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Lenition will be the death of me

Forgive a n00b for ranting for a moment, but...

And there I thought I was being all smart, I got the grammar in the right order and boom; didn't lenit the word. I am being patient and I believe lenition will eventually click and I will understand it, but I must admit that lenition frustrates me the most about this new language.

I am certain it will eventually click. I am an optimist. But for the now, it is a tad frustrating.

July 6, 2015



I suggest reading through this. It might help it make some more sense, both historically and grammatically.


I see it less as lenition itself being hard--you just add an "h"--but there are just so many cases that need to be remembered. I've made a separate set of flashcards for when lenition or eclipsis apply, and it's helped a lot.

I'd start with one of the easy cases and work from there: "mo" and "do" cause lenition, and "a" causes lenition when it means "he". Then you can work up to the more complex cases, e.g. after some prepositions and definite feminine nouns. Along the way you'll have to learn some other stuff, like the case system and declensions, but they're things you're going to have to learn even if it weren't for lenition.

What I find really tricky is remembering the DeNTaL-DoTS rule, which has been relatively rare across the curriculum. Even worse is the edge case of an edge case is "sa", which follows DeNTaL-DoTS for historical reasons even though it looks like it shouldn't.

This is all orthogonal from pronunciation, but that's another problem that can be handled independently.


Even worse is the edge case of an edge case is "sa", which follows DeNTaL-DoTS for historical reasons

Not that it's not completely historical. There are still quite a few dialects that do use ins an and ins na instead of sa(n) and sna

Oooor, you could just avoid the problem all together and take the sensible Connemara path of eclipsing after sa.


Fair enough: perhaps it's only "historical" in the standardized form. And that would simplify things, but I'm still going to stick to the standard for now; otherwise, I suspect I'm going to end up with a hodgepodge idiolect. (Not that the standard isn't a bit of a hodgepodge, but at least it's a well known one.) Maybe later when I'm more comfortable with the differences. It's not like mutual intelligibility is an issue, right?


> It's not like mutual intelligibility is an issue, right?

Not entirely. It's can sometimes be an issue for someone who only knows the standard listening to a dialect that uses some non-standard stuff (take, for example, the possible Munster sentence Ritheas ins an pháirc), but generally the dialectal speaker will understand someone speaking the standard.


I think I am going to have to print out the eclip/lenit pages and post them up on my wall. Today, 50% of my wrong responses were due to not modifying when I should, and modifying when I should not have.


It really does start to make sense and even feel a little intuitive after a while. Although I keep on finding whenever I'm comfortable with something, there's a new curve ball this language throws me. :D

If you're a visual person, it might make sense to highlight the words/contexts that lenit with one color and those that eclipse with another. (And throw in a few cases that don't do either! Sometimes I hypercorrect..)


I found it helpful to write out all of the rules in a little notebook.


I gave up on it. I may return later, but I needed a break from it!


I'm finding the following to be helpful as a quick overview of various aspects of Irish grammar: http://cryptm.org/~nort/linguistics/Irish%20Grammar%20-%20A%20Basic%20Handbook.pdf

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