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L 1 single, as l in ale,
M 1 as m in man,
N 1 single, as n in now,
2 double, this sound is not
3 liquid, as n in new,
O 1 long, as o in more,
2 long and broad, as o in lord,
· P 1 as p in pin,
R1 single, this sound is not? found in English, (6)
2 double, as r in fur,
·S 1 thick, this sound is not? found in English, (7). S
2 as sh in shield,
T 1 thick, before a, o, or u,
Example mil, honey
buille, a blow
ceann, a head
gob, a beak
poll, a pit
barr, the top
this sound is not found tart, thirst
in English, (8)
2 liquid, before e or i, as t
N. B. H; as no Irish word begins radically with this letter, it is considered only as a mark of aspiration; and when affixed to a consonant, it is denoted by a point placed over it; thus,
b, c, d, f, g, m, p, s, t, denote bh, ch, dh, fh, gh, mh, ph, sh, th, (9)
The letters are classed as follows:
g capable of aspiration, or mutables, (11)
A, o, and u are called broad vowels, because they require require a hiatus, or wide opening of the mouth, in expressing them; e and i are called small, because they require a less opening of the mouth.
The poets, in latter ages, devised a rule, which prescribes that the vowel, which goes before a consonant, must be of the same class with the vowel which follows that consonant, i. e. both broad, or both small. In observing this rule, therefore, attention must be paid to the vowel which follows the consonant; for, if it be broad, while that which radically goes before the consonant is small, or vice versa, then the vowel preceding the consonant must be left out, and another substituted in its place, of the same class with that following the consonant; or an adventitious vowel must be inserted, after the preceding one, to agree with the subsequent; as, seasam, not seisam, or seasim, I stand; buailim, not buailam, I beat; lam, hand, and geal, white, compounded laimġeal, not langeal, white handed.
Although it is evident, from ancient manuscripts, that this rule was unknown in early times,
yet it has been so universally observed in latter ages, that it is impossible to lay it aside entirely. In many instances, it adds to the sweetness and, fulness of the sound; but, in others, it so completely destroys the radical form of words, that no principle of grammar can justify a rigid adherence to it.
B, c, d, f, g, m, p, s, t, are called mutable, because they can be aspirated, or mortified, i. e. change or lose their sound, by the addition of h.
As the sounds of the mutable consonants, when aspirated, differ materially from those which they receive, when simple; and as a peculiar delicacy of pronunciation consists in expressing them with propriety, it is necessary to pay strict attention to the following rules.
Bh is sounded like v, at the beginning or endof a word; as mo bas, my death; lib, with you. But in the middle of a word, it is commonly sounded like w, as, leabar, a book.
Ch is always sounded like x in Greek, or ch in loch; as, mo ceann, my head.
Dh and gl, before or after a small vowel, like y; as, mo dia, my god; mo giolla, my boy. But before or after a broad vowel, they have a very weak guttural sound, somewhat stronger than that of w; as, mo gut, my voice; grad, love; mag, a field, (12)
Fh is entirely mute; as, an fairge, pronounce, an airge, the sea.
Mh is sounded like b; as, snam, swimming; amuil, like.
Ph is sounded, as in other languages, like ph in philosopher; as, mo páiste, my child.
Sh, and th are sounded as h alone; as, mo sùil, my eye; mo tig, my house. But s, before 1, n,
or r, is entirely mute; as, mo sláinte, my health; mo snuad, my countenance; mo sron, my nose.
L, n, r, are called immutable, because they never change, or lose their sound, by the addition of h. But they alone can be doubled in the middle, or at the end of words; as, barr, a top; ceannaigim, to buy.
It is to be observed, that dl and In, in the middle of words, are sounded like ; as, codlad, sleep; colna, flesh, pronounce collad, colla; and dn like nn; as, ceadna, the same, pronounce
i lae, of a day
ai long and distinct,
short, as i in fight,
ao long, nearly as oo in fool, ea long, as ea in bear,
short, as ea in heart, ei long, as ei in reign,
short, as e in ferry, eo long, as aw in shawl, short, as o in shock, eu long, as a in fare, ia long, as ea in clear, io long, as ie in cashier, short, as io in fashion, iu long, as u in fume, short, as i in shirt, oi long, force on the 9, short, force on the i,
ua long, distinct,
cáin, a fine
biolar, water cresses
In the inflexion and combination of words, certain consonants are frequently prefixed to others, with which they cannot be sounded; and the adventitious consonant is then said to eclipse the radical one; viz. b, c, d, f, g, m, p, s, t, when beginning a word, and followed by a vowel, or by l or r; as also s, followed by n, may be eclipsed thus:
m, ar mbaile, our town
d, ar dteine, our fire
In pronouncing these eclipses, the first consonant only is sounded; as, ar maile, ar geart, &c. Except ng in which both letters are uttered, with a strong guttural expression.