"Tha mi làidir agus èibhinn."

Translation:I am strong and funny.

June 14, 2020

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"èibhinn" has a strong "v" sound in the middle, but in "Inbhir" as in Inbhir Nis it sounds like "y". Also, in "ri taobh na h-aibhne", the "v" sound disappears altogether, although many years ago I heard Portnahaven in Islay pronounced "Port na h-aibhne" with a strong "v", like "porst na haavinye". Is this a dialect thing, or are there general rules for intervocal "bh"?


At least to some extent it does depend on the dialect. The only more comprehensive work about sounds of various Scottish Gaelic dialects that I know of is the article Scottish Gaelic Dialects published between 1906–1908 by Charles M. Robertson. Surely there are some more up-to-date works (especially focusing on specific dialects) but I haven’t found or read them.

In this article, though, you can see from the sections on Mh (The Celtic Review vol. 4, pp. 170–176 – unfortunately I cannot link directly to a specific part of the main article) and Bh (pp. 177–183) that they both may be ‘sounded variously as v, f, u, w, h or not at all’ and see the list of places (dialects) and contexts (with example words) for all the listed sounds.


That's very helpful, thanks. I'd already noticed in Duolingo Irish that 'mh' often sounds like "w" as in "a mhac", for example. This is clearly something that only prolonged listening can support!

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