Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


P S t


pening of the

"); por sie 3: Ç d g capable of aspiration, or niütables, (11) 1 n Sincapable of aspiration, or immutables.

VOWELS. A, 0, and u are called broad vowels, because they require a hiatus, or wide opening of the mouth, in expressing them; é and i are called mouth.

The poets, in latter ages, devised a rule, wliich -prescribes that the vowel, which goes before à 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 laimseal, not lamģeal, white handed.

Although it is evident, from ancient manuscripts, that this rule was unknown in early times, B 2


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 end of 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 gh, before or after a small vowel, like y; as, mo dia, my god; mo ġiolla, 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; mas, 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 tiġ, my house. But s, before I, 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 iniddle, or at the end of words; as, barr, a top; ceannaigim, to buy.

It is to be observed, that dl and ln, in the mid-, dle of words, are sounded like ll; as, codlad, sleep; colna, flesh, pronounce collad, colla; and dn like nn; as, ceadna, the same, pronounce



There are thirteen diphthongs; viz.

Example ae long, as ai in pain, lae, of a day ai long and distinct, cáin, a fine

short, as i in fight, mait, good ao long, nearly as oo in fool, maol, bold ea long, as ea in bear,

méar, a finger short, as ea in heart, ceart, just ei long, as ei in reign, déirc, charity short, as e in ferry,

gcir, tallow eo long, as aw in shawl, seól, a sail

short, as o in shock, deoch, a drink eu long, as a in fare, ia long, as ea in clear,

ciall, sense io long, as ie in cashier, fíon, wine

short, as io in fashion, biolar, water cresses iu long, as u in fime, ciúnas, quietness

short, as i in shirt, fliuch, wet oi long, force on the o, cóir, right

short, force on the i, coir, a crime ua long, distinct,

gual, coal


feur, grass

súil, an eye


Example ui long, force on the u,

short, force on the i, fuil, blood


· There are five 'triphthongs, which are always long;. viz. Sound

Example aoi nearly as we,

maoin, treasure eoi force on o,

feoil, flesh iai force on both the i's, liaiġ, a physician iui force on the u,

ciuin, gentle uai distinct,

cruaid, hard


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 I or r; as also s, followed by n, may be eclipsed thus:



b m, ar mbaile, our town

8, ar gceart, our right d

n, ar ndia, our God
b, ar bfearran, our land

1, ar ngearan, our complaint P b, ar bpéin, our punishment

t, an tslat, the rod

d, ar dteinė, 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.


is eclipsed by

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a day, tu, thou."

Instead of bf, the ancients frequently wrote ft; as, ar ffearran, our land; icc, instead of ge; as, ar cceart, our right; and tt, instead of dt; as, ar tteine, jour fire; and these words are pronomced in the same, manner, as if written ar bfearran, ari gceart, and ar, dteine.

ACCENT. An accent is placed over such vowels and diplthongs, as are naturally either long or short

, when to be pronounced tong; as, mac, a son, short; bds, death, long; fios, knowledge, short; cíos, rent, long:

Monosyllables ending in a, e, ' ?, u, being commonly long, require no accent over them; as, la,

In words of two or more syllables, the accent commonly falls on the first syllable; as, déiğionać, last, múčaim, to extinguish.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In reading Irish, every letter, except f and s before 1 or r must be sounded. But some of the aspirated consonants are so slightly expressed as to be almost imperceptible; the reason of which is as follows.

According to the principle of the language, no number of yowels, meeting in a word, forms more than one syllable. : : ,.

The poets, however, frequently wanting to lengthen words, by multiplying their syllables, devised the method of throwing in an adventitious consonant, generally d or ġ, to divide two vowels into two syllables; thụs, tiarna, & lord, which consists of only two syllables, is divided into tiġearna, of three syllables.

Now, as this manner of spelling was unknown in earlier the primitive pronunciation is still


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »