Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
akerbeltz
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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by akerbeltz » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:17 pm

Ah sorry, I forgot the tʲ question. It's in the tongue position and partly the lips. For English tʃ it's the tip of your tongue touching the t position at the same time as making a ʃ sound - so in essence it's two sounds made at the same time. Plus English tends to have a certain amount of lip rounding with tʃ sounds (a bit like kissing someone at the same time).

For Gaelic tʲ, which is just one sound, it's not the tip but a bit further back which touches the roof of your mouth. If you want to exaggerate this position initially, make the tʲ sound while the tip of your tongue touches your bottom teeth. It doesn't have to be extreme but it will help you with the principle involved. Also, grin slightly while saying tʲ because both tʲ and dʲ involve slightly unrounded lips (the opposite of what English does). The easiest way to unround your lips is to grin a bit while making the sound.



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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by iolair » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:06 pm

Akerbeltz agus Niall,

Glè mhath! Mòran taing airson ur freagairtean!

I think I need to listen more closely. "P" still sounds like my English "p" and "b" still sounds like my English "b". "Bùth" still sounds to me like it begins with the same sound as in "Bob", not like "p" with a puff of air. At least I think I know what I am shooting for now!

Iolair

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by akerbeltz » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:37 pm

I think I need to listen more closely. "P" still sounds like my English "p" and "b" still sounds like my English "b". "Bùth" still sounds to me like it begins with the same sound as in "Bob", not like "p" with a puff of air. At least I think I know what I am shooting for now!
Not doing this face to face makes it hard to judge how good your ears are. My advice is usually not to trust your ears too much, in most people their hearing is conditioned by their L1 (first language) so if you grew up with /b/ and /pʰ/ it may be that you will never be able to reliably tell the difference. On the bright side, no native speaker can see into your ears, so if you continue to hear /b/ and /pʰ/ in Gaelic (rather than, using close IPA, /p/ and /pʰ/), that's not a problem, as you will still get the right meaning from listening. The key to gloss over such problems is to hone production because that's what the native speaker hears.

In particular with b d g initial words you can cheat so if you struggle with bùth, stick an s in front of it and say sbùth and your mouth (if you're an L1 English speaker) should default to the correct Gaelic type b.

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by virtualvinodh » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:34 am

Thanks for the explanation Niall & akerbeltz !

V
Gàidhlig a-mhàin | Gàidhlig gu brath |

An Inseannach in Alba learning Gàidhlig Albannach :)

http://www.virtualvinodh.com

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by Níall Beag » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:03 am

iolair wrote:I think I need to listen more closely. "P" still sounds like my English "p" and "b" still sounds like my English "b". "Bùth" still sounds to me like it begins with the same sound as in "Bob", not like "p" with a puff of air. At least I think I know what I am shooting for now!
B is like P without the puff. P has more of a puff than in English.

You can practise this with the aid of a piece of paper, or with just your hand. If you hold a piece of paper at the top and hang it in front of your mouth, you will see it fly away from you whenever you aspirate a consonant. If you use your hand, you're just feeling for the puff against your skin. (There will always be some air movement, naturally, otherwise there wouldn't be any sound at all.)

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by iolair » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:35 pm

Tapadh leibh, Akerbeltz and Niall.

I will try both the paper drill and the bùth-sbùth drill.

I'm not shocked to hear you (Akerbeltz) think listening has built-in difficulties - as this issue is my proof! - but listening has been my main learning activity. I listen to radio programs and repeat what I hear. I enjoy it, so I will continue, but I will keep in mind the point you have made.

Mòran taing airson ur cuideachaidh!
Iolair

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by akerbeltz » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Don't get me wrong - listening IS a VERY useful exercise. After all, you have to be able to understand what is said to you and listening goes beyond just the phonemes, you have to learn stress, sentence melody and so on. I'm NOT suggesting people don't listen or don't try to listen 'better'. I'm just pointing out there are inherent cross-linguistic problems and that if your ears just aren't doing as you want them to do, that you can get away with a lot as long as your mouth is making the right sounds.

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by iolair » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:50 pm

Latha math dhuibh Akerbeltz,

Tha mi a' tuigsinn ur mineachadh - gu math soillear!
Bidh mi a' leantainn leis a bhith ag eisteachd airson "content", ach bidh mi beagan nas faiceallaiche leis na fuaimean.

Mòran taing a-rithist,
Iolair

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by poor_mouse » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:33 pm

akerbeltz wrote:On the bright side, no native speaker can see into your ears, so if you continue to hear /b/ and /pʰ/ in Gaelic (rather than, using close IPA, /p/ and /pʰ/), that's not a problem, as you will still get the right meaning from listening.
Yes, for all my Russian friends from Moscow University, initial "B" are /b/, not /p/, though this /b/ differs from the usual English and Russian /b/.
Eilidh -- Luchag Bhochd

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by akerbeltz » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:50 am

Ok, ending the debate on voiced vs voiceless. Here's some the spectrograms from some of the recordings Ladefoged at al took from Lewis speakers. As you can see (if you know what to look for), there is no voicing. Zilch. End of.

Image

In contrast, here is voiced (voicing is seen as the grey 'noise' right at the start at the bottom of the diagram)
Image

I am mainly struggling on the vowels - [ɔ], [ɛ], [ɤ].


I missed that, sorry. This is not too hard. Most vowels are a function of just a few parameters like mouth opening, lip rounding and tongue position. So assuming your language has [o] and [e], here's what you have to do:
[o] > [ɤ] - really easy, just grin hard. The only difference between the two is lip rounding, [o] is round, the other one 'spread'.
[o] > [ɔ] - the only differene here is openness. in other words, say [o] and open your mouth wider (ok, well spotted, your tongue slides back in your mouth a little too
[e] > [ɛ] - same as with the above, go for [e] and the open your mouth wider and slide your tongue back a bit

Hope that helps

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by poor_mouse » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:51 am

So, Akerbeltz, if it would be /b/ in "baga", we would see low noise at the beginning of the spectrogram?

I think that 'b-effect' for us arises because there is no aspiration after the voiceless /p/ and the vowel.

In Russian, /p/ is not so aspirated, as in English, but it's aspirated nevertheless.

So, we do not hear /p/ if it is not aspirated, it 'seems' that voice simply suppressed at the beginning of the word, where /b/ must be.

But it means that 'b' is really voiceselss here, of course.
Eilidh -- Luchag Bhochd

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by akerbeltz » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:50 pm

Using close IPA for now (i.e. voiced, [p] unvoiced unaspirated, [pʰ] voiceless aspirated)

The 'teeth' at the bottom of the second, single diagram is the voicing, yes. There is nothing else going on because between .33 and .48 your lips (since it's a ) are closed and the only action is your vocal chords vibrating. Then, where all hell breaks loose, is where your lips open so there's a little bit of 'noise' but then you immediately go into those nice formant curves for the vowel.

In the six Gaelic examples, you can see the voicing for the nn in beannachd and l in dealan whereas in the other examples where you get stops in the middle of a word (e.g. gagach) everything just cuts out while your vocal tract is closed off somewhere and nothing happens. Including no voicing.

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by poor_mouse » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:48 am

Mòran taing, tha mi a' tuigsinn a-nis!
Eilidh -- Luchag Bhochd

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by GunChleoc » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:31 pm

One other thing that might help with practicing the Gaelic b is to imagine you're holding your breath while saying p.
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

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Re: Pronunciation of Consonants in Gaelic

Unread post by poor_mouse » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:26 pm

Seadh, 's e an rud seo a tha mi a' feuchainn. :)
Eilidh -- Luchag Bhochd

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