A printable pronunciation guide to Gaelic spelling

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

First of all, thanks for all the people who wrote in suggesting we do a reference guide to Gaelic spelling they could just print out - Gun robh mìle math agaibh, a chàirdean!

Second, a small apology. When we started, we thought we could collapse it into one page - which by the end of the day had turned into two pages - and after we added the diphthongs, it had turned into three. And after we formatted it into something more readable and less confusing, it had turned into four whole pages... then came a long pause while I was writing Blas na Gàidhlig. It has grown considerably, so I've created a full version (with examples) and a concise version (without examples.)

Just one or two things you need to know (apart from knowing how to read the IPA) to use the guide.

  • Anything in brackets means it can either be there or not: a(i) stands for both a and ai, à(i) for à and ài etc.
  • C stands for Consonant, because sometimes it's important whether a sound is followed by a vowel or consonant. For example, -agh is pronounced as [ɤ], whereas -aghC is pronounced as a long vowel, [ɤː]
  • (leath.) stands for leathann, broad and (caol) for caol, for slender
  • A hyphen before a letter means it's at the end of a word, one hyphen in front and one after means it's in the middle of a word somewhere. No hyphen means it's at the beginning, for example: c as in ceòl, -c- as in bacadh and -c as in mac. Quite straightforward.
  • With consonants, the second entry is always the lenited consonant, but that's fairly obvious as the examples contain the leniting element, e.g. mo chas

That's it really. You can get the full version here that has examples, and the concise version with the same number of rules but without examples.

We've also added a few step-by-step examples of how to use this list here.



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