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PostPosted: Fri 27 May 2022 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu 26 May 2022 4:04 pm
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Hi,
Trying to get serious about my Irish learning so have signed up here.

I have a question about the modern native usage of bh, mh and ph.

these are usually taught to be sounded as v/w, v/w an f respectively (Sorry, buy I'm good with the IPA yet)

I read an old CB grammer book which described the process of aspirating consonants. The process holds in modern spoken Irish with ch and gh. I.e. to make a hard c or g sound you block the air coming out of your throat with you tongue on the roof of your mouth briefly and when you release the air a c or g comes out. The ch and gh are made by only partially stopping the air before release, hence aspirated.

The same process can be applied to b, m and p but with the lips. To make these sounds you push some air into a closed mouth and when you open your lips the desired sound comes out.

Aspirating as for ch and gh can be applied to b, m and p but using the lips instead of the tongue and the roof of the mouth so with m and b you get a sound that could be described as an English v made without touching the teeth to the lower lip. I believe this is the Spanish b sound . You can do the same with ph

The English ph, whatever it was in the past is now an f


My question is, is this still the case or do modern speakers simply say v/w for bh/mh and f for ph?

Another way to ask it is: do your upper teeth touch your lower lip when you say bhí or phóca?

This is very difficult to hear and when I ask the question to people they tend to be unaware of how they make sounds, wondering if there is any consensus here.

thanks,


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PostPosted: Fri 27 May 2022 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu 27 May 2021 3:22 am
Posts: 368
gilmo789 wrote:
Hi,
Trying to get serious about my Irish learning so have signed up here.

I have a question about the modern native usage of bh, mh and ph.

these are usually taught to be sounded as v/w, v/w an f respectively (Sorry, buy I'm good with the IPA yet)

I read an old CB grammer book which described the process of aspirating consonants. The process holds in modern spoken Irish with ch and gh. I.e. to make a hard c or g sound you block the air coming out of your throat with you tongue on the roof of your mouth briefly and when you release the air a c or g comes out. The ch and gh are made by only partially stopping the air before release, hence aspirated.

The same process can be applied to b, m and p but with the lips. To make these sounds you push some air into a closed mouth and when you open your lips the desired sound comes out.

Aspirating as for ch and gh can be applied to b, m and p but using the lips instead of the tongue and the roof of the mouth so with m and b you get a sound that could be described as an English v made without touching the teeth to the lower lip. I believe this is the Spanish b sound . You can do the same with ph

The English ph, whatever it was in the past is now an f


My question is, is this still the case or do modern speakers simply say v/w for bh/mh and f for ph?

Another way to ask it is: do your upper teeth touch your lower lip when you say bhí or phóca?

This is very difficult to hear and when I ask the question to people they tend to be unaware of how they make sounds, wondering if there is any consensus here.

thanks,


The v and f used to be bilateral fricatives all over Ireland/. i.e. the f was not labiodental, but made with both lips, which I think you describing. But only the very oldest, if any, speakers would still have this. This is normally just what an English speaker would think of as a v and an f.

But it should be added that the broad v can be more of a w. Abhaile in the north is more "awallye", but in the south "avali".


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PostPosted: Fri 27 May 2022 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu 26 May 2022 4:04 pm
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the broad bh/mh was another question I had. As I understand it you make the sound as an unrounded English w. I.e. read is if bh='w' but don't bring the corners of the lips together to in an 'oo' shape as you start.


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PostPosted: Sat 28 May 2022 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu 27 May 2021 3:22 am
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gilmo789 wrote:
the broad bh/mh was another question I had. As I understand it you make the sound as an unrounded English w. I.e. read is if bh='w' but don't bring the corners of the lips together to in an 'oo' shape as you start.


Well, I think you may be describing something in Northern dialects. It is more likely to be a proper V in Munster.

Listen to the three dialects saying "a bhó" at http://www.fuaimeanna.ie/en/Recordings.aspx?Ortho=bh

I don't see the task of learning Irish as requiring learning how to pronounce all three dialects. It is much better to pick one and stick to it.


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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun 2022 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat 31 Jul 2021 8:03 pm
Posts: 71
This video gives a very good broad overview of the Irish consonants https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI1RF7JfcFs.

p (broad and slender): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=173
ph (broad and slender) (=f): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=300
b (broad and slender): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=676
bh (broad and slender): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=757
(broad bh in Ulster, being the semivowel [w]: https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=794)
m (broad and slender): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=873
mh (broad and slender): https://youtu.be/nI1RF7JfcFs?t=889
(he doesn't talk about broad mh for Ulster but I think it's identical to broad bh in Ulster)

Slender 'mh' is a nasalised version of slender 'bh'.
Broad 'mh' is a nasalised version of broad 'bh' [with the exception of Ulster (and sometimes Connacht), where broad 'bh and broad 'mh' are both [w], I think].

This parallels broad/slender 'm' being a nasal version of broad/slender 'b'


Last edited by Caoilte on Mon 06 Jun 2022 7:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun 2022 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat 31 Jul 2021 8:03 pm
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gilmo789 wrote:
the broad bh/mh was another question I had. As I understand it you make the sound as an unrounded English w. I.e. read is if bh='w' but don't bring the corners of the lips together to in an 'oo' shape as you start.


Having listened to the recording posted by Djwebb, to me, broad 'bh' in Ulster sounds like [w] i.e. same as in English 'wet'. This is a rounded semivowel corresponding to the rounded vowel [u].

What you seem to be referring to is the unrounded version of [w] which is [ɰ]. This sound can often be heard in Irish e.g. directly after the 'c' in the word 'cuid'. However, it isn't a phoneme in its own right since speakers never deliberately set out to say it (I don't think) i.e. it is just automatically sounded when transitioning between certain broad consonants and a succeeding slender vowel.

(See the semivowel table at this webpage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semivowel)


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