Scottish Gaelic orthography

Summary

Scottish Gaelic orthography has evolved over many centuries and is heavily etymologizing in its modern form. This means the orthography tends to preserve historical components rather than operating on the principles of a phonemic orthography where the graphemes correspond directly to phonemes. This allows the same written form in Scottish Gaelic to result in a multitude of pronunciations, depending on the spoken variant of Scottish Gaelic. For example, the word coimhead ('watching') may result in [ˈkʰõ.ət̪], [ˈkʰɔ̃jət̪], [ˈkʰɤi.ət̪], or [ˈkʰɛ̃.ət̪]. Conversely, it allows the sometimes highly divergent phonetic forms to be covered by a single written form, rather than requiring multiple written forms.

AlphabetEdit

 
A sample of traditional Gaelic type. Lines 8-10 read

Ní íosfadh mé seoidh
Ná mílte de'h op!
'S'ríl agam ach n'gnoth

The alphabet (Scottish Gaelic: aibidil, formerly Beith Luis Nuin from the first three letters of the Ogham alphabet) now used for writing Scottish Gaelic consists of the following Latin script letters, whether written in Roman type or Gaelic type:

⟨a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u⟩[1]

Vowels may be accented with a grave accent but accented letters are not considered distinct letters.[1] Prior the 1981 Gaelic Orthographic Convention (GOC), Scottish Gaelic traditionally used acute accents on ⟨a, e, o⟩ to denote close-mid long vowels, clearly graphemically distinguishing ⟨è⟩ /ɛː/ and ⟨é⟩ /eː/, and ⟨ò⟩ /ɔː/ and ⟨ó⟩ /oː/. However, since the 1981 GOC and its 2005 and 2009 revisions, standard orthography only uses the grave accent.[2] Since the 1980s, the acute accent has not been used in Scottish high school examination papers, and many publishers have adopted the Scottish Qualifications Authority's orthographic conventions for their books.[3] Despite this, traditional spelling is still used by some writers and publishers, although not always intentionally.[4] In Nova Scotia, the 2009 Gaelic language curriculum guidelines follow the 2005 GOC orthography, but do not change the traditional spelling of words and phrases common to Nova Scotia or in pre–spelling-reform literature.[5]

Letter namesEdit

The early Medieval treatise Auraicept na n-Éces ('The Scholars' Primer') describes the origin of alphabets from the Tower of Babel. It assigns plant names and meanings to the Ogham alphabet, to a lesser extent to Norse Younger Futhark runes, and by extension to Latin letters when used to write Gaelic. Robert Graves' book The White Goddess has been a major influence on assigning divinatory meanings to the tree symbolism. (See also Bríatharogam.) Some of the names differ from their modern equivalents (e.g. dair > darach, suil > seileach).

Letter Name(s) (meaning)
Aa Ailm (elm)
Bb Beith (silver birch)
Cc Coll (hazel)
Dd Dair (oak)
Ee Eadha (aspen)
Ff Feàrn (alder)
Gg Gort (ivy)
Hh Uath (hawthorn)
Ii Iogh (yew)
Ll Luis (rowan)
Mm Muin (vine)
Nn Nuin (ash)
Oo Onn (furze)
Oir (spindle)
Pp Peith (downy birch)
Rr Ruis (elder)
Ss Suil (willow)
Tt Teine (furze)
Uu Ura (heather)

ConsonantsEdit

The consonant letters generally correspond to the consonant phonemes as shown in this table. See Scottish Gaelic phonology for an explanation of the symbols used. 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⟩. A back vowel is one of the following; [o(ː) ɔ(ː) ɤ(ː) u(ː) ɯ(ː) a(ː) au]; a front vowel is any other kind of vowel.

Letter(s) Phoneme(s) Examples
b broad /p/ bàta /paːʰt̪ə/, borb /pɔrɔp/
slender before front vowel, or finally /p/ bean /pɛn/, caibe /kʰapə/, guib /kɤp/
before back vowel /pj/ beò /pjɔː/, bealltainn /pjauɫ̪t̪ɪɲ/, bealach /pjaɫ̪əx/
bh between vowels, sometimes /./ siubhal /ʃu.əɫ̪/, iubhar /ju.əɾ/
finally, sometimes none dubh /t̪u/, ubh /u/
usually broad /v/ cabhag /kʰavak/, sàbh /s̪aːv/
slender, before front vowel /v/ dhuibh /ɣɯiv/, dibhe /tʲivə/
slender, before back vowel /vj/ ro bheò /rɔ vjɔː/, dà bhealltainn /t̪aː vjauɫ̪t̪ɪɲ/
see below for ⟨abh, oibh⟩ when they precede consonants
c broad initially, or non-finally after consonant /kʰ/ cas /kʰas̪/, cam /kʰaum/
between vowels /ʰk/ bacadh /paʰkəɣ/, mucan /muʰkən/
finally after vowel /ʰk/ mac /maʰk/
finally after consonant /k/ corc /kʰɔrʰkʲ/
slender initially or after consonant /kʰʲ/ ceòl /kʰʲɔːɫ̪/, ceum /kʰʲeːm/
between vowels /ʰkʲ/ lice /ʎiʰkʲə/, brice /prʲiʰkʲə/
finally after vowel /ʰkʲ/ mic /miʰkʲ/
finally after consonant /kʲ/ cuilc /kʰulʰkʲ/
ch broad /x/ loch /ɫ̪ɔx/, dòchas /t̪ɔːxəs̪/
slender /ç/ deich /tʲeç/, dìcheall /tʲiːçəɫ̪/
chd /xk/ lionntachd /ʎuːn̴̪t̪ʰəxk/, doimhneachd /t̪ɔiɲəxk/
cn /kr/ cneap /krɛʰp/, cneasta /krʲes̪t̪ə/
d broad /t̪/ cadal /kʰat̪aɫ̪/, fada /fat̪ə/
slender /tʲ/ diùid /tʲuːtʲ/, dearg /tʲɛrak/
dh in final -⟨aidh, éidh⟩ none pòsaidh /pʰɔːs̪ɪ/, méidh /meː/
broad between vowels /./
/ɣ/
odhar /o.ər/, cladhadh /kʰɫ̪ɤ.əɣ/
modhail /mɔɣal/
elsewhere /ɣ/ dhà /ɣaː/, modh /mɔɣ/, tumadh /t̪ʰuməɣ/
slender between vowels /./ Gàidheal /kɛː.əɫ̪/
elsewhere /ʝ/ dhìth /ʝiː/, dhìol /ʝiəɫ̪/
see below for ⟨adh, aidh, iodh⟩ when they precede consonants
f broad /f/ fathan /fahan/, gafann /kafənˠ̪/
slender before front vowel /f/ fios /fis̪/, féill /feːʎ/
before back vowel /fj/ fiùran /fjuːran/, feòl /fjɔːɫ̪/
fh usual none fhios /is̪/, a fharadh /arəɣ/
exceptionally /h/ fhathast /ha.əs̪t̪/, fhèin /heːn/, fhuair /huəɾʲ/
g broad /k/ gad /kat̪/, ugan /ukən/
slender /kʲ/ gille /kʲiʎə/, leig /ʎekʲ/
gh finally, sometimes none* an-diugh /əɲˈtʲu/, nigh /ɲiː/
between vowels /./*
/ɣ/
aghaidh /ɤː.ɪ/, fiughar /fju.əɾ/, nigheann /ɲiː.an̪ˠ/
laghail /ɫ̪ɤɣal/
elsewhere broad /ɣ/ mo ghoc /mə ɣɔʰk/, lagh /ɫ̪ɤɣ/
slender /ʝ/ mo ghille /mə ʝiʎə/, do thaigh /t̪ə hɤj/
see below for lenghtened ⟨agh, aigh, eagh, iogh, ogh, oigh⟩ when preceding another consonant
gn /kr/ gnè /krɛː/
h /h/ a h-athair /ə hahɪɾʲ/, Hearach /hɛɾəx/
l broad /ɫ̪/ lachan /ɫ̪axan/, a laoidh /ə ɫ̪ɯj/, balach /paɫ̪əx/
slender initially, unlenited /ʎ/ leabaidh /ʎepɪ/, leum /ʎeːm/
initially, lenited /l/ dà leabaidh /t̪aː lepɪ/, bho leac /vɔ lɛʰk/
elsewhere /l/ cuilean /kʰulan/, sùil /s̪uːl/
ll broad /ɫ̪/ balla /paɫ̪ə/, ciall /kʰʲiaɫ̪/
slender /ʎ/ cailleach /kʰaʎəx/, mill /miːʎ/
m broad /m/ maol /mɯːɫ̪/, màla /maːɫ̪ə/
slender before front vowel /m/ milis /milɪʃ/, tìm /tʰʲiːm/
before back vowel /mj/ meall /mjauɫ̪/, meòg /mjɔːk/
mh between vowels, sometimes /./ comhairle /kʰo.əɾlə/
broad /v/ àmhainn /aːvɪɲ/, caomh /kʰɯːv/
slender before front vowel /v/ caoimhin /kʰɯːvɪɲ/, làimh /ɫ̪aiv/
before back vowel /vj/ do mhealladh /t̪ɔ vjaɫ̪əɣ/, dà mheall /t̪aː vjauɫ̪/
see below for ⟨amh, eadh, oimh, uimh⟩ when they precede consonants
n broad initially, unlenited /n̴̪/ nàbaidh /n̴̪aːpi/, norrag /n̴̪ɔr̴ak/
initially, lenited /n/ mo nàire /mɔ naːɾʲɪ/, bho nàbaidh /vɔ naːpɪ/
elsewhere /n/ dona /t̪ɔnə/, sean /ʃɛn/
slender initially, unlenited /ɲ/ neul /ɲiaɫ̪/, neart /ɲɛɾʃt̪/
initially, lenited /n/ mo nighean /mɔ ni.an/, dà nead /t̪aː nɛt̪/
elsewhere, after back vowel /ɲ/ duine /t̪ɯɲɪ/, càineadh /kʰaːɲəɣ/
elsewhere, after front vowel /n/ cana /kʰanə/, teine /tʰʲenɪ/
ng broad /ŋɡ/ teanga /tʰʲɛŋɡə/, fulang /fuɫ̪əŋɡ/
slender /ŋʲɡʲ/ aingeal /aiŋʲɡʲəɫ̪/, farsaing /faɾs̪ɪŋʲɡʲ/
nn broad /n̴̪/ ceannaich /kʰʲan̴̪ɪç/, ann /aun̴̪/
slender /ɲ/ bainne /paɲɪ/, tinn /tʰʲiːɲ/
p broad
slender not before back vowel
initially or after consonant /pʰ/ post /pʰɔs̪t̪/, campa /kʰaumpə/, peasair /pʰes̪ɪɾʲ/,
between vowels /ʰp/ cupa /kʰuʰpə/, cipean /kʰʲiʰpan/
finally after vowel /ʰp/ cuip /kʰuiʰp/
finally after consonant /p/ ailp /alp/
slender before back vowel after consonant, or initially /pj/ piuthar /pju.əɾ/, peall /pjauɫ̪/
ph broad /f/ sa phost /s̪ə fɔs̪t̪/, bho phàiste /vɔ faːʃtʲə/
slender before front vowel /f/ dà pheasair /t̪aː fes̪ɪɾʲ/, mo pheata /mɔ fɛʰt̪ə/
before back vowel /fj/ mo phiuthar /mɔ fju.əɾ/, sa pheann /s̪ə fjaun̴̪/
r initially, unlenited /ᵲ/ ràmh /ᵲaːv/, rionnag /ᵲun̴̪ak/
initially, lenited /ɾ/ do rùn /tɔ ɾuːn/, bho réic /vɔ ɾeːʰkʲ/
elsewhere broad /ɾ/ caran /kʰaɾan/, mura /muɾə/
slender /ɾʲ/ cìr /kʰʲiːɾʲ/, cuireadh /kʰuɾʲəɣ/
rr /ᵲ/ cearr /kʰʲaːᵲ/, barra /paᵲə/
-rt, -rd /ɾʃt̪/ neart /ɲɛɾʃt̪/, bord /pɔːɾʃt̪/
s broad /s̪/ sàr /s̪aːɾ/, casan /kʰas̪ən/
slender /ʃ/ siùcair /ʃuːʰkɪɾʲ/, càise /kʰaːʃɪ/
sh broad /h/ ro shalach /ɾɔ haɫ̪əx/, glé shoilleir /kleː hɤʎɪɾʲ/
slender before front vowel /h/ dà shìl /t̪aː hiːʎ/, glé shean /kleː hɛn/
before back vowel /hj/ de shiùcair /tʲe hjuːʰkɪɾʲ/, a sheòladh /ə hjɔːɫ̪əɣ/
sr, str /s̪t̪ɾ/ sràc /s̪t̪ɾaːʰk/, strì /s̪t̪ɾiː/
t broad initially, or non-finally after consonant /t̪ʰ/ tasdan /t̪ʰas̪t̪an/, molta /mɔɫ̪t̪ə/
between vowels /ʰt̪/ bàta /paːʰt̪ə/
finally, after vowel /ʰt̪/ put /pʰuʰt̪/
finally, after consonant /t/
slender initially, or non-finally after consonant /tʰʲ/ tiugh /tʰʲu/, caillte /kʰaiʎtʲə/
between vowels /ʰtʲ/ litir /ʎiʰtʲɪɾʲ/
finally, after vowel /ʰtʲ/ cait /kʰɛʰtʲ/
finally, after consonant /tʲ/ ailt /altʲ/
th finally none teth /tʰʲe/, leth /ʎe/, strath /s̪t̪ɾa/
between vowels /./
/h/
leotha /lɔ.ə/, piuthar /pju.əɾ/, cnòthan /kɾɔː.ən/
beatha /pɛhə/, fathan /fahan/, a mhàthair /ə vaːhɪɾʲ/
initially broad /h/ mo thòn /mɔ hɔːn/, do thaigh /t̪ɔ hɤʝ/
slender, before front vowel /h/ thig /hikʲ/, ro thinn /r̴ɔ hiːɲ/
slender, before back vowel /hj/ do theaghlach /t̪ɔ hjɔːɫ̪əx/, glé thiugh /kleː hju/

VowelsEdit

Many of the rules in this section only apply in stressed syllables. In unstressed syllables, the range of vowels is highly restricted, with mainly /ə/, /ɪ/ or /a/ appearing and on occasion /ɔ/. Only certain vowel graphs appear in unstressed syllables: ⟨a, ai, e, ea, ei, i⟩ and very infrequently ⟨o, oi, u, ui⟩.

Letter(s) Phoneme(s) Examples
a unstressed in -⟨ag⟩
in -⟨an⟩ (when not plural)
/a/ cnèatag /kʰriaʰt̪ʰak/, luchag /ɫ̪uxak/
lochan /ɫ̪ɔxan/, beagan /pekan/
elsewhere /ə/ balach /paɫ̪əx/, balla /paɫ̪ə/
stressed before ⟨dh, gh⟩ + vowel or word finally /ɤ/ dragh /t̪ɾɤɣ/, laghail /ɫ̪ɤɣal/
before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /au/ bann /paun̴̪/, calltainn /kʰauɫ̪t̪ɪɲ/, campa /kʰaumpə/
before ⟨rr⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨rn, rd⟩
/aː/ barr /paːr̴/, carnadh /kʰaːɾnəɣ/
elsewhere /a/ acras /aʰkɾəs̪/, gealladh /kʲaɫ̪əɣ/, barra /par̴ə/
See below for ⟨abh, adh, agh, amh⟩ when they precede consonants
ai unstressed in -⟨ail⟩ /a/ modhail /mɔɣal/, eudail /eːt̪al/
elsewhere /ɪ/
/e/
/ə/
caraich /kʰaɾɪç/, mholainn /vɔɫ̪ɪɲ/
air an fhéill /eɾʲəˈɲeːʎ/
comhairle /kʰo.əɾlɪ/
stressed before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨bh, mh⟩ + consonant
/ai/ caill /kʰaiʎ/, cainnt /kʰaiɲtʲ/
aibhne /aivɲə/, aimhreid /aivɾʲɪtʲ/
before ⟨rr⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨rn, rd⟩
/aː/ aird /aːɾʃt̪/
elsewhere /a/ baile /palɪ/, lainnir /ɫ̪aɲɪɾʲ/
See below for ⟨aidh⟩, ⟨aigh⟩ when they precede consonants
à /aː/ àlainn /aːɫ̪ɪɲ/, bràmar /praːməɾ/
ài /aː/
/ɛː/
àite /aːʰtʲɪ/, càil /kʰaːl/
Gàidheal /kɛː.əɫ̪/, pàipear /pʰɛːʰpəɾ/
ao /ɯː/ maol /mɯːɫ̪/, caomh /kʰɯːv/
aoi before ⟨mh, bh⟩ + consonant or word finally /ɯi/ aoibhneas /ɯivɲəs̪/, caoimhneas /kʰɯivɲəs̪/
elsewhere /ɯː/ faoileag /fɯːlak/, caoimhin /kʰɯːvɪɲ/
e unstressed /ə/ maise /maʃə/, cuine /kʰuɲə/
stressed /e/ teth /tʰʲe/, le /le/
ea unstressed in -⟨eag⟩ /a/ faoileag /fɯːlak/, uiseag /ɯʃak/
elsewhere /ə/ rinnear /ɾiɲəɾ/, mìltean /miːltʲən/
stressed before ⟨dh, gh⟩ finally /ɤ/ feadh /fjɤɣ/, seagh /ʃɤɣ/
before ⟨d, g, s⟩ /e/ eadar /et̪əɾ/, creagan /kʰɾekən/
before ⟨ll, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /au/ peann /pʰjaun̴̪/, teannta /t̪ʰʲaun̴̪t̪ə/
before ⟨rr⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨rn⟩
/aː/ fearna /fjaːɾnə/, dearrsadh /t̪ʲaːr̴s̪əɣ/
before ⟨ll, nn, rr⟩ + vowel, initially /ja/ eallach /jaɫ̪əx/, earrach /jar̴əx/
before ⟨ll, nn, rr⟩ + vowel, elsewhere /a/ ceannard /kʰʲan̴̪aɾʃt̪/, gealladh /kʲaɫ̪əɣ/
elsewhere /ɛ/ fear /fɛɾ/, earrann /ɛr̴ən̴̪/
See below for ⟨eagh, eamh⟩ when they precede consonants
èa /ia/ dèan /tʲian/, cnèatag /kʰɾiaʰt̪ak/
ei unstressed /ɪ/ aimhreid /aivɾʲɪtʲ/, bigein /pikʲɪɲ/
stressed before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /ei/ greim /kɾeim/, peinnsean /pʰeiɲʃan/
elsewhere /e/ ceist /kʰʲeʃtʲ/, seinneadair /ʃeɲət̪ɪɾʲ/
è, èi /ɛː/
/eː/
crè /kʰrɛː/, sèimh /ʃɛːv/
/tʲeː/, cèile /kʰʲeːlə/
eo /ɔ/ deoch /tʲɔx/, leotha /lɔ.ə/
, eòi initially /jɔː/ eòlas /jɔːɫ̪əs̪/, eòin /jɔːɲ/
elsewhere /ɔː/ seòl /ʃɔːɫ̪/, meòir /mjɔːɾʲ/
eu before ⟨m⟩ /eː/ Seumas /ʃeːməs̪/, leum /ʎeːm/
elsewhere /ia/ ceud /kʰʲiat̪/, feur /fiaɾ/
i unstressed /ɪ/ litir /ʎiʰtʰʲɪɾʲ/, fuirich /fuɾʲɪç/
stressed before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /iː/ till /tʰʲiːʎ/, sinnsear /ʃiːɲʃəɾ/
elsewhere /i/ thig /hikʲ/, tinneas /tʰʲiɲəs̪/
ì /iː/ cìr /kʰʲiːɾʲ/, rìbhinn /r̴iːvɪɲ/
ia /iə/
/ia/
liath /ʎiə/, iarraidh /iər̴ɪ/
sgian /s̪kʲian/, dia /tʲia/
io before ⟨ll, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally initially /ju/ ionnsaich /juːn̴̪sɪç/
elsewhere /uː/ lionn /ʎuːn̴̪/, fionntach /fjuːn̴̪t̪əx/
before ⟨ll, nn⟩ + vowel /u/ fionnar /fjun̴̪əɾ/, sionnach /ʃun̴̪əx/
elsewhere /i/ fios /fis̪/, lios /ʎis̪/
See below for ⟨iodh, iogh⟩ when they precedes consonants
ìo /iə/ mìos /miəs̪/, cìoch /kʰʲiəx/
iu initially /ju/ iubhar /ju.əɾ/
before ⟨rr, rs⟩ /uː/ ciurr /kʰʲuːr̴/, siursach /ʃuːɾs̪əx/
elsewhere /u/ fliuch /flux/, siubhal /ʃu.əɫ̪/
, iùi /uː/ diù /tʲuː/, ciùil /kʰʲuːl/
o before ⟨b, bh, g, gh, m, mh⟩ /o/ gob /kop/, bogha /po.ə/
before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /ɔu/ tom /t̪ʰɔum/, tolltach /t̪ʰɔuɫ̪t̪əx/
before ⟨rr⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨rn, rd⟩
/ɔː/ torr /t̪ʰɔːr̴/, dornan /t̪ɔːɾnan/
elsewhere /ɔ/ loch /ɫ̪ɔx/, follais /fɔɫ̪ɪʃ/, dorra /t̪ɔr̴ə/
See below for ⟨ogh⟩ when it comes before consonants
oi before ⟨b, bh, g, gh, m, mh⟩ /o/
before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /əi/ broinn /pɾəiɲ/, oillt /əiʎʲtʲ/
elsewhere /ɤ/
/ɔ/
goid /kɤtʲ/, doirbh /t̪ɤɾʲɤv/, coileach /kʰɤləx/
toil /t̪ʰɔl/, coire /kʰɔɾʲə/
See below for ⟨oibh, oigh, oimh⟩ when they precede consonants
ò, òi /oː/
/ɔː/
/poː/, còig /kʰoːkʲ/
òir /ɔːɾʲ/, bòid /pɔːtʲ/
u before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally
before ⟨rr, rn⟩
/uː/ cum /kʰuːm/, sunndach /s̪uːn̴̪t̪əx/, murn /muːɾn/
elsewhere /u/ dubh /t̪u/, cumail /kʰumal/
ua, uai before ⟨m, n, ng⟩ /ua/ cuan /kʰuan/, uaine /uaɲə/
elsewhere /uə/ tuagh /t̪ʰuəɣ/, duais /t̪uəʃ/
ui before ⟨m, n, ng, s⟩ /ɯ/ uisge /ɯʃkʲə/, duine /t̪ɯɲə/
before ⟨dh⟩ /ɯi/ buidhe /pɯi.ə/, suidhe /s̪ɯi.ə/
before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + consonant or word finally /ɯi/ druim /t̪ɾɯim/, muinntir /mɯiɲtʲɪɾʲ/
before ⟨ll, m, nn⟩ + vowel /ɯ/ cluinneadh /kɫ̪ɯɲəɣ/, tuilleadh /t̪ʰɯʎəɣ/
elsewhere /u/ cuir /kʰuɾʲ/, tuit /t̪ʰuʰtʲ/
See below for ⟨uimh⟩ when it precedes consonants
ù, ùi /uː/ sùil /s̪uːl/, cùis /kʰuːʃ/

Vowel-consonant combinationsEdit

⟨bh, dh, gh, mh⟩ are commonly pronounced as vowels or are deleted if they are followed by a consonant. For example, in cabhag the ⟨bh⟩ is usually /v/ but in cabhlach the ⟨bh⟩ has turned into an /u/ vowel, yielding /au/ rather than /av/ in the first syllable.

Letters Phoneme(s) Examples
abh, amh /au/ cabhlach /kʰauɫ̪əx/, samhradh /s̪auɾəɣ/
adh, agh /ɤː/ adhbran /ɤːpɾan/, ladhran /ɫ̪ɤːɾan/
aidh /ai/ snaidhm /s̪n̪ˠaim/
aigh /ɤi/ saighdear /s̪ɤitʲəɾ/, maighdean /mɤitʲən/
eagh /ɔː/ do theaghlach /t̪ə hjɤːɫ̪əx/
eamh /ɛu/ geamhradh /kʲɛuɾəɣ/, leamhrag /ʎɛuɾak/
iodh, iogh /iə/ tìodhlaic /tʰʲiəɫ̪ɪʰkʰʲ/, ioghnadh /iənəɣ/
ogh /oː/ foghnaidh /foːnɪ/, roghnaich /r̴oːnɪç/
oibh /ɤi/ goibhle /kɤilə/, goibhnean /kɤinən/
oigh /ɤi/ oighre /ɤiɾʲə/, sloighre /s̪ɫ̪ɤiɾʲə/
oimh /ɔi/ doimhne /t̪ɔiɲə/, doimhneachd /t̪ɔiɲəxk/
uimh /ui/ cuimhne /kʰuiɲə/, cuimhneachadh /kʰuiɲəxəɣ/

Epenthetic vowelsEdit

Where an ⟨l, n, r⟩ is followed (or in the case of ⟨m⟩, preceded) by a ⟨b, bh, ch, g, gh, m, mh⟩, an epenthetic vowel is inserted between the two. This is usually a copy of the vowel that preceded the ⟨l, n, r⟩. Examples; Alba /aɫ̪apə/, marbh /maɾav/, tilg /tʰʲilikʲ/, arm /aɾam/, iomradh /imiɾəɣ/.

If this process would lead to the sound sequence /ɛɾɛ/, the epenthetic vowel is an /a/ in many dialects, e.g dearg /tʲɛɾak/.

Defunct combinationsEdit

The acute accent is no longer used in standard Scottish Gaelic orthography, although it may be encountered in late 20th century writings, and occasionally in contemporary writings, especially in Canadian Gaelic.

Letter(s) Phoneme(s) Examples
á /a/ ás /as/
é, éi /eː/ Dùn Éideann /dun ˈeːtʲən̪ˠ/, éirigh /eːɾʲɪ/
ó, ói /oː/ /poː/, cóig /kʰoːkʲ/, mór /moːɾ/

Certain spellings have also been regularised where they violate pronunciation rules. "Tigh" in particular can still be encountered in house names and certain place names, notably Tighnabruaich and Eilean Tigh.

  • SoSeo
  • SudSiud
  • TighTaigh

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Scottish Gaelic Alphabet". GaelicMatters.com. Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  2. ^ Ross, Susan (2016). The Standardisation of Scottish Gaelic Orthography 1750–2007: A Corpus Approach (PhD thesis). University of Glasgow. pp. 171–183. In her review, Ross finds five traditional approaches to the use of accent marks in Scottish Gaelic prior to standardization.
  3. ^ "Gaelic Orthographic Conventions 2009" (PDF). Scottish Qualifications Authority, publication code BB4616. Retrieved 2022-05-17. First published by the Scottish Certificate of Education Examination Board (SCEEB) in 1981 and revised by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in 2005 and again in 2009.
  4. ^ Bauer, Michael; Ó Maolalaigh, Roibeard; Wherrett, Rob (2009). Survey of Gaelic Corpus Technology (PDF) (Technical report). University of Glasgow. p. 148.
    In the survey (n=103), 48.1% of respondents said they used GOC; 4.7% used "a traditional system"; 16% used a mixture of GOC and traditional orthography in the same text; and 9.4% used a mixture, depending upon context. 18.9% of respondents said they were unsure what orthography they used. Among translators responding, 94.7% used GOC; excluding translators, only 44% consistently used GOC and 23% were unsure what spelling system they used.
  5. ^ Gàidhlig 3–9/Gaelic 3–9 Guide (PDF) (Technical report). Halifax, Nova Scotia: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. 2009. p. 7.

SourcesEdit

  • Bauer, Michael Blas na Gàidhlig - The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation (2011) Akerbeltz ISBN 978-1-907165-00-9

External linksEdit

  • Gaelic Orthographic Conventions (2009), Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • A comprehensive critique of the "New" Gaelic Orthographic Conventions by a fluent speaker, originally published in the Stornoway Gazette