"Tìoraidh an-dràsta, Fhearghais."
Translation:Bye just now, Fergus.
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So the vocative "a" causes lenition, but when you lenite Fearghas it becomes Fhearghais, but the Fh is silent, so it's pronounced 'ear[e]ghais but that's a vowel sound, and you can't have two of those together, so there's no "a".
Same as there's no vocative "a" before ollaim or athair, sort of. HTH.
And to add a bit of International Phonetic Alphabet to this, Am Faclair Beag gives the pronunciations of Fearghas as /fɛrɛɣəs/ (the vowel /ɛ/ is a bit more open /e/, that is it’s closer to /a/ but not as close as /æ/ eg. in English cat – but the exact vowel might depend on dialect) – since fh is silent and Fhearghais has slenderized ending the expected pronunciation would be /ɛrɛɣəʃ ~ ɛrɛɣɪʃ/ – which is exactly the transcription for the surname MacFhearghais. :)
If you know the sound ch /x/ (eg. in loch – both in Gaelic and in Scots/English with Scottish pronunciation) – then gh /ɣ/ is the same but voiced.
It’s pronounced with the tongue in the same position as with /ɡ/ but it is a fricative and not a stop – instead of blocking the airflow entirely as in /ɡ/ you let it through with just a bit of friction to say /ɣ/. The same way ch /x/ is just a fricative with the same place of articulation as /k/.
It is kinda similar to French R [ʁ] (also used in German) but not entirely the same – as in [ɣ] the tongue touches soft palate (it is a velar consonant) while in [ʁ] the tongue touches uvula farther back in the throat (it’s uvular).
Ah thanks, yes I get the sound now, a voiced fricative, and can even hear it in what she says. I remember hearing this on a video but it sounded harder. Between the 2 vowels I suppose it softens a bit. I heard it as 2 'r's because it sort of flicks from a Scottish 'r' towards almost a French one.
Thanks VERY much Silmeth, I guess they just don't show up for a while. this has been driving me nuts. Even our coffee pot timer has been gaining 4 hours a day! 8~)
I'm really enjoying this course. I feel that, in addition to learning the language, I am also learning so much about language. Yrs, Bill Deutermann