The Irish alphabet isn't too unlike the English alphabet. It too is based on the Latin alphabet and isn’t hard to understand.
The traditional Irish alphabet consists of eighteen letters. They are: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U
Of these letters, the vowels are as follows: a, e, i, o and u.
The letters that are absent (J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z) are sometimes used in loan words and words that are not of Irish origin. Examples:
- Zú Zoo
- Vóta Vote
- Vardrús Wardrobe
The acute accent in Irish is known as a síneadh fada (length accent), commonly called a fada. This accent can be placed over any of the vowels. It lengthens the sound of the vowel. (Pronunciation in brackets)
Aa - Áá ("aw", /aː/)
Ee - Éé ("ay", /eː/)
Ii - Íí ("ee", /iː/)
Oo - Óó ("oh", /oː/)
Uu - Úú ("oo", /uː/)
How to Type the Accents
You may be wondering how to type these accented letters, so here is a breakdown of how to do so on various different operating systems:
Irish Keyboard + US-International Keyboard
If you are using the standard keyboard that comes with Windows computers in Ireland, or the so-called US-International Keyboard, all you have to do is type AltGr + Vowel (AltGr + Shift + Vowel for an accented capital letter) to get your accented letter. e.g. AltGr + e = é. Note: You can always change your system's keyboard to one of these options, regardless of what set up your physical keyboard is.
Number Pad Codes
If you aren't using either of the above keyboards, you can use number pad codes to type the letters. It's a little more awkward but it gets the job done. The codes are as follows:
- Á - alt+0193
- á - alt+160
- É - alt+144
- é - alt+130
- Í - alt+0205
- í - alt+161
- Ó - alt+0211
- ó - alt+162
- Ú - alt+0218
- ú - alt+163
e.g. Typing alt + 162 = ó
If your Mac is set to the Irish keyboard (this is easy to do: just click on the flag on the top right to access keyboard settings), all you have to do is type Alt + Vowel (or Alt + Shift + Vowel) to get the accented letter (similar to how the Windows method works) e.g. Alt + u = ú
Other Keyboard Layouts
If your Mac is set to pretty much any other Latin alphabet-based keyboard, all you have to do is push and hold the vowel key and then type the corresponding number to get your accented vowel. e.g. Push + hold "a" and you are presented with a list of 8 variants on the letter "a" (à á â ä æ ã å ā) Since "á" is the second in the list, you just push + hold "a", then type the number "2" and you have your "á"
3. iOS and Android
Again, if your phone's/tablet's keyboard is set to pretty much any Latin alphabet-based keyboard (English (UK), English (US), French (AZERTY), German (QWERTZ), etc.) all you have to do is push and hold on the vowel and you will be presented with a row of variants on that vowel. Simply slide your finger over the version you want and you've typed your accented letter!
On the Duolingo website, whenever you have to type in Irish, you will see a row of grey buttons under the answer box. These buttons are: á, é, í, ó, ú! All you have to do is click on the one you want. Simple! This is useful when going through a lesson for the first time, but may not be ideal for timed practice (it does slow you down to have to locate and click on the button), but at least you don't have to use any awkward keyboard combination.
If you have any other methods of typing these letters, please share them in the comments. (Especially if you have guides for typing these letters on Windows Phone, Linux, or even with unusual keyboard layouts that may require different key patterns)
You can choose a keyboard specifically for Turkish. Maybe you have found this option already. But, if you go to control panel, click on Region and Language, then the "keyboards and languages" tab, then "change keyboards", then "add", then scroll down until you see "Turkish", then click on the "+", and finally, click on "Turkish Q" or "Turkish F" depending on your preference. You can have several keyboards ready to go. Then, switch between them on the task bar by clicking on the two-letter abbreviation.
Seriously, it's almost quicker to install a new keyboard layout than typing alt-codes!
If you're typing fadas often enough that you've learned the alt-codes off by heart, do yourself a favour and just install the necessary keyboard layout, and use windows-key+space to switch between layouts.
If you're only occasionally typing fadas so that you always have to look up the alt-codes every time you need them, do yourself a favour and just install the necessary keyboard layout, and use windows-key+space to switch between layouts.
If you simply set up the proper keyboard (on Windows 7 it's called US - international) then this is much easier to do - ú is '+u, and it's the same pattern for all of them.
EDIT: Also, just ALT+aeiou will give you áéíóú, although it needs to be the "proper" alt. I don't know exactly how it works, but only the alt to the right of my spacebar works like that. If I use the left alt, I need to do ctrl+alt+aeiou to get áéíóú.
Does anyone have a link to vocal pronunciations with visual letters to match? I've searched for days and all I find is people saying the alphabet sounds the same as English. But, the letters in words like dia daoibh, le do thoil and ceapaire do not sound the same as English letters would.
I'm starting to flounder a bit and I'm only on lesson 2 of the Phrases. I know that memory alone won't do the trick so I need a better understanding in order to build a stronger foundation.
There's a guide to pronunciation on youtube that I found helpful: includes recorded pronunciation, IPA, and Irish spelling rules. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIokUII7LX0
... with a supporting cheat sheet PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9VHiM8EUhqyc1g1ejhTTHlqdmc/view?usp=sharing
I've just had a look at the video and would highly recommend it. It is laid out simply and is straight forward. I purchased some grammar books in Ireland last Christmas and this short (15min) video lays it out in a much easier to understand format. I will be reviewing it regularly.
That's my preferred way to do it, but it's worth also noting: ever since (I believe) Mountain Lion, you can also type accented vowels by holding the vowel key down. A popup will appear, and you can press the number key that matches the accent you want. It's slower than the option-vowel version, but it's useful if you don't remember which key gives you which accent.
(It works on iOS as well: hold down the vowel and you'll get the accented versions to choose from.)
That feature was introduced in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), and it came at the cost of key repeat. I prefer key repeat over the press-and-hold character menu, so I disabled it with the Terminal command
defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false
(all entered on a single line). To someone who prefers the press-and-hold character menu over key repeat, it can be reënabled with the Terminal command
defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true
I don’t know if iOS offers a similar way to disable and enable its press-and-hold character menu.
I dug around for a while on the Wikipedia pages for the Irish language, palatalization, velarization, basically anything to do with the pronunciation. It's surprisingly regular once you understand how the slender/broad system works as well as things like lenition. For instance, the name Seán is pronounced "Shawn" because of that e. Without it, it would be "Sawn" because the e makes the s slender, which is "sh", rather than broad, which is "s".
For anyone struggling with learning the pronunciation of the Irish letters, I have found that the website http://www.angaelmagazine.com/pronunciation/introduction.htm is incredibly helpful, including audio-video of different pronunciations.
On Linux distros, the easiest way to enter accents is to select an alternative keyboard layout named "[keyboard layout] + dead keys". Such layouts have "dead keys", e.g. on "United Kingdom International (with dead keys) hitting ' before e results in é, " before i results in ï, etc.; hitting space after the dead key results in the normal punctuation mark.
I just use the portuguese keyboard on my phone so it has both accents (you just press the vowels and it will show you à or á or ã, etc.)
On the Pc I also have the portuguese keyboard that as keys for accents so I can just press that ´ alone or press accent key+vowel ( i.e. ´ + a = á )
Hi Andrea - is there a specific aspect of writing you are thinking about? If you look at my post above there are a couple links that I find very helpful for understanding how spelling and pronunciation go together. In general my best advice for Irish would be to persevere with this course but keep persevering and persevering... based on what I see of your collection of languages, I think you will find this requires more a lot more perseverance than Portuguese, English, or German.
Oh thanks but in fact, i really love Irish so it's probably that i can learn it more fast (and better) than other languages. Perseverance i know it! jajaja it's funny because i was started with this language only 1 week ago.
The thing it's that i don't know how write with the irish alphabet.