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[xi] in Gaelic

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:05 pm
by Mairead
Hi, I was reading an analysis of non-lexical vocables in Scottish music (in Scots, English and Gaelic) and the following claim was made by the author:

"a vocable which falls outside the parameters of both Scots-English and Scots-Gaelic is [xi]"

(Please forgive the awkward 1980s language names ;) )

I'm no expert in the IPA, but is [xi] really not a syllable which exists in Gaelic? Is it not the syllable which begins "chì" and "chithinn"?

Tapadh leibh :D

[xi] in Gaelic

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:43 pm
by GunChleoc
It is a valid syllable, but unlike [hi:], I don't remember ever hearing it as a vocable

[xi] in Gaelic

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:20 pm
by Mairead
To clarify, she's talking about how Scots and Gaelic tend to stick to sounds that are possible within their own languages when coming up with vocables (excluding cases of borrowing vocables directly from other languages), so the main question is whether or not [xi] is an actual sound in Gaelic. [xi] exists as a vocable in canntaireachd. From what you say, it seems she was wrong on this point, and that [xi] is not an example of the phenomenon she is discussing (when languages will make vocables out of syllables which are permissible by the language's rules but never actually appear in words).

[xi] in Gaelic

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:55 pm
by GunChleoc
It's entirely possible that she made a mistake - I am not an expert on the subject at all.

[xi] in Gaelic

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:30 pm
by Mairead
No worries! I just didn't know enough about the IPA and about the finer details of Gaelic pronounciation to know if "chì" is not as hard a sound as [xi]. :D The thesis is a good one but the author is not a Gaelic speaker herself so it's possible she overlooked the existence of [xi] in some Gaelic words. :D