May 1, 2016: With the new voice, I'm finding it very difficult to hear the beginning of "príomchathair" as a /p/ or /pr/ sound. It sounds more like a /ch/ sound to me (as in the English "chief".) I've listened a few times, even knowing it's "príomhchathair". Does anyone else hear it this way?
I agree, the new voice is very difficult to understand. Also, why wouldn't there be a definite article "an" before "príomhchathair"?
It's because of the genitive. If there's the possibility of two definite articles in a phrase that includes genitive, one has to go, and that's the one without the genitive. Country names (most? all?) take a definite article, so "an Fhrainc" for France. "Paris is the capital" would be, "Is é Páras an phríomhchathair," but "Paris is the capital of France" is "Is é Páras príomhchathair na Fraince."
It did sound like a 'ch' to me . It also sounded quite a bit like the Ulster pronunciation on the Focloir site: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/pr%c3%adomhchathair . Guess its just the slender r sound.
The Ulster pronunciation pronounces the mh in príomh as an "uw" sound - it's the only one on teanglann.ie that doesn't sound like the exercise here.
The p in príomhchathair is pretty indistinct in this recording, but it genuinely wouldn't cause much of a problem in regular speech, because it really couldn't be anything else except a p. That's not much of an excuse in a learning exercise, and absolutely no help to learners, but in real life your brain smooths over issues like this all the time, it just isn't used to doing it for the new language that you are learning (that comes with more practice). Because there is so much natural variability in the human voice, you really shouldn't get hung up on small inconsistencies. If every time you encountered a "p" in the text you heard a "ch", then you'd have to figure out how to deal with that, but when you come across what seems to be an unexplained glitch, you should just move on, rather than wasting too much energy on it.
Not that I know of. The second é is usually referring to the subject, but here it doesn't need to since both the subject and the predicate are already taken care of.
Honestly the voice messed me up on this one. I know the word príomhchathair but was conviced by how badly she pronounced it that they must be using some new word like "Chief chathair" that Duolingo decided to use instead. I've listened to it a few times and still can't gear príomhchathair