Question: The audio here sounds like the 'S' is slender, even though it's not directly next to the slender é. I notice the same thing in the word 'Sráid' (which is even next to a broad vowel).
Is there some rule I'm missing out here or is it just a quirk of pronunciation?
The broad/slender distinction is based on the closest vowel. sráidh should be pronounced with a broad s and stéig with a slender one.
Speaking of this, I've heard the name of "An Spidéal" (a well-known Gaeltacht village) pronounced with a broad "s". Why is that?
My gut tells me it's because the slender vowel is still the closest one to the S. But that doesn't explain your second example, so I dunno.
All consonants in a consonant cluster will be slender or broad together. The t is slender, so the s must be too.
Sráid has a broad s, but speakers who haven't mastered Irish phonology tend to say it like a slender s here, presumably because "sr.." is not a possible syllable onset in English, but "shr..." is.
To be fair, the "sr" combination is pronounced as slender by native speakers as well. Carna is a place that instantly comes to mind.
I've noticed in recent years a tendency for English speakers (including many younger people) to use the sh pronunciation in words where a consonant comes second. Stop becomes shtop, Stink becomes shtink and so forth. German got there years ago, with Strasse pronounced [shtrassa] and Stein pronounced [shtine]. I suspect it is a natural progression in language. The only thing that will stop it happening in Irish is the broad/slender distinction, but as others have noted, even this is not guaranteed..
It is truly pathetic, but I am still making the rookie mistake of translating 'an' as an indefinite article. I use it correctly in speech though. I take it I will get out of that habit the more I practice. Anyone else have this problem?
not really... it's the same in Breton and I find that languages that only have one type of articles usually have definite ones (Icelandic f.e.)
Wouldn't the 't' be pronounced slender as well though? I heard a broad 't'. :/
Those "rules" for pronunciation that you've been reading? They aren't rules, they're guidelines. In a case like this, the sibilance of the slender "s" is likely to mask the slenderness of the "t" anyway, but you can listen to other examples of "stéig" on teanglann.ie (http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/st%c3%a9ig) as well as other words starting with "téi" and "st" for comparison.