Appendix:Old Irish pronunciation
See w:Old Irish language § Phonology for detailed discussion of the phonology of Old Irish.
Some details of Old Irish phonetics are not known. /f/, /v/, and /ṽ/ (and their palatalized equivalents) may have been bilabial [ɸ], [β], and [β̃] rather than labiodental [f], [v], and [ṽ]. /sʲ/ may have been pronounced [ɕ] or [ʃ], as in modern Irish. /hʲ/ may have been the same sound as /h/ and/or /xʲ/. The vowels /i/ and /e/ may have had backed allophones like [ɨ] and [ə] when they were preceded by a plain consonant (which happened only in unstressed syllables).
The precise articulation of the fortis sonorants /n͈/, /n͈ʲ/, /l͈/, /l͈ʲ/, /r͈/, /r͈ʲ/ is unknown, but they were probably longer, tenser, and generally more strongly articulated than their lenis counterparts /n/, /nʲ/, /l/, /lʲ/, /r/, /rʲ/, as in the Modern Irish dialects (e.g. Connacht Irish) that still possess a four-way distinction in the coronal nasals and laterals. /n͈ʲ/ and /l͈ʲ/ may have been pronounced [ɲ̟] and [ʎ̟] respectively. The difference between /r͈(ʲ)/ and /r(ʲ)/ may have been that the former were trills while the latter were flaps.
|d||daimid||dʲ||derg||do (but dental), dew|
|ð||adarc, nead||ðʲ||buide||though; bathe you|
|h||a ṡúil ‘his eye’
a athair ‘her father’ (not written)
|hʲ||a ṡéitig ‘his wife’
a iasc ‘her fish’ (not written)
|l͈||lár, ball||l͈ʲ||lebor, céille||filth; million|
|l||ḟlaith, colainn||lʲ||ḟlesc, galar||pool; leaf|
|n͈||nóeb, ennac||n͈ʲ||nél, fírinne||tenth; inch|
|r͈||rún, berraid||r͈ʲ||rí, airrecht||rule (but trilled); real (but trilled)|
|r||beraid||rʲ||beirid||rule (but tapped); real (but tapped)|
|s||sacart||sʲ||sen||soon; bless you or possibly sheet|
|t||tarb||tʲ||tír||tool (but dental); tune|
|θ||tharb||θʲ||thír||thorn; birth you|
|ṽ||demon||ṽʲ||cnáim||(no equivalent; like /v/ and /vʲ/ but nasalized)|
|x||charaid||xʲ||cheist||loch (Scottish English); hue (pronounced strongly)|
|a||banbh||pot (General American)|
|eu̯||neuch||(no equivalent; a bit like coat in very posh RP)|
|iːa̯||cíall||fear (nonrhotic accent)|
|uːa̯||cúan||tour (nonrhotic accent)|
|uːi̯||druí||do it (but compressed into a single syllable)|
|ˈ||Primary stress (placed before the stressed syllable)|
|ˌ||Secondary stress (usually found only in compounds)|
- ^ Old Irish makes contrasts between plain and palatalized consonants. Palatalized consonants, denoted in the IPA by a superscript ⟨ʲ⟩, are pronounced with the body of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, in a manner similar to the articulation of the ⟨y⟩ sound in yes.
- The sounds /aːi̯/ and /oːi̯/ merged into a single phoneme during the Old Irish period. It is not known how this merged sound was pronounced, but by Early Modern Irish it was spelled ao(i) and pronounced [ɯː].
- ^ The sound /aːu̯/ merged with /oː/ during the Old Irish period.
- ^ The sound /oːu̯/ merged with /aːu̯/, which then later merged with /oː/.