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Lesson by "The Irish People"
Review the sounds
of slender "c" this week. The slender sound, occurring when
the nearest vowel in the word is "e" or "i", resembles
the first sound in the English words "kin" or "keg."
Hold the lips in and widen the corners of the mouth slightly. Try
who?; céim (kay*m), step, degree; cill (kil), cell, churchyard;
citeal (KIT-uhl), kettle; clé (klay*), left; clis (klish),
fail; cneas (ki-NAS), skin; creid (kred), believe; glic (glik), clever,
cunning; feicim (FEK-im), I see; scian (SHKEE-uhn), knife; stailc
(steyelk), strike (labor dispute).
Slender "c" tends to have a slight (y) after it. Before
some vowel sounds, the (ky) sound will be more obvious than before
or -- in Connacht -- (kyawn), head; ceart (kyart), right; ceantar
(KYAN-tuhr), district; ceol (kyohl), music; cion (kyun), affection:
Tá cion agam air, I am fond of him; ciúin (KYOO-in),
Aspiration, a sound change occurring with several Irish consonants,
gives slender "c" a sound resembling (he-YUH) said rapidly.
We use (hy) as its symbol. Examples:
mo chiteal (muh
HYIT-uhl), my kettle; do cheann (duh hyoun), your head; ar chéirnín
(er hyay*r-NEEN), on a record.
Inside a word, aspirated slender "c" may sound like (h)
or (hy), depending on the region of Ireland. Examples:
or (FI-hye), twenty; droichead (DRUH-huhd), or (DRI-hyuhd), bridge;
óiche (EE-he) or (EE-hye), night; inchinn (IN-hin) or (IN-hyin),
brain; cluiche (KLI-he) or (KLI-hye), a game; dúiche (DOO-i-he)
or (DOO-i-hye), a district; flichshneachta (fli-HNAHK*-tuh) or (fli-HNYUHK*-tuh),
"ó" (oh) means "from". It aspirates initial
consonants following it: Is ó Chorcaigh dom (is oh K*OHRK-ee
duhm), I am from Cork. It combines with the pronouns, so learn these
from you (plural)
There are several common expressions or idioms making use of "ó".
uait? (kahd taw* oo-IT), What do you want? An answer can be: Tá
leabhar uaim (taw* LOU-wuhr oo-IM), I want a book.
Cad a bhí
uaidh? (kahd uh vee WOO-ee), What did he want? is another form of
A longer form
is: Cad tá ag teastáil (uh TAS-taw*-il) uait?, What
do you want? An answer is: Tá peann ag teastáil uaim
(taw* pyoun uh TAS-taw*-il oo-im). I want a pen.
Leaving from a
place or being from a place can be expressed with the help of "ó":
ó Bhaile Átha Cliath.
Cad as duit? (kahd
as dit), Where are you from? can be answered "Is ó Shligeach
dom" (is oh HLIG-ahk* duhm), I am from Sligo.
In pronouncing combinations of "ó" with pronouns,
the initial sound may resemble an English "w". "Uaim"
may sound like (woo-IM) with the sounds run together, or even like
gann (goun), scarce
deas (dyas), right,
expressions, remembering to aspirate after feminine nouns:
A polite man.
A difficult question. The difficult question. Scarce food. A lazy
mother. The lazy mother. A wide room. The left hand. The right hand.
The fat cat. The thin girl. The dark office. A dark office. The thin
woman. A thin woman.
Fear béasach. Ceist dheacair. An cheist dheacair. Bia gann.
Máthair leisciúil. An mháthair leisciúil.
Seomra leathan. An lámh chlé. An lámh dheas.
An cat ramhar. An cailín tanaí. An offig dhorcha. Oifig
dhorcha. An bhean thanaí. Bean thanaí.
key: (far BAY*-suhk*) (kesht YAK-uhr) (un hyesht YAK-uhr) (BEE-uh
goun) (MAW*-hir LESH-kyoo-il) (un VWAW*-hir LESH-kyoo-il) (SHOHM-ruh
LA-huhn) (un LAW*V hylay*) (un LAW*V yas) (un KAHT ROU-uhr) (un kah-LEEN
TAH-nee) (un IF-ig GUHR-uh-huh) (IF-ig GUHR-uh-huh) (un VAN HAH-nee)
There are several
aids in carrying on a conversation with someone more skilled than
yourself. If he speaks too rapidly, tell him:
maille, más é do thoil é (LOU-ir nees MWIL-e,
MAW* shay* duh HIL ay*), Speak more slowly, please.
é sin (AH-bir uh-REESH ay* shin), Say that again, is another
way to show that you are trying to understand.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.