September 10, 2014



So... Irish spelling... not the easiest to determine by ear. Just gonna put that out there. Does anyone have any tips on pronunciation of Irish words, or general rules to help determine pronunciation from spelling and vice versa?


The general rule is that consonants next to slender vowels are pronounced slender, and consonants next to broad vowels are pronounced broad. If the audio here doesn’t distinguish the two types properly, you can try the Pronunciation Database at focloir.ie.


so 'j'is a slender pronunciation of 'd'? maidin is pronounced as "Majan"


English J is not how Irish slender D should be pronounced; English “d’y”, such as in “D’you reckon?”, would be closer. The second vowel of maidin should be unstressed (a “schwa”).


Ó Sé: Complete Irish (Teach yourself), p. 21, says that slender t and d are in some areas pronounced as English ch and j as in cheese and jungle. And I have at the back of my mind that this pronunciation is common in Scottish Gaelic as well. So for me that just adds to the huge dialect diversity of Irish.


pot-ay-to, pot-ah-to. To my ear, there is no difference between the "d'y" that scilling refers to and the "j" that you refer to - the concept of "an English J" makes no sense to me if it's supposed to be different to the sound of "d'y" in "d'you reckon?".

Slender vowels in Munster Irish are far less obvious than in Connacht or Ulster Irish, in general. This even extends to s - you will hear anso for anseo in Munster Irish.


One problem, we were not given this word's pronunciation before having to interpret it! Would be a great help if before you test us on a spoken word, be sure you've given us the pronunciation first.


These are not really tests but lessons and duolingo is set up that way. You will sometimes hear words before you know what they mean just like babies do. If they change the format so that you always see it first, that will change the wonderful randomness that keeps this from becoming boring when reviewing. You could get an extra heart in the lingot store for just such an occasion before you start a lesson. Then after you lose one that you thought you shouldn't have, you can add it back during the lesson. Another option is that you can go to your settings and turn off the sounds for the first time you go through the lesson and you won't be asked to spell a word from the sound of it. Then you can go back and turn the sounds on again. I don't have a microphone, so I turned off that feature and it no longer asks me to pronounce the words. Imagine trying to pronounce a word that you have never heard!


I had the same issue. And I had it earlier in this course too. Maybe something that can still be improved upon? I really like learning Irish :)


Can this be used as a greeting or is it just the translation of the word "morning"?


It's in the "Commonly Used Phrases" so i'd imagine it's like saying "morning!" in English


The NEID doesn’t list plain Maidin! as a translation of the greeting “Morning!”, so it’s likely just a translation of the word “morning”.


Is it because the d is slender that it's palatalized? Or is it a function of the diphthong ai before it?


There is a y sound after the d, due to the effects of slender vowels upon their consonants. The slender vowels are e and i, and when they come into contact with a consonant, as in this case, they cause a palatalizing effect (like merging a y with the consonant.


Does this have anything to do with the Celtic/Gaelic goddess/deity 'Móra' ?


Nothing. It's distantly related to the word 'matin' in French, via the Latin word 'mātūtīnus', meaning 'morning'.

[deactivated user]

    Thanks for that. I heard today that a lot of religion related words do come from Latin. I am curious as about to what extent latin influenced the Irish vocabulary elsewhere. Can you help?


    By saying this do you mean "good morning" or is it just the noun "morning"?


    See the answers to sloanabi’s question above.

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