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IN THREE PARTS.
AN ORIGINAL AND COMPREHENSIVE GRAMMAR.
FAMILIAR PHRASES AND DIALOGUES.
EXTRACTS FROM IRISH BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS, IN THE ORIGINAL
IN IRISH THERE ARE SEVENTEEN LETTERS:
SOUND, (1) deepage !!!
A 1 long, as a in bar,
2 short, as a in hat,
3 obscure, as a in negative (2)
C 1 before e or 1, as k in king,
2 before 4, o or u, as c in call,
Tan, come thou.
D1 thick, before 4, 0, or u, this sound) Dán, a poem.
is not found in English, (3)
2 liquid, before e
or 1, as d in
1 long as ea in great,
F1 as fin fan,
1 before e or 1, as g in get,
2 before 4, 0, or u, as g in gun,
1 long, as ie in field,
μż, a king.
lin mall, slow.
2 double, this sound is not found in
buille, a blow.
ceañ, a head
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 à consonant, it is denoted by a point placed over it; thus,
b, ċ, ỏ, †, Ż, m, p, †, ¿, denote
bh, ch, dh, fh, gh, mh, ph, sh, th, (9)
The letters are classed as follows:
3 capable of aspiration, or mutables, (11)
A, 6, and ú, are called broad vowels, because they require a hiatus, or wide opening of the mouth, in expressing them; e and 1 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 searim, I stand; buailim, not buajlam, I beat; lam, hand, and geal, white, compounded lajmġeal, not laṁżeal, 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, r, 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 end of a word; as, mo bar, my death; ljb, 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 chean, my head.
Dh and gh, 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 już, my voice; grad, love; maż, a field, (12)