH in the middle of it)


Okay, So wikipedia has 'léamh' as the verbal noun of 'léigh,' with the older (presumably classical gaelic) spelling of 'léigheamh' which might help explain why the GH is pronounced as a BH in this word.

The pronunciation likely changed similar to how Irish did, but the spelling is perhaps more conservative, or at the very least changed in a different way.


The gh in obsolete Irish 'lèigheamh' would have been pronounced with a hiatus between the vowels instead of a hard consonant sound /le:.əv/, so the modern spelling of 'lèamh' has simply reduced the word leaving out the unpronounced 'gh' altogether, the /v/ sound still representing the 'mh'.

Unfortunately, this does not explain the modern Scottish Gaelic pronunciation of both 'leugh' and 'èigh' (verbal nouns 'leughadh' and èigheach'), they just seem to be exceptions to the normal rules of pronouncing 'gh'.

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