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Appendix:Old Irish pronunciation

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Old Irish pronunciations in Wiktionary entries.

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.

Consonants
Plain Palatalized[1] English approximations
IPA Example IPA Example
b invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː bó bʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː bél boot; beautiful
d invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː daimid dʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː derg do (but dental), dew
ð invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː adarc, nead ðʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː buide though; bathe you
f invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː fuil
phóc
fʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː fín
phersan
fool; fuel
ɡ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː gaibid ɡʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː gér goose; argue
ɣ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː ag ɣʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː aig (no equivalent)
h invalid IPA characters ([:g]), replace : with ː, g with ɡ (not usually spelled) hʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː (not usually spelled) hand; hew
k invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː caraid kʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː ceist coot; cute
lár, ball ʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː lebhor, céille filth; million
l invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː laith, colainn lʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː lesc, galar pool; leaf
m invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː mór mʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː milis moot; mute
nóeb, ennac ʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː nél, fírinne tenth; inch
n invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː gonaid nʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː ne noon; new
ŋ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː ngaibid ŋʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː ngér long; angular
p invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː póc pʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː persan poor; pure
rún, berraid ʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː rí, airrecht rule (but trilled); real (but trilled)
r invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː beraid rʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː beirid rule (but tapped); real (but tapped)
s invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː sacart sʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː sen soon; bless you or possibly sheet
t invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː tarb tʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː tír tool (but dental); tune
θ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː tharb θʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː thír thorn; birth you
v invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː aball vʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː gaibid voodoo; view
demon ʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː cnáim (no equivalent; like /v/ and /vʲ/ but nasalized)
x invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː charaid xʲ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː cheist loch (Scottish English); hue (pronounced strongly)
Vowels
IPA Examples English approximation
Monophthongs
a invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː banbh pot (General American)
bás father
e invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː bein best
bél pay
i invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː bith kit
mí meet
o invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː bocc cloth
bó boat
u invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː cullach good
cúl too
Short diphthongs
au̯ daum house
eu̯ neuch (no equivalent; a bit like coat in very posh RP)
iu̯ do·biur (no equivalent)
Long diphthongs
aːi̯[2] áes prize
aːu̯[3] dáu loud
eːu̯ béo stay with
iːa̯ cíall fear (nonrhotic accent)
iːu̯ díummus be with
oːi̯[2] cóem void
oːu̯[4] bóu go with
uːa̯ cúan tour (nonrhotic accent)
uːi̯ dr do it (but compressed into a single syllable)
Supersegmentals
IPA Explanation
ˈ invalid IPA characters ([:g]), replace : with ː, g with ɡ Primary stress (placed before the stressed syllable)
ˌ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ː Secondary stress (usually found only in compounds)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 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 [ɯ invalid IPA characters ([:]), replace : with ːː].
  3. ^ The sound /aːu̯/ merged with /oː/ during the Old Irish period.
  4. ^ The sound /oːu̯/ merged with /aːu̯/, which then later merged with /oː/.