Duolingo does have the "Irish alphabet". The use of non-Roman fonts was deprecated almost 3 generations ago - there are very few people below the age of 80 that are familiar with written Irish in non-Roman fonts, and it would not be helpful for Duolingo to use those fonts while every other resource that learners could use would use Roman fonts.
I wish the Irish language (not Duo, the language itself!) would have kept the dot-over-consonants-thing instead of putting an h behind them though. It means the same thing now but makes it harder to recognize and remember for new learners that are more familiar with languages where the h has its own sound.
I mean they kept the fada and other languages have many more different diacritics then Irish. Many different languages have dots over letters for special sounds. They could have kept this one too.
Or even better, developed two different diacritics from it that already indicate if a lenited consonant is broad or slender. Like in French where you see an e, é or è and you know how they sound so you know how the word is pronounced.
But of course this never happened and is just wishful thinking and wining on my part. ;-)
Does someone know when they changed the Lenition mark to h and why instead of keeping it as a diacritic like the fada?
To reply to myself because I was really curious. ^^
The wikipedia article on Irish Orthography mentions that the use of h was developed because of limitation of machines to display the overdot. But there are wishes to change it back now that computers can type it just fine because it would clarify spelling and make words easier to read, especially on signage.
I hope they get there some day! :)
Yeah, you're right. One person editing Wikipedia isn't exactly conclusive. Still curious that the fada survived as a diacritic.
And yes, I confess I am a diacritics fan. :D I like everything that makes a specific language immediately recognisable even if you don't understand what's written. I love our (German) ä, ö, ü and especially ß and am sad that modern writing reforms tend to work against them (especially ß).
More individuality for written languages! ^^
And sad at the same time to realize that people had to change a part (even though small) of their culture because of machines
There really isn't any justification for this béal bocht attitude. People "didn't have to change a part of their culture". People choose to use a single font instead of two fonts.
Irish had been written in "roman fonts" for hundreds of years before the typewriter came along, and the lack of fadas on standard (English) typewriters certainly didn't see the demise of the fada.
But some people just love to romanticize these things, and deny the right of people to take practical steps that make their lives easier. People could have kept using two different fonts in their handwritten communications, people who typed could have bought two different typewriters for their typewritten correspondence, but it would just have been an extra expense and an extra burden, without any benefit. It made little practical difference to printers, who typically had different font sets anyway.
But using two different fonts was simply an inconvenience and an expense that wasn't necessary. By the time the education system stopped teaching children to use the old uncial fonts, society generally had already moved on.
I'm pretty sure that there is very little interest in Ireland in switching back to the buailte, except by those who want to ignore lenition entirely. (And font nerds. And people who write Wikipedia articles). The switch to using the letter "h" wouldn't have been so complete if it didn't work pretty well for people.
One thing that I suggest you might find helpful is to use the word séimhiú when spelling words, rather than "haitch" (or "aitch") - ess-ee-fada-eye-em-séimhiú-eye-oo-fada.
The uncial alphabet is just Latin letters using a different font. Maybe they were talking about Ogham which was used between the 1st and 9th centuries?
I also found this phrase hard to write. I heard three syllables and only wrote six letters, most of which were wrong anyway. I've got no idea where all the others come from!
No, farrelly068 was talking about the Cló Gaelach font, but he called it "the Irish alphabet". As you point out, it's a font, not an alphabet. I'm pretty sure that nobody would find Ogham an improvement on just about any form of typography developed in the last 1500 years. Even more so than an Cló Gaelach, it's only purpose these days is for decoration.
Where is your evidence that "they were even pressured to/made to think it was a better solution"?
An Cló Gaelach is just a font - people use the font that is most convenient and effective. By the time that schools stopped teaching kids to use uncial fonts, they had already fallen out of use outside the educational sphere. Like the Blackletter typeface that had been used for German and Scandanavian and other northern European languages, the uncial fonts don't serve any utilitarian purpose, and they just aren't attractive enough for most people to overcome the utilitarian drawbacks involved in using them, even though it's fairly straightforward to do so nowadays. Lots of Irish teachers use Comic Sans when creating handouts or slides, not because it's a "friendly font", but because the Comic Sans has big, obvious accents - unlike the font that this site uses that makes it hard to tell i and í apart. Font purists are appalled that Comic Sans even exists, but mere mortals use it because it solves a problem.
@SatharnPHL It won't let me reply to you for some reason
Anyways, you're right about this. They didn't actually need to change it, but it is sad that they were even pressured to/made to think it was a better solution. I'm Serbian, and we use both cyrillic and latin, with cyrillic being ''main'', especially in school and all legal/official things like documentation. I personally use cyrillic cursive the most, it's fast(er) to write and overall looks better in my opinion, and I do love that it's more traditional. I use it for pretty much everything, from school to shopping lists. I also use cyrillic when doing school work on my computer, like presentations, projects and essays, but in that case I use block/print cyrillic. Only time I actually use latin is probably typing. For some reason, my phone won't let me have a Serbian cyrillic keyboard, even though I have it listed in options, it just goes back to latin I don't know. But I also type in English a lot too, and am used to the letters being where they are this way, so yeah latin for phone. My point is, you don't have to change something drastically, we adapted by also using latin, but still keeping cyrillic. If I remember correctly, we didn't learn latin until second grade, though we did use it in first for English (we have both Serbian and English from first grade on, then in fifth you get French/German/Russian/Italian or some others depending what your school offers), so you do first learn cyrillic and it's the first thing you're exposed to. I definitely think something could be changed there, and it's sad to think Irish didn't find a way to change a bit less drastic :(
Because "to speak" and "to talk" are not quite the same. "I speak Irish", but "I talk to my friend".
"I am talking" in Irish is "tá mé ag caint", where" caint = talk". The usage of "caint" and "labhair" is a little odd, and to be honest I don't know well enough how to explain when you use one and not the other in Irish.
Well thankfully we have Duolingo to help us all get our Irish back into shape now! I wonder will it have a noticable positive impact at the Irish learning in schools. I truly hope so anyway. If nothing else, it may be seen as a 'fun' and 'cool' way to learn Irish. I recall when I was in school, one reason why nobody was bothered with it very much was because it's not considered a 'sexy' language, that is, it had a bad image.
The problem with phonetic spellings is that your phonetics aren't necessarily the same as my phonetics - English speakers in different countries can pronounce the same word in different ways.
As it happens, labhraíonn is spoken in a number of different sentences on Duolingo (with at least 2 distinctly different pronunciations). Perhaps some of the other examples will work better for you.
I can't tell you where you went wrong, because I have no idea how you got from an "l" to a "v". Can you hear the "l" on the pronunciation of labhairt on teanglann.ie?.
sí is pronounced "she" (because "i" is slender, so it slenderizes the "s" to an "sh" sound), but when you're transitioning from an "n" sound immediately before it, I can see how you'd hear "chi", but that's just because you aren't separating the sounds properly, which is just a matter of practice.
On "Labhraíonn sé" it's clearly an "l", as it is on Teanglann and Forvo. On this sentence: "Labhraíonn sí" I can't hear an "l" at all where the "L" is. It definitely sounds like "v" each time.
In the mean time, I've looked up Irish phonology, and "bh" is sometimes /w/ which explains why it might sound like /l/ after a vowel: "talk" and "awkward" share the same sound. It's common in English for an unstressed "t" or "d" to be pronounced like the Irish "r".
The pronunciation of "bh" ranges from "w" to "v". In general, it is "w" when the "bh" is broad (next to a, o or u) and "v" when the "bh" is slender (next to i or e), but there are exceptions, both within and between dialects - for example "ubh" for egg, is universally pronounced with a "v" sound, but "dubh" for black, is pronounced with a "w" sound in Ulster and by some Connacht speakers, but with a "v" sound by everyone else (the speaker on Duolingo uses a "v" sound, for example).
You can listen to a range of different words containing "bh" here:
many thanks indeed ! You seem to speaks Gaelic but you are only on level 14. However this might mean that you are a teacher revising the course. I am an old (78) French-speaking Swiss economist who spent 52 of his years travelling for business around the planet with the exception of Sub-Saharian Africa. I have always been fascinated by the CELTS and especially by the Scottish Highlands ( which I know) and by Ireland ( which I don't know, Ireland is one of the only 2 European countries i don't know,the other being Iceland. I live in South America since 1992, between Ecuador and Peru, countries of which I hold residency for life.In my youth I studied Latin and classical Greek + German and English. Later Spanish-Portuguese and Italian. I started with Russian some 7 months ago and , quite recently with Gaelic,Romanian und Turc. Here in Peru I am in tourism business and in Ecuador in teak wood business which we export to India..
Oops, that would certainly explain the coincidence, wouldn't it? The reference to "nahuatl" as the name of the Aztec language just happened to stick in my consciousness, and then your reference to Peru/Ecuador triggered it. I never even looked at the username on he original posting!
The level number only reflects how many exercises you have done on Duolingo. It is theoretically possible to be on level 25 by repeating a single lesson over and over.
(I'm more fluent in Spanish than French, but I have put in more time on French here, so my level is much higher.)
I seem to be having trouble keeping track of the words "to read" and "to speak". And I'm wishing they'd give us the infinitive from which to work- I need to see the roots of the words together, in order to tell them apart. <sigh> And why am I finding Labhraionn or Labhraim so hard to spell???? Help, le do thoil...