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Slender 'S' at the beginning of words?

I just wanted to start a thread to share a question I have. Is there a rule I'm missing regarding the letter 'S' being pronounced slender at the start of words, or is it just a quirk of the language?

For example, words like 'Stéig', 'Sciorta' and 'Sráid'. In the case of the first two the nearest vowel is slender, but 'Sráid' seems to be most commonly pronounced as 'Shráid' even though it has a broad vowel.

If anyone can clear this up for me, I'd be very grateful. :)

Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

August 30, 2014



Judging by this pronounciation of Sráid Uí Chonaill (O'Connell Street) on Forvo http://www.forvo.com/word/sr%C3%A1id_u%C3%AD_chonaill/#ga, it would appear that the audio is wrong, there should be a broad S at the beginning of "Sráid".


Hmm, I've definitely heard it pronounced 'Shráid' outside of duolingo. Perhaps it's a dialectical thing then.

Go raibh maith agat ar an freagra!


I'm no expert, I've always heard "srón" pronounced as "shrone", so "sráid" could be similar.


For a comprehensive discussion of the phonology underlying the examples you have cited, among others, please see the Word-initial consonant clusters section of the Irish phonology article on Wikipedia. In conjunction with that, Abair.ie is an excellent resource, which I personally recommend, if you require a good aural guide to pronunciation.

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