New generation of Gaelic speakers

Na tha a' tachairt ann an saoghal na Gàidhlig agus na pàipearan-naidheachd / What's happening in the Gaelic world and the newspapers
deardron
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:40 am
Location: Innis-Tìle/An Ruis
Contact:

Unread postby deardron » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:43 pm

Seonaidh wrote:You see, you are making the mistake of starting from an English spelling convention standpoint.

Well, I'm not quite getting your example, Seonaidh.. My point was that Gaelic orthography sometimes needs more letters to express some sound than that of English, which makes it difficult. In this topic we are talking about people who are learning Gaelic and not necessarily all of them are native English speakers. So if you mean your knowledge of English easens your study of Gaelic orthography and phonetics, then I have nothing to say against it. But for me as a Russian native speaker and "writer" Gaelic orthography looks a bit 'heavyweight'. I'm sure a lot of other beginners in Gaelic would say the same. There's no hint to whether English orthography is more difficult or not, and I don't quite grasp how English can be relevant here.



User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1735
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Unread postby akerbeltz » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:57 pm

I daresay that Gaelic orthography is about as much of a "challenge" as the English one. Neither more nor less.


I'll echo that with a tentative yet decided yesno.

Gaelic is more challenging as a fair number of the rules are fairly opaque and not immediately obvious to the uninitiated.

On the bright side, the spelling is very phonemic, I had trouble filling more than an A5 page with exceptions for my book. Rules cover virtually everything, you just have to learn them.

User avatar
Thrissel
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:33 pm
Language Level: eadar-mheadhanach
Location: Glaschu

Unread postby Thrissel » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:11 pm

I'm not so certain. It may just be me, ie my ears, but I do very often hear (or think I hear) the same letters (or groups of letters) in he same words pronounced distinctly differently by the speakers on my TYG cassette, by Ruaridh MacIllEathain in his Litreachan and by the guy reading the news on this page.

Or do you mean that the rules are there anyway, only they differ according to dialects?

deardron
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:40 am
Location: Innis-Tìle/An Ruis
Contact:

Unread postby deardron » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:53 pm

Thrissel wrote:I'm not so certain. It may just be me, ie my ears, but I do very often hear (or think I hear) the same letters (or groups of letters) in he same words pronounced distinctly differently by the speakers on my TYG cassette, by Ruaridh MacIllEathain in his Litreachan and by the guy reading the news on this page.

Hear hear, exactly my words! The sound files on TAIC are sometimes different too.

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1735
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:08 am

Ah, yes, different speakers may have different outcomes but that does not negate the existence of a rule.

For example, vowels lengthen or diphtongise before ll nn m rr unless followed by a vowel. Lengthening happens before rr:

seall /ʃauL/ sealltainn /ʃauLdɪNʲ/ > sealladh /ʃaLəɣ/
ceann /kʲãũN/ > ceannard /kʲãNəRd/
cam /kãũm/ campa /kãũmbə/ > caman /kaman/
fearr /fja:R/ feairrde /fjaːRdʲə/ > fearrad /fjaRəd/

It also happens normally with -i-:
im /iːm/ simplidh /ʃiːmblɪ/ > ime /imə/

Some dialects break /iː/ into /ɤi/ so we just have to add that rule:
> im /ɤim/ simplidh /ʃɤimblɪ/

Most rules are regular (or vary, depending on your POV) along these lines. If there's a particular one that's foxing you, shoot, and I'll tell you if there's a rule 8-)

User avatar
Thrissel
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:33 pm
Language Level: eadar-mheadhanach
Location: Glaschu

Unread postby Thrissel » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:00 am

akerbeltz wrote:If there's a particular one that's foxing you, shoot, and I'll tell you if there's a rule 8-)


Ay, I'm certain there are rules, but (to me) there seem to be much more exceptions to these rules than you imply. For instance,what's troubling me probably most recently (the more so as I've noticed I'm beginning to pick this up) is why MacIllEathain pronounces the end of words like dèanamh, theagamh &c with [-u]/[-ɯ] rather than [-əv].

Or three particular bits from some speakers on my TYG cassette: Ealasaid as [jalə-] rather than [elə-] (even though it was in the vocative), tighinn as [ki-] rather than [tʃi-], and ticead as [tɪketʃ] rather than [tʃikət] (especially the -d, as there's [-t] even in English).

And I'm not sure I couldn't pester you with a new one each week... :( (Good news is I won't, as I realise the "may just be me, ie my ears" aspect - I've been known to have heard [k] instead of [tn] even in my native language... :priob: )

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1735
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:19 am

"may just be me, ie my ears"

Yes and no. Let' see...
dèanamh, theagamh &c with [-u]/[-ɯ] rather than [-əv].

Correct. The /əv/ pronunciation is considered rather formal in most Gaelic dialects and most have turned final -(a)ibh and -(e)amh into /u/. As a rule of thumb, use /əv/ when posh, otherwise /əv/.

Ealasaid as [jalə-] rather than [elə-] (even though it was in the vocative)

You heard right. First, the vocative doesn’t come into it in this case. This is something to do with Old Irish forms which in some words results in an initial /j/ glide. Now the following rule is, let’s say, 65% accurate. If you get ea before /L/ or /R/, you more often than not get a glide before the vowel:
eala /jaLə/, ealain /jaLəNʲ/, earrach /jaRəx/
tighinn as [ki-] rather than [tʃi-], and ticead as [tɪketʃ] rather than [tʃikət] (especially the -d, as there's [-t] even in English).

That’s your ears and to some extent, you need to read chapter 3 of Blas na Gàidhlig ;) The realisation of slender t in Gaelic varies between /tʲ/ and /tʃ/ (but not the English /tʃ/). English /tʃ/ often involves lip-rounding, Gaelic doesn't. The other variant is /tʲ/; use the blade of your tongue (the bit just behind the tip) to touch your alveolar ridge (the bony bit behind your teeth). That produces a palatalised t. English speakers find that one hard to categorise because English doesn't have it.
Mind, /tʲ/ and /kʲ/ have a lot of similarities. In some dialects, slender k has turned into /tʲ/, esp in Argyll where you get /tʲimər/ for ciamar.

As far as ticead goes, remember it's a recent loanword (that has not been fully gaelicised by many speakers) and there are variants: /tʲigəd/ /tigəRd/ /tʲigʲədʲ/ /tigəd/ ... bit of a free for all that one.

Did that help? :priob:

User avatar
Thrissel
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:33 pm
Language Level: eadar-mheadhanach
Location: Glaschu

Unread postby Thrissel » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:00 pm

Thanks a lot, it helped for sure. (Although I think that phrases like "the following rule is, let’s say, 65% accurate" don't promote the idea of Gaelic orthography being so much stricter then the English one :priob: ).

BTW, Blas na Gàdhlig - that's the book that Amazon tell me should appear on 1 October? I'll be on the watch... :priob:

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1735
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:24 pm

Glad I could help. Feel free to hit me with more.
the following rule is, let’s say, 65% accurate" don't promote the idea of Gaelic orthography being so much stricter then the English one

LOL on the whole it is, you just picked one that's a bit hard to predict. There's initial ea-, oi, ui and unstressed -a-; they're hard to predict and just about the only rules where I have to tell people the rule "mostly" applies. I couch it that way because there's always some smart aleck who pipes up with a random word referring to the type of moth you find on taxidermists' jackets which has ea/L/ without the glide or something like that.
that's the book that Amazon tell me should appear on 1 October


It'll be closer to christmas... the BnaG research over the summer took way more of my time than I ever expected. I'll post on here when it's ready.

User avatar
Seonaidh
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Faisg air Gleann Rathais

Unread postby Seonaidh » Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:13 pm

deardron wrote:Well, I'm not quite getting your example, Seonaidh.. My point was that Gaelic orthography sometimes needs more letters to express some sound than that of English, which makes it difficult. In this topic we are talking about people who are learning Gaelic and not necessarily all of them are native English speakers. So if you mean your knowledge of English easens your study of Gaelic orthography and phonetics, then I have nothing to say against it. But for me as a Russian native speaker and "writer" Gaelic orthography looks a bit 'heavyweight'. I'm sure a lot of other beginners in Gaelic would say the same. There's no hint to whether English orthography is more difficult or not, and I don't quite grasp how English can be relevant here.

I don't know much Russian but, from what I remember, it has one or two orthographic quirks but is essentially "regular", in much the same way as, say, Spanish is.

Like English. however, its orthographic system is based on certain letters representing certain sounds, with only occasional changes due to context (i.e., what other letters are about). Indeed, in that respect, it is far more regular than English. It does, though, seem to have one feature that Gaelic has - and that English speakers can find a bit of a challenge: that is, when you get a Y-glide sort of thing (e.g. in such English words as "Serbia" or "bee"), it's not shown in English - but it is in Russian and Gaelic (Russian, e.g., has a fair set of Y-glide plus vowel characters, while Gaelic often uses [i]dh in that context).

Perhaps if I said "Anglo-centric" it was too strict: it's just that most people learning Gaelic seem to be native English speakers. Gaelic orthography is highly context-specific, e.g. with the "broad" and "slender" thing, and the fact that most people coming to learn Gaelic as a non-first language have previous experience only of non-context-specific spelling systems often leads them to suppose that Gaelic orthography is "more difficult", rather than just different to what they're used to.

On another thing - the "jannoo" (dèanamh) thing with bh and mh - this also happens in, e.g., Welsh - and various fossils survive in English to indicate that it was probably once widespread there too (e.g. the poetic "e'er" for "ever"). Not surprisingly, e.g., the Welsh for "throat" (gwddf) is usually said "gwddw". Sometimes it has become the "norm", e.g. the Spanish "cerveza" is actually from the same root as the Welsh "cwrw" (leann), as can be seen by looking at the Welsh plural of it - "cyrfeydd", where the original V sound is still there. Likewise, it won't surprise you to learn that the "jannoo" quoted earlier is actually tha Manx for "dèanamh".

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1735
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:53 pm

Oh that kind of change is as common as muck across languages - v/u often cause changes to nearby vowels (because they involve rounding of the lips which spreads easily). Even English has examples: shoot < Germanic *skeutan.

User avatar
Seonaidh
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Faisg air Gleann Rathais

Unread postby Seonaidh » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:27 am

Werry well, Mhgr. Ackerbilk. I didn't get your Germanic example, doch. Of vague note is the Geordie de - divvent for dèan - na dèan - plus the fact that the words "ti" (do) and "fro" (bho) develop a trailing V when before vowels (a bit like how you sometimes get dh' in Gaelic, sbo).

I'm getting a phrasebook together for the use of Hungarians when visiting tobacconists' in Gaelic-speaking areas: could somebody tell me the Gaelic for "My hovercraft is full of eels", please? (Tha am bàta-foluaimein agam làn easgannan?).

User avatar
Thrissel
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:33 pm
Language Level: eadar-mheadhanach
Location: Glaschu

Unread postby Thrissel » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:04 am

Seonaidh wrote:I'm getting a phrasebook together for the use of Hungarians when visiting tobacconists' in Gaelic-speaking areas: could somebody tell me the Gaelic for "My hovercraft is full of eels", please? (Tha am bàta-foluaimein agam làn easgannan?).


Maybe the tr*nsl*t**n of "Do you waaaant ... do you waaaant ... to come back to my place, bouncy-bouncy?" would come in handier... (A bheil thu ag iarraiiiidh... a bheil thu ag iarraiiiidh... a dhol air ais dhan àite agam, bòcaidh-bòcaidh?"?)

User avatar
Neas Olc
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 6:12 am
Language Level: Briste
Location: A'Chuimrigh (à Toronto)

Unread postby Neas Olc » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:27 am

create a new generation of Gaelic speakers is the only way to save the language

Thanks Captain Obvious.

User avatar
Thrissel
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:33 pm
Language Level: eadar-mheadhanach
Location: Glaschu

Unread postby Thrissel » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:28 pm

A Sheonaidh, thachair mi (by a string of sheer coincidences) ris an làrach-lìn seo:

http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/hovercraft.htm

A bheil thu eòlach aice? Tha eadhon an Ungairis aca, le faidhle fuaime... :priob: