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Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:33 pm
by Droigheann
This is probably of miniature importance, but it's been bugging me for a few days as I can't see any solution ...

I know that in Gaelic one spells as in English, i.e. /eɪ, bi:, si:, di:, .../, and that many initialisms keep the English form, but even in such cases this is lenited when appropriate, i.e. "am BBC" -> "air a' BhBC", which I presume is pronounced /ɛrʲ ə vi: bi: si:/.

But what if the initialism begins with an M - /ɛm/? How would you pronounce e.g. "sa MhIT"? /sa vi: aɪ ti:/? /sa ɛv aɪ ti:/? /sa ɛm eɪtʃ aɪ ti:/? Somehow neither seems 'correct' ...

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:13 pm
by akerbeltz
Well, it wouldn't be sa MhIT as MIT is a definite noun phrase so it would be ann an MIT 8-)

There is no hard rule about this. Mostly people would avoid lenition is such a case i.e. instead of do MhIT you'd end up with dha MIT. If someone did write do MhIT and someone else HAD to read it, most like they'd expand MIT i.e. do Mhassachusetts Institute of Technology.

Acronyms on the whole don't work well in Gaelic and are much less common.

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:57 pm
by Droigheann
Thanks! Good to know that for once the avoidance strategy one tends to as a leaner would be used by fluent speakers too. :)
akerbeltz wrote: Well, it wouldn't be sa MhIT as MIT is a definite noun phrase so it would be ann an MIT 8-)
Funny, some googling suggests it tends to be "the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" but "the MIT", but I've never been there and this is a Gaelic forum, so I'll let it be. :priob:

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:26 am
by faoileag
As there is an 'of' in the title, there would be no first article in Gaelic (Genitive chain rule: only last noun in phrase can have article and be in Genitive), so regardless of the presence or absence of the initial article in English, it would probably have none in Gaelic.

Having said that, I'd probably instinctively Gaelicise it insofar as I'd say/write ann am MIT (am replaces an before bfmp).

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:42 am
by akerbeltz
Having said that, I'd probably instinctively Gaelicise it insofar as I'd say/write ann am MIT (am replaces an before bfmp).
Ah but that opens the can of worms about whether is IS indeed /m/ initial, because you say "em eye tee" :priob:

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:36 am
by faoileag
In writing at least... can't overcome my trained instincts! 8-)

Leniting M at the beginning of an initialism

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:42 am
by GunChleoc
Well, pronunciation tops letters - you don't say "an unit" in English but "a unit" - unlike "apple" in "an apple", "unit" does not start with a vowel when you say it. It's a common learner's mistake though, isn't it? ;)