Helping vowel

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A vowel is inserted between two consonants in certain words that usually contain l, r, or n. This type of inserted vowel can be called a helping vowel, svarabhakti vowel, or an epenthetic vowel. It's usually an exact copy of the preceding stressed vowel. Listen to the following examples:

[aLabə] Alba Alba
[marav] marbh marbh
[faLav] falbh leave!
[aram] arm weapon
[dɔrɔxə] dorcha dark
[ɛnɛm] ainm name (n.)
[dʲɛrɛg] dearg red
[dʲarav] dearbh real
[baLagəm] balgam mouthful
[dɤrʲɤv] doirbh difficult
[uruxər] urchar shot (n.)


For guidelines on the exact nature of the helping vowel, see the section on the Helping Vowel.

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