Fricatives

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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

In English when we write h after t, d, c, g, p, s, w, we form new sounds th, ch, gh, ph, sh, wh. In Gaelic, the letter h is used far more systematically in this way than in English. It's is important to note, in Gaelic, that with the single exception of ph [f], when h is added to a consonant, the resulting consonant is never pronounced as in English. In Gaelic, when h is added to the consonants (b m c d g p t s), we call the resultant sound a fricative. Once again we must distinguish between broad and slender fricatives. Only the following 9 consonants may have h written after them. Recognize that the translations of these cases are often approximate because the effect of lenition is sometimes difficult to translate outside a full sentence):

Broad

b → bh [v] Same as English v [vaː] bha was
[vɔ] bho from
[faLav] falbh leave!
m → mh [v] Same as English v [vaːhɪrʲ] mhàthair mother
[voːr] mhór big
[av] amh raw
c → ch [x] Same as Scottish English loch [Lɔx] loch loch (lake)
[xaj] chaidh went
[saLəx] salach dirty
d → dh [ɣ] [ɣaːg] dh'fhàg left
[ɣɔ͂] dhomh to me
[kLɤɣ] cladh ditch (n.)
[ʃɤɣ] seadh yes
[buəLəɣ] bualadh hitting
g → gh [ɣ] [ɣuNʲ] ghuin stung (v.)
[ɣaːlɪgʲ] Ghàidhlig Gaelic
[ɤɣ] agh heifer
[Lɤɣ] lagh law
p → ph [f] Same as English f [fɔːs] phòs married (v.)
[fɔuL] pholl mud
[faːʃdʲə] phàiste child
t → th [h] Same as English h [ha] tha is
[mah] math good
[maːhɪrʲ] màthair mother
[ahɪrʲ] athair father
s → sh [h] Same as English h [hɔn] shon sake
[hɯj] shuidh sat
[had] shad thrust (v.)
f → fh [v] Silent [haLd] fhalt his hair
[ul] fhuil his blood
[oːn] fhón his phone

Slender

b → bh [v] Same as English v [vel] bheil form of tha
[leiv] leibh with youse
[vile] bhile lip
[vj] [vjɔː] bheò alive
m → mh [v] Same as English v [viː] mhi I
[viːLʲ] mhill damaged
[vj] [vjauL] mheall deceived (v.)
c → ch [ç] [çiː] chì will see
[façə] faiche meadow
[çaNɪç] cheannaich bought
d → dh [ʝ] [ʝes] dheas south
[ʝu] dhiubh of them
[ʝaLɪç] dhealaich separated (v.)
[j] Same as English y [sɯj] suidh sit!
[sgaLpaj] Sgalpaigh Scalpay
g → gh [ʝ] [ʝaL] gheal white
[ʝiLʲə] ghille boy
[ʝaLəx] ghealach moon
[j] Same as English y [Laj] laigh laid (v.)
p → ph [f] Same as English f [fiːs] phìos piece
[fj] [fju.ər] phiuthar sister
[fjauN] pheann pen
t → th [h] Same as English h [higʲ] thig will come
[hiːLʲ] thill returned
[ç] [içə] ithe eating
[feːç] féith muscle
s → sh [h] Same as English h [hiːn] shìn stretched (v.)
[ç] [çauL] sheall showed
[h] [heinn] sheinn sang
f → fh Silent [ɛr] fhear man
[is] fhios his knowledge


NOTE: There is a small number of words with fh which are pronounced as [h]:

[heːn] fhéin self
[haLə] fhalbh leave!
[ha.əsd] fhathast yet



Fuaimean na Gàidhlig
Vowels - Consonants - Fricatives - Slenderisation - Pre-aspiration - Lenition - Helping vowel - Diphthongs
Hiatus - l n r - rt & rd - Vowels before rr ll nn - Unstressed vowels


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