Very useful; only for this special word I hear no similarity whatsoever between abair.ie's pronunciation (which to me sounds like [coinventen]) and the one now proposed by Duolingo (which sounds like [cohardis]). It's a bit frustrating to start a course without any guidelines about pronunciation. I can try to memorize the spelling but I do not see how I could ever learn to pronounce Gaelic words.
abair.ie offers 5 different pronuncions of comhghairdeas - the first two are Donegal pronunications, and they will often sound distinctly different from the speaker here on Duolingo, and they are often harder to match to the spelling.
The two Connemara examples on abair.ie are usually fairly close to the speaker here on Duolingo, but there is a glitch in the first Connemara rendering - the Connemara HTS rendering of comhghairdeas is the same as the pronunciation that you hear on Duolingo.
Irish pronunciation is typically more regular than English pronunciation - once you learn the system of sounds used you can read Irish out loud reasonably well. There are differences between the dialects, and I wouldn't recommend using the Gaoth Dobhair examples on abair.ie if you're struggling with this. Karen Reshkin's Sounds and Spelling of Irish / Fuaimniú & Litriú na Gaeilge is also a helpful starting point.
We think 'congratulations' is easy to spell, but look at it. I at least pronounce the 't' as 'dj', the 'tion' as 'shun', and the 's' at the end as 'z'. Should be spelled Cungradjulayshunz, but it's not. We're just used to it. I hope I'll get used to Comhghairdeas too someday.
Come now, scilling. English has a number of words that are difficult to spell, because our orthography became standardized relatively early in the seventeenth century and our pronunciation no longer matches the orthography. I would guess that most Irish orthography must reflect a much earlier pronunciation of the language. That is not a bad thing, as it may make it easier for an Irish speaker to learn to read very early texts, but it does make learning how to spell a matter of pure memorization, like learning Chinese characters, rather than a matter of associating a set of letters with a particular sound. I have studied many languages and the only language in which I have had more difficulty remembering how something is written is Japanese, and that only when using kanji.
superluigi13’s question was about spelling any Irish word properly. Many Irish words are not difficult to spell properly; words like cat, pasta, and banana should pose no problem at all. Just as English does, Irish requires an association of its phonemes with its orthography; just as learning the English associations makes it easier to spell English words properly, so too does learning the Irish associations make it easier to spell Irish words properly. And just as English has exceptions to its associations, so too does Irish; those exceptions need to be memorized. (The pre-WWII Irish orthography was closer to the historic forms than the current orthography is; one can see the roots in the older spelling of mairtfheoil more easily than one can with the current spelling mairteoil.)
I suppose it is simply the different sounds associated with particular letters that makes it so difficult. Hungarian, for instance, has a few letters (s, sz, gy, a) that are associated with different sounds from the ones with which English associates them, but there are not nearly so many differences as with Irish. Quite honestly, I found it much easier simply to learn a new alphabet for Russian and Greek.
Yes, it’s the unfamiliar orthography of Irish that’s challenging for anglophones — adjusting to the differing sounds between English and Irish sh and th, mastering the foreign sounds of ch and broad dh / gh, the novelty of eclipsis, and most importantly the all-pervasive influence of the vowels on the sounds of the neighboring consonants (which in many other languages would be represented by diacritics rather than with additional vowels) — all of those together require time and effort to assimilate.
Do you mean "Cleachtadh, Cleachtadh, Cleachtadh!", using "Cleachtadh" as a noun, or " "Cleacht!, Cleacht!, Cleacht!", using "Cleacht!" as an imperative verb?
That's not really a trick question - the statement is ambiguous in (American) English, as "practice" is both a verb and a noun. The verb is spelt "practise" in British English, with the same pronunciation as "practice", so it really isn't obvious when someone says "practice, practice, practice", whether they are using the verb or the noun (it's usually not obvious to the speaker or the listener).
In Irish the noun and the verb take different forms. Does anyone know if this particular quip translates to French or Spanish or German?
this pronunciation totally reminds me of the beginning of that scene in superbad where they're talking about some cool lines a dude took off of a woman's anatomy and the one guy in the back says "that was OH-sum" and it sounds like the other guy says "that was GOR-geous" except he really says "that was. comhghAIRdeas." the second guy is really just congratulating him in irish.
The link given by Skyepotato above sounds a bit more like "co-var-jas." Clearly, there is a great deal of regional variation in Irish pronunciation. I would have thought the fact that so few people are first language Irish speakers now would have produced a more unified, school-driven pronunciation, but those regional pockets of Irish speakers must be quite lively.
Re. school-driven pronunciation, that in itself isn't particularly unified. I had 6 different teachers in primary from different parts of the country each with their own pronunciation, and in secondary I went to gaeltachts both in Galway and in Cork, which probably isn't helping me!