Irish orthography

Summary

The orthography of the Irish language has evolved over many centuries and is etymological, which can allow the same written form to result in multiple pronunciations, depending on dialect, e.g. dearthár ("brother" in gen. singular) may result in [dʲɾʲəˈhaːɾˠ], [ˈdʲɾʲɑːhərˠ], [ˈdʲɾʲɑːɾˠ], [ˈdʲɾʲiçaːɾˠ], [ˈdʲaɾˠhaɾˠ], [ˈdʲæːɾˠhaɾˠ], [ˈdʲæːɾˠhəɾˠ]. A spelling reform in the mid-20th century strengthened grapheme to phoneme correspondence by eliminating letters unpronounced in any dialect. The standard written form, An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, is used by the Government of Ireland.

Irish has three main dialects: Ulster, Connacht and Munster. Most spelling conventions are the same in all three, while some vary from dialect to dialect and individual words may have dialectal pronunciations that are not reflected by their spelling. The pronunciation in this page reflects Connacht Irish; other dialects may occasionally differ and are sometimes included.

AlphabetEdit

 
The traditional Irish alphabet carved on the National Archives of Ireland building in Dublin, with each type of diacritic (síneadh fada and ponc séimhithe) as well as the Tironian et.

The traditional Irish alphabet (Irish: áibítir, formerly Beith Luis Nuin from the first three letters of the Ogham alphabet) consists of 18 letters, ⟨a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u⟩. It does not contain, ⟨j, k, q, v, w, x, y, z⟩. Vowels may be accented with an acute accent (Irish and Hiberno-English: (síneadh) fada "long (sign)", agúid when referring to use in other languages), ⟨á, é, í, ó, ú⟩, but it is ignored for purposes of alphabetisation.[1]

Modern loanwords use ⟨j, k, q, v, w, x, y, z⟩. ⟨v⟩ being the most common occurring in a small number of native words such as vácarnach, vác and vrác (all onomatopoeic) and in a number of alternative colloquial forms such as víog for bíog and vís for bís.[2] It is also the only non-traditional letter used to write foreign names and words adapted to Irish, for example An Eilvéis (also An Eilbhéis) "Switzerland (Helvetia)". ⟨j, k, q, v, w, x, y, z⟩ are used primarily in scientific terminology or unaltered loanwords, although ⟨zs⟩ (capitalized ⟨zS⟩) occurs in the dialect of West Muskerry as the eclipsis of ⟨s⟩.[3] ⟨h⟩, when not prefixed to an initial vowel to show aspiration or after a consonant to show lenition, occurs primarily in loanwords as an initial consonant, for example hata "hat". ⟨k⟩ is the only letter not listed by Ó Dónaill.

Letter namesEdit

Tree names were once popularly used to name the letters. Tradition taught that they all derived from the names of Ogham letters, though it is now known that only some of the earliest Ogham letters were named after trees.

Letter Name

[4]

Name

(IPA)

Tree Name (Bríatharogam) Notes
Aa á [5] [aː] ailm (pine)
Bb [bʲeː] beith (birch)
Cc [ceː] coll (hazel)
Dd [dʲeː] dair (oak)
Ee é [5] [eː] eadhadh (poplar) Spelled edad in Old Irish
Ff eif [ɛfʲ] fearn (alder) Spelled fern in Old Irish
Gg [ɟeː] gort (ivy)
Hh héis [heːʃ] uath (hawthorn)
Ii í [5] [iː] iodhadh (yew) Spelled idad in Old Irish
Jj [dʒeː]
Kk [kaː]
Ll eil [ɛlʲ] luis (rowan)
Mm eim [ɛmʲ] muin (vine)
Nn ein [ɛnʲ] nion (ash) Spelled nin in Old Irish
Oo ó [5] [oː] onn (gorse)
Pp [pʲeː] peith (dwarf alder)
Qq [kuː]
Rr ear [ɛɾˠ] ruis (elder)
Ss eas [ɛsˠ] sail (willow)
Tt [tʲeː] tinne (holly)
Uu ú [5] [uː] úr (heather)
Vv [vʲeː]
Ww wae [weː]
Xx eacs [ɛksˠ]
Yy [jeː]
Zz zae [zeː]

Irish scripts and typefacesEdit

 
Gaelic type with Roman type equivalents and the additional lenited letters.

Ogham was the writing system used to write Primitive Irish and Old Irish until Latin script was introduced in the 8th century CE.[6] Gaelic type was the main typeface used to write Irish until the mid-20th century; Roman type is now dominant. The use of Gaelic type today is restricted to decorative or self-consciously traditional contexts. The dot above a lenited letter in Gaelic type is usually replaced by a following ⟨h⟩ in Roman type (e.g. ⟨ċ⟩ → ⟨ch⟩).

Although Gaelic type remained in common use until the mid-20th century, efforts to introduce Roman type began much earlier. Theobald Stapleton's 1639 catechism was printed in Roman type, and introduced simplified spellings such as suí for suidhe and uafás for uathbhás, though these did not become standard for another 300 years.

ConsonantsEdit

The consonant letters generally correspond to the consonant phonemes as shown in this table. See Irish phonology for an explanation of the symbols used and Irish initial mutations for an explanation of eclipsis. In most cases, consonants are "broad" (velarised) when the nearest vowel letter is one of ⟨a, o, u⟩ and "slender" (palatalised) when the nearest vowel letter is one of ⟨e, i⟩.

Letter(s) Phoneme(s) Examples
b broad /bˠ/ bain /bˠanʲ/ "take" (imper.), scuab /sˠkuəbˠ/ "broom"
slender /bʲ/ béal /bʲeːl̪ˠ/ "mouth", cnáib /kn̪ˠaːbʲ/ "hemp"
bh broad /w/ bhain /wanʲ/ "took", ábhar /ˈaːwəɾˠ/ "material", Bhairbre /ˈwaɾʲəbʲɾʲə/ "Barbara" (genitive), tábhachtach /ˈt̪ˠaːwəxt̪ˠəx/ "important", dubhaigh /ˈd̪ˠʊwiː/ "blacken" (imper.), scríobh /ʃcrʲiːw/ "wrote", taobh /t̪ˠiːw/ "side", dubh /d̪ˠʊw/ "black", gabh /ɡaw/ "get" (imper.)
slender /vʲ/ bhéal /vʲeːl̪ˠ/ "mouth" (lenited), cuibhreann /ˈkɪvʲɾʲən̪ˠ/ "common table", aibhneacha /ˈavʲnʲəxə/ "rivers", sibh /ʃɪvʲ/ "you" (pl.)
See vowel chart for ⟨abh, obh⟩
bhf
(eclipsis of ⟨f⟩-)
broad /w/ bhfuinneog /ˈwɪnʲoːɡ/ "window" (eclipsed)
slender /vʲ/ bhfíon /vʲiːn̪ˠ/ "wine" (eclipsed)
bp
(eclipsis of ⟨p⟩-)
broad /bˠ/ bpoll /bˠoːl̪ˠ/ "hole" (eclipsed)
slender /bʲ/ bpríosún /ˈbʲɾʲiːsˠuːn̪ˠ/ "prison" (eclipsed)
c broad /k/ cáis /kaːʃ/ "cheese", mac /mˠak/ "son"
slender /c/ ceist /cɛʃtʲ/ "question", mic /mʲɪc/ "sons"
ch broad
(always broad before ⟨t⟩)
/x/ cháis /xaːʃ/ "cheese" (lenited), taoiseach /ˈt̪ˠiːʃəx/ "chieftain" (also the term for the Prime Minister of Ireland), boichte /bˠɔxtʲə/ "poorer"
slender /ç/;
/h/ between vowels
cheist /çɛʃtʲ/ "question" (lenited), deich /dʲɛç/ "ten"
oíche /ˈiːhə/ "night"
d broad /d̪ˠ/ dorn /d̪ˠoːɾˠn̪ˠ/ "fist", nead /nʲad̪ˠ/ "nest"
slender /dʲ/; /dʑ/ in northern dialects dearg /dʲaɾˠəɡ/ "red", cuid /kɪdʲ/ "part"
dh broad /ɣ/ word-initially;
silent after a long vowel
dhorn /ɣoːɾˠn̪ˠ/ "fist" (lenited)
ádh /aː/ "luck"
slender /ʝ/ dhearg /ˈʝaɾˠəɡ/ "red" (lenited), fáidh /fˠaːʝ/ "prophet"
See vowel chart for ⟨adh, aidh, eadh, eidh, idh, oidh, odh⟩. See Special pronunciations in verb forms for -⟨dh⟩ at the end of verbs.
dt
(eclipsis of ⟨t⟩-)
broad /d̪ˠ/ dtaisce /ˈd̪ˠaʃcə/ "treasure" (eclipsed)
slender /dʲ/; /dʑ/ in northern dialects dtír /dʲiːɾʲ/ "country" (eclipsed)
f broad /fˠ/ fós /fˠoːsˠ/ "still", graf /ɡɾˠafˠ/ "graph"
slender /fʲ/ fíon /fʲiːn̪ˠ/ "wine", stuif /sˠt̪ˠɪfʲ/ "stuff"
often /h/ in féin /h/ féin /heːnʲ/ "-self"
See Special pronunciations in verb forms for -⟨dh⟩- in future and conditional tenses
fh silent fhuinneog /ˈɪnʲoːɡ/ "window" (lenited), fhíon /iːn̪ˠ/ "wine" (lenited)
g broad /ɡ/ gasúr /ˈɡasˠuːɾˠ/ "boy", bog /bˠɔɡ/ "soft"
slender /ɟ/ geata /ˈɟat̪ˠə/ "gate", carraig /ˈkaɾˠəɟ/ "rock"
gc
(eclipsis of ⟨c⟩-)
broad /ɡ/ gcáis /ɡaːʃ/ "cheese" (eclipsed)
slender /ɟ/ gceist /ɟɛʃtʲ/ "question" (eclipsed)
gh broad /ɣ/ word-initially;
silent after a long vowel
ghasúr /ˈɣasˠuːɾˠ/ "boy" (lenited)
Eoghan /ˈoːən̪ˠ/ (male name)
slender /ʝ/ gheata /ˈʝat̪ˠə/ "gate" (lenited), dóigh /d̪ˠoːʝ/ "way, manner"
See vowel chart for ⟨agh, aigh, eagh, eigh, igh, ogh, oigh⟩. See Special pronunciations in verb forms for -⟨(a)igh ⟩ at the end of verbs.
h /h/ hata /ˈhat̪ˠə/ "hat", na héisc /nə heːʃc/ "the fish" (plural)
l broad /l/; also frequently /l̪ˠ/ luí /l̪ˠiː/ "lying (down)"
slender /lʲ/ leisciúil /ˈlʲɛʃcuːlʲ/ "lazy"
ll broad /l̪ˠ/ poll /poːl̪ˠ/ "hole"
slender /l̪ʲ/; also frequently /lʲ/ coill /kəil̪ʲ/ "woods"
m broad /mˠ/ mór /mˠoːɾˠ/ "big", am /aːmˠ/ "time"
slender /mʲ/ milis /ˈmʲɪlʲəʃ/ "sweet", im /iːmʲ/ "butter"
mb
(eclipsis of ⟨b⟩-)
broad /mˠ/ mbaineann /ˈmˠanʲən̪ˠ/ "takes" (eclipsed)
slender /mʲ/ mbéal /mʲeːl̪ˠ/ "mouth" (eclipsed)
mh broad /w/ mhór /woːɾˠ/ "big" (lenited), lámha /ˈl̪ˠaːwə/ "hands", léamh /lʲeːw/ "reading"
slender /vʲ/ mhilis /ˈvʲɪlʲəʃ/ "sweet" (lenited), uimhir /ˈɪvʲəɾʲ/ "number", nimh /nʲɪvʲ/ "poison"
See vowel chart for ⟨amh, omh, umh ⟩
n broad /nˠ/; also frequently /n̪ˠ/ naoi /n̪ˠiː/ "nine"
slender /nʲ/ neart /nʲaɾˠt̪ˠ/ "strength", tinneas /ˈtʲɪnʲəsˠ/ "illness"
nc broad /ŋk/ ancaire /ˈaŋkəɾʲə/ "anchor"
slender /ɲc/ rinc /ɾˠɪɲc/ "dance"
nd
(eclipsis of ⟨d⟩-)
broad /nˠ/; also frequently /n̪ˠ/ ndorn /nˠoːɾˠnˠ/ "fist" (eclipsed)
slender /nʲ/ ndearg /ˈnʲaɾˠəɡ/ "red" (eclipsed)
ng broad /ŋ/ word-initially (eclipsis of ⟨g⟩-)
/ŋɡ/ word-internally and finally
ngasúr /ˈŋasˠuːɾˠ/ "boy" (eclipsed)
long /l̪ˠuːŋɡ/ "ship", teanga /ˈtʲaŋɡə/ "tongue"
slender /ɲ/ word-initially (eclipsis of ⟨g⟩-)
/ɲɟ/ word-internally and finally
ngeata /ˈɲat̪ˠə/ "gate" (eclipsed)
cuing /kɪɲɟ/ "yoke", ingear /ˈɪɲɟəɾˠ/ "vertical"
/nʲ/ in final unstressed -⟨ing⟩ scilling /ˈʃcilʲənʲ/ "shilling"
nn broad /n̪ˠ/ ceann /caːn̪ˠ/ "head"
slender /n̪ʲ/; also frequently /nʲ/
p broad /pˠ/ poll /pˠoːl̪ˠ/ "hole", stop /sˠt̪ˠɔpˠ/ "stop"
slender /pʲ/ príosún /ˈpʲɾʲiːsˠuːn̪ˠ/ "prison", truip /t̪ˠɾˠɪpʲ/ "trip"
ph broad /fˠ/ pholl /fˠoːl̪ˠ/ "hole" (lenited)
slender /fʲ/ phríosún /ˈfʲɾʲiːsˠuːn̪ˠ/ "prison" (lenited)
r broad
(always broad word-initially, except in Munster when in lenited forms; always broad in ⟨rd, rl, rn, rr, rs, rt, rth, sr⟩)
/ɾˠ/ /ɾˠiː/ "king", cuairt /kuəɾˠtʲ/ "visit", oirthear /ˈɔɾˠhəɾˠ/ "east", airde /aːɾˠdʲə/ "height", coirnéal /ˈkoːɾˠnʲeːl̪ˠ/ "corner", carr /kaːɾˠ/ "car, cart", duirling /ˈd̪ˠuːɾˠlʲənʲ/ "stony beach", sreang /sˠɾˠaŋɡ/ "string"
slender /ɾʲ/ tirim /ˈtʲɪɾʲəmʲ/ "dry"
rh (rare, lenited slender ⟨r⟩ in Munster) slender /ɾʲ/ rhí /ɾʲiː/ "king" (lenited, Munster)
s broad
(always broad word-initially before ⟨f, m, p, r⟩)
/sˠ/ Sasana /ˈsˠasˠən̪ˠə/ "England", tús /t̪ˠuːsˠ/ "beginning", sféar /sˠfʲeːɾˠ/ "sphere", speal /sˠpʲal̪ˠ/ "scythe", sméar /sˠmʲeːɾˠ/ "blackberry", sreang /sˠɾˠaŋɡ/ "string"
slender /ʃ/; /ɕ/ in northern dialects sean /ʃan̪ˠ/ "old", cáis /kaːʃ/ "cheese"
sh broad /h/ Shasana /ˈhasˠən̪ˠə/ "England" (lenited)
slender /h/
/ç/ before /aː, oː, uː/, usually from lenition
shean /han̪ˠ/ "old" (lenited)
Sheáin /çaːnʲ/ "John" (genitive), sheol /çoːl̪ˠ/ "sailed", shiúil /çuːlʲ/ "walked", shiopa /ˈçʊpˠə/ "shop" (lenited)
t broad /t̪ˠ/ taisce /ˈt̪ˠaʃcə/ "treasure", ceart /caɾˠt̪ˠ/ "correct"
slender /tʲ/ tír /tʲiːɾʲ/ "country", beirt /bʲɛɾˠtʲ/ "two (people)"
See Special pronunciations in verb forms for -⟨t⟩- in verbal adjectives
th broad /h/ thaisce /ˈhaʃcə/ "treasure" (lenited), athair /ˈahəɾʲ/ "father"
slender /h/
/ç/ before /aː-, oː-, uː-/, usually from lenition
theanga /ˈhaŋɡə/ "tongue" (lenited)
theann /çaːn̪ˠ/ "tight" (lenited), theocht /çoːxt̪ˠ/ "heat" (lenited), thiúilip /ˈçuːlʲəpʲ/ "tulip" (lenited), thiocfadh /ˈçʊkəx/ "would come", thiubh /çʊw/ "thick" (lenited)
Silent at the end of a syllable bláth /bˠl̪ˠaː/ "blossom", cith /cɪ/ "shower", cothrom /ˈkɔɾˠəmˠ/ "equal"
See Special pronunciations in verb forms for -⟨th⟩- in verbal adjectives
ts
(special lenition of ⟨s⟩- after an "the")
broad /t̪ˠ/ an tsolais /ən̪ˠ ˈt̪ˠɔl̪ˠəʃ/ "of the light"
slender /tʲ/; /tɕ/ in northern dialects an tSín /ənʲ tʲiːnʲ/ "China"
v (loan consonant) broad /w/ vóta /ˈwoːt̪ˠə/ "vote"
slender /vʲ/ veidhlín /ˈvʲəilʲiːnʲ/ "violin"
z (loan consonant) broad /zˠ/ /zˠuː/ "zoo"
slender /ʒ/; /ʑ/ in northern dialects Zen /ʒɛnʲ/ "Zen"
zs (rare, eclipsis of ⟨s⟩-) broad /zˠ/ zsolas /zˠɔl̪ˠəsˠ/ "light" (eclipsed)
slender /ʒ/ zsean /ʒan̪ˠ/ "old" (eclipsed)

VowelsEdit

Sequences of vowels are common in Irish spelling due to the "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan" ("slender with slender and broad with broad") rule. This rule states that the vowels on either side of any consonant must be both slender (⟨e, i⟩) or both broad (⟨a, o, u⟩), to unambiguously determine the consonant's own broad vs. slender pronunciation. An apparent exception is the combination ⟨ae⟩, which is followed by a broad consonant despite the ⟨e⟩.

Pronunciation of vowels in Irish is mostly predictable from a few simple rules:

  • Vowels with fada (⟨á, é, í, ó, ú⟩) are always pronounced.
  • Vowels on either side of a fada (except for other fada vowels) are usually unpronounced, there are several exceptions. Their presence is almost always necessary to simply satisfy the "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan" rule. These letters are not entirely silent, however. The fada vowel and the adjacent consonant require the tongue body to be in different positions, and these letters capture the transient sound produced while it is moving from one position to the other.
  • Between a consonant and a broad vowel, ⟨e, i⟩ are usually non-phonemic in the same way. This applies to:
    • The ⟨e⟩ in fear, bean, leabhar, seomra
    • The ⟨i⟩ in cailín, uncail, abhainn, aimsir, bainne, cois, fliuch
    • But the ⟨o⟩ in troim, roimh, fios, iolar, not the ⟨i⟩
  • ⟨io, oi, ui⟩ have multiple pronunciations that depend on adjacent consonants.

The following series of charts indicates how written vowels are generally pronounced. Each dialect has certain divergences from this general scheme, and may also pronounce some words in a way that does not agree with standard orthography.

Simple vowelsEdit

Unstressed vowels are generally reduced to schwa (/ə/).

Letter(s) Phoneme Examples
a stressed /a/ fan /fˠan̪ˠ/ "stay" (imper.)
/aː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩, syllable-final ⟨ll, nn, rr⟩ or word-final ⟨m⟩ tarlú /ˈt̪ˠaːɾˠl̪ˠuː/ "happening", carnán /ˈkaːɾˠn̪ˠaːn̪ˠ/ "(small) heap", garda /ˈɡaːɾˠd̪ˠə/ "policeman"
mall /mˠaːl̪ˠ/ "slow, late", ann /aːn̪ˠ/ "there", barr /bˠaːɾˠ/ "tip, point"
am /aːmˠ/ "time"
unstressed /ə/ ólann /ˈoːl̪ˠən̪ˠ/ "drink" (present), mála /ˈmˠaːl̪ˠə/ "bag"
e stressed /ɛ/ te /tʲɛ/ "hot"
unstressed /ə/ míle /ˈmʲiːlʲə/ "thousand"
i stressed /ɪ/ pic /pʲɪc/ "pitch", ifreann /ˈɪfʲɾʲən̪ˠ/ "hell"
/iː/ before syllable-final ⟨ll, nn⟩ or word-final ⟨m⟩ cill /ciːlʲ/ "church", cinnte /ˈciːnʲtʲə/ "sure"
im /iːmʲ/ "butter"
unstressed /ə/ faoistin /ˈfˠiːʃtʲənʲ/ "confession"
/ɪ/ finally aici /ˈɛcɪ/ "at her"
o stressed /ɔ/ post /pˠɔsˠt̪ˠ/ "post"
/ʊ/ before ⟨n, m⟩ Donncha /ˈd̪ˠʊn̪əxə/ (man's name), cromóg /ˈkɾˠʊmˠoːɡ/ "hooked nose"
/oː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩, syllable-final ⟨ll, rr⟩ bord /bˠoːɾˠd̪ˠ/ "table", orlach /ˈoːɾˠl̪ˠəx/ "inch"
poll /pˠoːl̪ˠ/ "hole", corr /koːɾˠ/ "odd"
/uː/ before syllable-final ⟨nn⟩, word-final ⟨m, ng⟩ fonn /fˠuːn̪ˠ/ "desire, inclination"
trom /t̪ˠɾˠuːmˠ/ "heavy", long /l̪ˠuːŋɡ/ "ship"
unstressed /ə/ mo /mˠə/ "my", cothrom /ˈkɔɾˠəmˠ/ "equal"
u stressed /ʊ/ dubh /d̪ˠʊw/ "black"
/ɔ/ in English loanwords, corresponds to /ʌ/ bus /bˠɔsˠ/, club /kl̪ˠɔbˠ/
/uː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩ burla /ˈbˠuːɾˠl̪ˠə/ "bundle", murnán /ˈmˠuːɾˠn̪ˠaːn̪ˠ/ "ankle", urlár /ˈuːɾˠl̪ˠaːɾˠ/ "floor"
unstressed /ə/ agus /ˈaɡəsˠ/ "and"
/ʊ/ finally urthu /ˈʊɾˠhʊ/ "on them"

Di- and trigraphsEdit

⟨i⟩ is usually silent at the end of digraphs and trigraphs, only appearing to indicate that the following consonants are slender. However, it may be pronounced in ⟨ei, oi, ui⟩.

Letter(s) Phoneme Examples
ae, aei /eː/ Gaelach /ˈɡeːl̪ˠəx/ "Gaelic", Gaeilge /ˈɡeːlʲɟə/ "Irish (language)"
ai stressed /a/ baile /ˈbˠalʲə/ "home"
/aː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩, syllable-final ⟨ll, nn, rr⟩ airne /aːɾʲnʲə/ "sloe"
caillte /ˈkaːlʲtʲə/ "lost, ruined", crainn /kɾˠaːnʲ/ "trees"
/ɛ/ in three words daibhir /ˈd̪ˠɛvʲəɾʲ/ "poor", raibh /ɾˠɛvʲ/ "was" (dependent), saibhir /ˈsˠɛvʲərʲ/ "rich"
unstressed /ə/ eolais /ˈoːl̪ˠəʃ/ "knowledge" (genitive)
ao /iː/ (/eː/ in Munster and South Ulster) saol /sˠiːlˠ/ "life"
/eː/ in aon "any" and derivatives in all dialects aon /eːnˠ/ "any"
aoi /iː/ gaois /ɡiːʃ/ "shrewdness",
ea, eai stressed /a/ bean /bʲan̪ˠ/ "woman", veain /vʲanʲ/ "van"
/aː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩, syllable-final ⟨ll, nn, rr⟩ bearna /ˈbʲaːɾˠn̪ˠə/ "gap", feall /fʲaːl̪ˠ/ "treachery", feanntach /ˈfʲaːn̪ˠt̪ˠəx/ "severe"
unstressed /ə/ seisean /ˈʃɛʃən̪ˠ/ "he" (emphatic)
ei /ɛ/ ceist /cɛʃtʲ/ "question"
/ɪ/ before ⟨m, mh, n⟩ creimeadh /ˈcɾʲɪmʲə/ "corrosion, erosion", geimhreadh /ˈɟɪvʲrʲə/ "winter", seinm /ˈʃɪnʲəmʲ/ "playing"
/eː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩ eirleach /ˈeːɾˠlʲəx/ "destruction", ceirnín /ˈceːɾˠnʲiːnʲ/ "record album", ceird /ceːɾˠdʲ/ "trade, craft"
/əi/ before syllable-final ⟨ll⟩ feill- /fʲəilʲ/ "exceedingly"
/iː/ before syllable-final ⟨nn⟩ and word-final ⟨m⟩ greim /ɟɾʲiːmʲ/ "grip"
eo, eoi /oː/ ceol /coːl̪ˠ/ "music", baileofar /ˈbˠalʲoːfˠəɾˠ/ "one will gather", dreoilín /ˈdʲɾʲoːlʲiːnʲ/ "wren", baileoimid /ˈbˠalʲoːmʲədʲ/ "we will gather"
/ɔ/ in four words anseo /ənʲˈʃɔ/ "here", deoch /dʲɔx/ "drink", eochair /ˈɔxəɾʲ/ "key", seo /ˈʃɔ/ "this"
ia, iai /iə/ Diarmaid /dʲiərmədʲ/ "Dermot", bliain /bʲlʲiənʲ/ "year"
io /ɪ/ before coronals and ⟨th⟩ fios /fʲɪsˠ/ "knowledge", bior /bʲɪɾˠ/ "spit, spike", cion /cɪn̪ˠ/ "affection", giota /ˈɟɪt̪ˠə/ "bit, piece", giodam /ˈɟɪd̪ˠəmˠ/ "restlessness", friotháil /ˈfʲɾʲɪhaːlʲ/ "attention"
/ʊ/ before noncoronals siopa /ˈʃʊpˠə/ "shop", liom /lʲʊmˠ/ "with me", tiocfaidh /ˈtʲʊkiː/ "will come", Siobhán /ˈʃʊwaːn̪ˠ/ "Joan", briogáid /ˈbʲɾʲʊɡaːdʲ/ "brigade", tiomáin /ˈtʲʊmaːnʲ/ "drive" (imper.), ionga /ˈʊŋɡə/ "(finger)nail"
/iː/ before syllable-final ⟨nn⟩ fionn /fʲiːn̪ˠ/ "light-haired"
iu /ʊ/ fliuch /fʲlʲʊx/ "wet"
oi stressed /ɛ/ scoil /sˠkɛlʲ/ "school", troid /t̪ˠɾˠɛdʲ/ "fight" (imper.), toitín /ˈt̪ˠɛtʲiːnʲ/ "cigarette", oibre /ˈɛbʲɾʲə/ "work" (gen.), thoir /hɛɾʲ/ "in the east", cloiche /ˈkl̪ˠɛçə/ "stone" (gen.)
/ɔ/ before ⟨s, cht, rs, rt, rth⟩ cois /kɔʃ/ "foot" (dat.), cloisfidh /ˈkl̪ˠɔʃiː/ "will hear", boicht /bˠɔxtʲ/ "poor" (gen. sg. masc.), doirse /ˈd̪ɔɾˠʃə/ "doors", goirt /ɡɔɾˠtʲ/ "salty", oirthear /ˈɔɾˠhəɾˠ/ "east"
/ɪ/ next to ⟨n, m, mh⟩ anois /əˈn̪ˠɪʃ/ "now", gloine /ˈɡl̪ˠɪnʲə/ "glass", cnoic /kn̪ˠɪc/ "hills", roimh /ɾˠɪvʲ/ "before", coimeád /ˈkɪmʲaːd̪ˠ/ "keep" (imper.), loinge /ˈl̪ˠɪɲɟə/ "ship" (gen.)
/əi/ before syllable-final ⟨ll⟩ coill /kəilʲ/ "forest, woods", coillte /ˈkəilʲtʲə/ "forests"
/iː/ before syllable-final ⟨nn⟩ and word-final ⟨m⟩ foinn /fˠiːnʲ/ "wish" (gen.), droim /d̪ˠɾˠiːmʲ/ "back"
/oː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩ coirnéal /ˈkoːɾˠnʲeːl̪ˠ/ "corner", oird /oːɾˠdʲ/ "sledgehammers"
unstressed /ə/ éadroime /eːdrəmʲə/ 'lightness'
ua, uai /uə/ fuar /fˠuəɾˠ/ "cold", fuair /fˠuəɾʲ/ "got"
ui stressed /ɪ/ duine /ˈd̪ˠɪnʲə/ "person"
/ʊ/ before ⟨cht, rs, rt⟩ tuirseach /ˈt̪ˠʊɾˠʃəx/ "tired", cluichte /ˈkl̪ˠʊxtʲə/ "harassment" (gen.)
/iː/ before syllable-final ⟨ll, nn⟩, word-final ⟨m⟩ tuillteanach /ˈt̪ˠiːlʲtʲən̪ˠəx/ "deserving", puinn /pˠiːnʲ/ "much"
suim /sˠiːmʲ/ "interest"
/uː/ before ⟨rl, rn, rd⟩ duirling /ˈd̪ˠuːɾˠlʲənʲ/ "stony beach", tuirne /ˈt̪ˠuːɾˠnʲə/ "spinning wheel"
unstressed /ə/ aguisín /ˈaɡəʃiːnʲ/ "addition"

Followed by ⟨bh, dh, gh, mh⟩Edit

When followed by the lenited consonants ⟨bh, dh, gh, mh⟩, a stressed vowel usually forms a diphthong.

For ⟨(a)idh, (a)igh, (e)adh⟩, see also Special pronunciations in verb forms.

StressedEdit

Letter(s) Phoneme Examples
(e)abh, (e)abha, (e)abhai /əu/~/oː/ leabhair /lʲəuɾʲ/ "books", Feabhra /ˈfʲəuɾˠə/ "February"
(e)amh, (e)amha, (e)amhai Samhain /sˠəunʲ/ "November", amhantar /ˈəun̪ˠt̪ˠəɾˠ/ "venture", ramhraigh /ˈɾˠəuɾˠiː/ "fattened"
(e)obh, (e)obha, (e)obhai lobhar /l̪ˠəuɾˠ/ "leper"
(e)odh, (e)odha, (e)odhai bodhar /bˠəuɾˠ/ "deaf"
(e)ogh, (e)ogha, (e)oghai rogha /ɾˠəu/ "choice"
(e)omh, (e)omha, (e)omhai tomhail /t̪ˠoːlʲ/ "consume" (imper.), Domhnach /ˈd̪ˠoːn̪ˠəx/ "Sunday"
(i)umh, (i)umha, (i)umhai /uː/ Mumhan /ˈmˠuːn̪ˠ/ "Munster" (gen.)
(e)adh, (e)adha, (e)adhai /əi/ adhairt /əiɾˠtʲ/ "pillow", meadhg /mʲəiɡ/ "whey"
(e)agh, (e)agha, (e)aghai aghaidh /əij/ "face", saghsanna /ˈsˠəisˠən̪ˠə/ "sorts, kinds"
aidh, aidhe, aidhea aidhm /əimʲ/ "aim"
aigh, aighe, aighea aighneas /əinʲəsˠ/ "argument, discussion"
eidh, eidhea, eidhi feidhm /fʲəimʲ/ "function"
eigh, eighea, eighi leigheas /lʲəisˠ/ "healing"
oidh, oidhea, oidhi oidhre /əirʲə/ "heir"
oigh, oighea, oighi loighic /l̪ˠəic/ "logic"

UnstressedEdit

Letter(s) Phoneme Examples
(e)adh /ə/; /u(ː)/ in Northern dialects briseadh /ˈbʲɾʲɪʃə/ "breaking"
(e)agh margadh /ˈmˠaɾˠəɡə/ "market"
(a)idh /iː/; /ɪɟ/ in Munster tuillidh /ˈt̪ˠɪlʲiː/ "addition" (gen.), cleachtaidh /ˈclʲaxt̪ˠiː/ "practice" (gen.)
(a)igh coiligh /ˈkɛlʲiː/ "rooster" (gen.), bacaigh /ˈbˠakiː/ "beggar" (gen.)

Vowels with a fadaEdit

Vowels with a fada are always long vowels and in digraphs and trigraphs containing them, surrounding unaccented vowels tend to be unpronounced, but there are several exceptions, e.g. when they are preceded by two unaccented vowels.

Letter(s) Phoneme Examples
á, ái /aː/ bán /bˠaːn̪ˠ/ "white", dáil /d̪ˠaːlʲ/ "assembly", gabháil /ˈɡawaːlʲ/ "taking"
, aío /iː/ maígh /mˠiːj/ "claim" (imper.), gutaí /ˈɡʊt̪ˠiː/ "vowels", naíonán /ˈn̪ˠiːn̪ˠaːn̪ˠ/ "infant", beannaíonn /ˈbʲan̪ˠiːn̪ˠ/ "blesses"
aoú /iː.uː/ naoú /ˈn̪ˠiːuː/ "ninth"
é, éa /eː/ /ʃeː/ "he", déanamh /ˈdʲeːn̪ˠəw/ "doing", buidéal /ˈbˠɪdʲeːl̪ˠ/ "bottle"
, eái /aː/ Seán /ʃaːn̪ˠ/ "John", caisleán /ˈkaʃlʲaːn̪ˠ/ "castle", meáin /mʲaːnʲ/ "middles", caisleáin /ˈkaʃlʲaːnʲ/ "castles"
éi /eː/ scéimh /ʃceːvʲ/ "beauty", páipéir /ˈpˠaːpʲeːɾʲ/ "papers"
í, ío /iː/ gnímh /ɟnʲiːvʲ/ "act, deed" (gen.), cailín /ˈkalʲiːnʲ/ 'girl', síol /ʃiːl̪ˠ/ "seed"
, iái /iː.aː/ bián /ˈbʲiːaːn̪ˠ/ "size", liáin /ˈlʲiːaːnʲ/ "trowel" (gen.)
, iói /iː.oː/ sióg /ˈʃiːoːɡ/ "fairy", pióg /ˈpʲiːoːɡ/ "pie", grióir /ˈɟɾʲiːoːɾʲ/ "weakling"
, iúi /uː/ siúl /ʃuːl̪ˠ/ "walk", bailiú /ˈbˠalʲuː/ "gathering", ciúin /cuːnʲ/ "quiet", inniúil /ˈɪnʲuːlʲ/ "able, fit"
ó, ói /oː/ póg /pˠoːɡ/ "kiss", armónach /ˈaɾˠəmˠoːn̪əx/ "harmonic", móin /mˠoːnʲ/ "sod, turf", bádóir /ˈbˠaːd̪ˠoːrʲ/ "boatman"
, oío /iː/ croíleacán /ˈkɾˠiːlʲəkaːn̪ˠ/ "core", croíonna /ˈkɾˠiːn̪ˠə/ "hearts"
ú, úi /uː/ tús /t̪ˠuːsˠ/ "beginning", súil /suːlʲ/ "eye", cosúil /ˈkɔsˠuːlʲ/ "like, resembling"
, uái /uː.aː/ ruán /ˈɾˠuːaːn̪ˠ/ "buckwheat", duán /ˈd̪ˠuːaːn̪ˠ/ "kidney, fishhook", fuáil /ˈfˠuːaːlʲ/ "sewing, stitching"
, uío /iː/ buígh /bˠiːj/ "turn yellow" (imper.), buíon /bˠiːn̪ˠ/ "band, troop"
, uói /uː.oː/ cruóg /ˈkɾˠuːoːɡ/ "urgent need", luóige /ˈl̪ˠuːoːɟə/ "pollock" (gen.)

Vowels with a fada will occasionally also appear in succession, where adjacent vowels are not pronounced: séú /ˈʃeːuː/ "sixth", ríúil /ˈɾˠiːuːlʲ/ "royal, kingly, majestic", báíocht /⁠ˈbˠaːiːxt̪ˠ/ "sympathy", etc.

Epenthetic vowelsEdit

In the sequence of short vowel + /l, n, r/ + labial, palatal, or velar consonant (except for voiceless stops) within the same morpheme, an unwritten /ə/ gets inserted between the /l, n, r/ and the following consonant:

  • gorm /ˈɡɔɾˠəmˠ/ "blue"
  • dearg /ˈdʲaɾˠəɡ/ "red"
  • dorcha /ˈd̪ˠɔɾˠəxə/ "dark"
  • ainm /ˈanʲəmʲ/ "name"
  • deilgneach /ˈdʲɛlʲəɟnʲəx/ "prickly, thorny"
  • leanbh /ˈlʲan̪ˠəw/ "child"
  • airgead /ˈaɾʲəɟəd̪ˠ/ "silver, money"

But:

  • corp /kɔɾˠpˠ/ "body"
  • olc /ɔl̪ˠk/ "bad"

There is additionally no epenthesis after long vowels and diphthongs:

  • téarma /tʲeːɾˠmˠə/ "term"
  • dualgas /ˈd̪ˠuəl̪ˠɡəsˠ/ "duty"

The rules of epenthesis do not apply across morpheme boundaries (e.g. after prefixes and in compound words):

  • garmhac /ˈɡaɾˠwak/ "grandson" (from gar- ("close, near") + mac ("son"))
  • an-chiúin /ˈan̪ˠçuːnʲ/ "very quiet" (from an- ("very") + ciúin ("quiet"))
  • carrbhealach /ˈkaːɾˠvʲal̪ˠəx/ "carriageway, roadway" (from carr ("car") + bealach ("way, road"))

Special pronunciations in verb formsEdit

In verb forms, some letters and letter combinations are pronounced differently from elsewhere.

In the imperfect, conditional, and imperative, -⟨dh⟩ is pronounced /tʲ/ before a pronoun beginning with ⟨s⟩:

  • mholadh sé /ˈwɔl̪ˠətʲ ʃeː/ "he used to praise"
  • bheannódh sibh /ˈvʲan̪ˠoːtʲ ʃɪvʲ/ "you (pl.) would bless"
  • osclaíodh sí /ˈɔsˠkl̪ˠiːtʲ ʃiː/ "let her open"

Otherwise it is pronounced /x/:

  • mholadh an buachaill /ˈwɔl̪ˠəx ə ˈbˠuəxəlʲ/ "the boy used to praise"
  • bheannódh na cailíní /ˈvʲanoːx n̪ˠə ˈkalʲiːnʲiː/ "the girls would bless"
  • osclaíodh Siobhán /ˈɔsˠkl̪ˠiːx ˈʃʊwaːn̪ˠ/ "let Siobhán open"

In the preterite impersonal, -⟨dh⟩ is pronounced /w/:

  • moladh é /ˈmˠɔl̪ˠəw eː/ "he was praised"
  • beannaíodh na cailíní /ˈbʲan̪iːw nə ˈkalʲiːnʲiː/ "the girls were blessed"

⟨-(a)idh, -(a)igh⟩ are pronounced /ə/ before a pronoun, otherwise /iː/:

  • molfaidh mé /ˈmˠɔl̪ˠhə mʲeː/ "I will praise"
  • molfaidh Seán /ˈmˠɔl̪ˠhiː ʃaːn/ "Seán will praise"
  • bheannaigh mé /ˈvʲan̪ˠə mʲeː/ "I blessed"
  • bheannaigh Seán /ˈvʲan̪ˠiː ʃaːn/ "Seán blessed"

In the future and conditional, ⟨f⟩-(broad or slender) has the following effects:

  1. Pronounced /h/ after vowels and sonorants (/l̪ˠ lʲ mˠ mʲ n̪ˠ nʲ ɾˠ ɾʲ/):
    • molfaidh /ˈmˠɔl̪ˠhiː/ "will praise"
    • dhófadh /ˈɣoːhəx/ "would burn"
    • déarfaidh /ˈdʲeːɾˠhiː/ "will say"
  2. Devoices (/bˠ bʲ vʲ d̪ˠ ɡ/); and makes /w/ turn into /fˠ/:
    • scuabfadh /ˈsˠkuəpəx/ "would sweep"
    • goidfidh /ˈɡɛtʲiː/ "will steal"
    • leagfadh /ˈlʲakəx/ "would lay"
    • scríobhfaidh /ˈʃcɾʲiːfˠiː/ "will write"
    • shnámhfadh /ˈhn̪ˠaːfˠəx/ "would swim"
  3. Silent after a voiceless obstruent (/k c x ç pˠ pʲ sˠ ʃ t̪ˠ tʲ/)
    • brisfidh /ˈbʲɾʲɪʃiː/ "will break"
    • ghlacfadh /ˈɣl̪ˠakəx/ "would accept"
  4. But in the future and conditional impersonal ⟨f⟩ is often /fˠ, fʲ/
    • molfar /ˈmˠɔl̪ˠfˠəɾˠ/ "one will praise"
    • dhófaí /ˈɣoːfˠiː/ "one would burn"
    • scuabfar /ˈsˠkuəbˠfˠəɾˠ/ "one will sweep"
    • brisfear /ˈbʲɾʲɪʃfʲəɾˠ/ "one will break"

In the past participle -⟨th⟩- (also ⟨t⟩ after ⟨d⟩) is silent but devoices voiced obstruents:

  • scuabtha /ˈsˠkuəpˠə/ "swept"
  • troidte /ˈt̪ˠɾˠɛtʲə/ "fought"
  • ruaigthe /ˈɾˠuəcə/ "chased"

DiacriticsEdit

Irish currently uses one diacritic, the acute accent, and traditionally a second, the overdot. Irish preserves diacritics in uppercase forms and if diacritics are unavailable (for example, on a computer using ASCII), there is no generally accepted standard for replacing it, so it is generally just omitted entirely or replaced with an apostrophe, for example Dara O'Briain for Dara Ó Briain.

The acute accent (◌́; Irish and Hiberno-English: (síneadh) fada "long (sign)", agúid when referring to use in other languages) is used to indicate a long vowel, as in bád /bˠaːd̪ˠ/ "boat". However, there are some circumstances under which a long vowel is not indicated by an acute, such as:

  • before ⟨rd, rl, rn, rr⟩, e.g. ard /aːɾˠd̪ˠ/ "high", eirleach /ˈeːɾˠlʲəx/ "destruction", dorn /d̪ˠoːɾˠn̪ˠ/ "fist"
  • in ⟨ae, ao, eo⟩, e.g. aerach /ˈeːɾˠəx/ "gay", maol /mˠiːl̪ˠ/ "bare", ceol /coːl̪ˠ/ "music"
  • in ⟨omh(a), umh(a)⟩, e.g. comharsa /ˈkoːɾˠsˠə/ "neighbour", Mumhain /mˠuːnʲ/ "Munster"
  • long /iː/ and /uː/ before /aː/ or /oː/, e.g. fiáin /ˈfʲiːaːnʲ/ "wild", ruóg /ˈɾˠuːoːɡ/ "twine"

Vowels with an acute accent are read as (vowel) fada "long (vowel)".

 
Road sign in the Donegal Gaeltacht: Note Comhaırle, obaır, maoınıú, Roınn, Oıdhreachta and Oıleán with dotless ı.

The overdot (◌̇; Irish: ponc séimhithe "dot of lenition", buailte "struck", or simply séimhiú, "lenition") was traditionally used, especially in Gaelic type, to indicate lenition; currently a following ⟨h⟩ is used for this purpose. Thus the letters ⟨ḃ, ċ, ḋ, ḟ, ġ, ṁ, ṗ, ṡ, ṫ⟩ are equivalent to ⟨bh, ch, dh, fh, gh, mh, ph, sh, th⟩. In Old Irish, the dot was only used for ⟨ḟ, ṡ⟩, while the following ⟨h⟩ was used for ⟨ch, ph, th⟩; lenition of other letters was not indicated. Later the two systems spread to the entire set of lenitable consonants and competed with each other. Eventually the standard practice was to use the dot when writing in Gaelic type and the following ⟨h⟩ when writing in Roman type.

Lowercase ⟨i⟩ has no tittle in Gaelic type, and road signs in the Republic of Ireland, which use a typeface based on Transport, (as well as Latin alpha ⟨ɑ⟩ for ⟨a⟩). However, as printed and electronic material like books, newspapers and web pages use Roman type almost invariably, the tittle is generally shown. Irish does not graphemically distinguish dotted i and dotless ı , i.e. they are not different letters as they are in, for example, Turkish and Azeri.

PunctuationEdit

 
Íoc ⁊ Taispeáin ("Pay & Display") sign in Dublin with the Tironian et for agus ("and").

Generally, the use of punctuation marks is similar to English. One punctuation mark worth noting is the Tironian et ⟨⁊⟩ which is generally used to abbreviate the word agus "and", much as the ampersand ⟨&⟩ is generally used to abbreviate the "and" in English.

A hyphen (Irish: fleiscín) is used in Irish after ⟨t, n⟩ when prefixed to a masculine vowel-initial word as an initial mutation, e.g. an t-arán "the bread", a n-iníon "their daughter". However, a hyphen is not used when the vowel is capitalised, as in an tAlbanach "the Scotsman", Ár nAthair "Our Father". No hyphen is used when ⟨h⟩ is prefixed to a vowel-initial word: a hiníon "her daughter".

The hyphen is also used in compound words under certain circumstances:

  • between two vowels, e.g. mí-ádh "misfortune"
  • between two similar consonants, e.g. droch-chaint "bad language", grod-díol "prompt payment"
  • in a three-part compound, e.g. buan-chomhchoiste "permanent joint committee"
  • after the prefixes do-, fo-, so- before a word beginning with ⟨bha, bhla, bhra, dha, gha, ghla, ghra, mha⟩, for example: do-bhlasta "bad tasting", fo-ghlac "subsume", so-mharfacht "mortality"
  • in capitalised titles, e.g. An Príomh-Bhreitheamh "the Chief Justice"
  • after an- "very" and dea- "good", e.g. an-mhór "very big", dea-mhéin "goodwill"

The apostrophe (Irish: uaschama) is used to indicate an omitted vowel in the following cases:

  • the prepositions de "from" and do "to" both become d' before a vowel (or ⟨fh⟩ + vowel, since ⟨fh⟩ is silent), as in Thit sí d'each "She fell from a horse" and Tabhair d'fhear an tí é "Give it to the landlord"
  • the possessive pronouns mo "my" and do "your (singular)" become m' and d' before a vowel or ⟨fh⟩ + vowel, as in m'óige "my youth", d'fhiacail "your tooth"
  • the preverbal particle do becomes d' before a vowel or ⟨fh⟩ + vowel, as in d'ardaigh mé "I raised", d'fhanfadh sé "he would wait"
  • the copular particle ba becomes b' before a vowel or ⟨fh⟩ + vowel, as in B'ait liom é sin "I found that odd" and b'fhéidir "maybe". However, ba retains its vowel before the pronouns é, í, iad, as in Ba iad na ginearáil a choinnigh an chumhacht "It was the generals who kept the power"

CapitalisationEdit

 
Bilingual sign in Ireland. The eclipsis of ⟨P⟩ to ⟨bP⟩ uses lowercase in an otherwise all-caps text.

Capitalisation rules are similar to English. However, a prefixed letter remains in lowercase when the base initial is capitalised (an tSín "China"). For text written in all caps, the prefixed letter is kept in lowercase, or small caps (STAIR NA HÉIREANN "THE HISTORY OF IRELAND").[7] An initial capital is used for:[8]

  • Start of sentence
  • Personal names and placenames, though not the words an, na, de[9] (Micheál Ó Murchú "Michael Murphy"; Máire Mhac an tSaoi "Mary McEntee" de Búrca "Burke"; Sliabh na mBan "Slievenamon")
  • Adjectives from personal names and placenames; though not for adjectives used in extended senses (bia Iodálach "Italian food", but cló iodálach "italic type")
  • Names of months, weeks, feast-days, and languages (Meán Fómhair "September"; an Luan "Monday"; Oíche Nollag "Christmas Eve"; Fraincis "French")
  • "day" (Dé Luain "on Monday")
  • Definite titles[10]
  • Names of God; though not pronouns referring to God[11]

AbbreviationsEdit

Most Irish abbreviations in are straightforward, e.g. leathanachlch. ("page → p.") and mar shamplam.sh. ("exempli gratia (for example) → e.g."), but two that require explanation are: eadhon.i. ("that is → i.e.") and agus araile⁊rl./srl. ("et cetera (and so forth) → etc.).

Spelling reformEdit

The literary Classical Irish which survived till the 17th century was already archaic and its spelling reflected that; Theobald Stapleton's 1639 catechism was a first attempt at simplification.[12] The classical spelling represented a dialect continuum including distinctions lost in all surviving dialects by the Gaelic revival of the late 19th century. The issue of simplifying spelling, linked to the use of Roman or Gaelic type, was controversial in the early decades of the 20th century.[13] The Irish Texts Society's 1904 Irish–English bilingual dictionary by Patrick S. Dinneen used traditional spellings.[13] After the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, all Acts of the Oireachtas were translated into Irish, initially using Dinneen's spellings, with a list of simplifications accruing over the years.[13] When Éamon de Valera became President of the Executive Council after the 1932 election, policy reverted to older spellings, which were used in the enrolled text of the 1937 Constitution.[13] In 1941, de Valera decided to publish a "popular edition" of the Constitution with simplified spelling and established a committee of experts, which failed to agree on recommendations.[13][14] Instead, the Oireachtas' own translation service prepared a booklet, Litriú na Gaeilge: Lámhleabhar an Chaighdeáin Oifigiúil, published in 1945.[14] The following are some old spellings criticised by T. F. O'Rahilly and their simplifications:[13]

Old spelling New spelling
beirbhiughadh beiriú
imthighthe imithe
faghbháil fáil
urradhas urrús
filidheacht filíocht

The booklet was expanded in 1947,[15] and republished as An Caighdeán Oifigiúil ("the official standard") in 1958, combined with the standard grammar of 1953.[16] It attracted initial criticism as unhistorical and artificial; some spellings fail to represent the pronunciation of some dialects, while others preserve letters not pronounced in any dialect.[16] Its status was reinforced by use in the civil service and as a guide for Tomás de Bhaldraithe's 1959 English–Irish dictionary and Niall Ó Dónaill's 1977 Irish–English dictionary.[16] A review of the written standard, including spelling, was announced in 2010, with a view to improving "simplicity, internal consistency, and logic".[17] The result was the 2017 updated Caighdeán Oifigiúil.[18]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Learn Irish Rosetta Stone. Retrieved: 2020-06-21.
  2. ^ Ó Dónaill, Niall (2007). Tomás De Bhaldraithe (ed.). Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. An Gúm. ISBN 1-85791-038-9. OCLC 670042711.
  3. ^ O. Cuiv, Brian (1988). The Irish of West Muskerry, Co. Cork: a phonetic study. Dublin: The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. ISBN 978-0-901282-52-1. OCLC 794908503.
  4. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí. An Gúm. 22 September 1999. ISBN 9781857913279.
  5. ^ a b c d e Vowels with an acute accent are read as (vowel) fada.
  6. ^ "Ogham alphabet".
  7. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, §3.2
  8. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, §3.1
  9. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, §§ 3.1, 7.6, 10.2-10.3
  10. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, §§ 3.1, 3.4
  11. ^ Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, §3.5
  12. ^ Crowley, Tony (2005). "Encoding Ireland: Dictionaries and Politics in Irish History". Éire-Ireland. 40 (3): 119–139. doi:10.1353/eir.2005.0017. ISSN 1550-5162. S2CID 154134330.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Ó Cearúil, Micheál; Ó Murchú, Máirtín (1999). "Script and Spelling". Bunreacht na hÉireann: a study of the Irish text (PDF). Dublin: Stationery Office. pp. 27–41. ISBN 0-7076-6400-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011.
  14. ^ a b Dáil debates Vol.99 No.17 p.3 7 March 1946
  15. ^ Litriú na Gaeilge – Lámhleabhar An Chaighdeáin Oifigiúil (in Ga). Dublin: Stationery Office / Oifig an tSoláthair. 1947. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Ó Laoire, Muiris (1997). "The Standardization of Irish Spelling: an Overview". Journal of the Spelling Society. 22 (2): 19–23. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  17. ^ Central Translation Unit. "The Scope of the Process". Review of Caighdeán Oifigiúil na Gaeilge. Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  18. ^ "Rannóg an Aistriúcháin > An Caighdeán Oifigiúil". In September 2014, members of the public and other interested parties were asked to make submissions regarding An Caighdeán Oifigiúil. An Advisory Committee was also established, which worked tirelessly for a year and a half to identify issues and to make recommendations. The result of this work is the new edition of An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, published by the Houses of the Oireachtas Service in 2017.

ReferencesEdit

  • Gramadach na Gaeilge agus Litriú na Gaeilge: An Caighdeán Oifigiúil. Dublin: Oifig an tSoláthair. 1994.
  • Mac Eoin, Gearóid (1993). "Irish". In Martin J. Ball; James Fife (eds.). The Celtic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 101–44. ISBN 0-415-01035-7.
  • Ó Baoill, Dónall P. (1986). Lárchanúint don Ghaeilge (in Ga). Dublin: The Linguistics Institute of Ireland. ISBN 0-946452-06-7.
  • Ó Murchú, Máirtín (1977). "Successes and Failures in the Modernization of Irish Spelling". In Fishman, Joshua A. (ed.). Advances in the Creation and Revision of Writing Systems. De Gruyter. pp. 267–289. ISBN 9783110807097.
  • Ó Siadhail, Mícheál (1988). Learning Irish (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04224-8.
  • Stenson, Nancy; Hickey, Tina (2018). Understanding Irish Spelling A Handbook for Teachers and Learners (PDF). An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta.
  • Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí (in Ga). Dublin: An Gúm. 1999. ISBN 1-85791-327-2.