The Fog of Terminology

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

Symbols

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Why all these brackets? Linguists have come up with these three different brackets to get around having to literally say all the time whether some word you are citing is in normal spelling or phonemes or something else. It simply saves time and typing. Angled brackets are used for giving words or sentences in "normal" orthography. For example: <a' ghaoth a tuath is a' ghrian> <the north wind and the sun>

[ ]

Square brackets indicate phonetic transcription. For example: [əɣˈɯːiatˈua s̩ əʝɾˈiːən̴̪] [t'n̩ˈɔːʷθ wɪnd ɛ̈n t'sʌn]

Terms Used

adjective

buadhair - a word category which describes nouns, e.g. green, big, sleepy.

adverb

co-ghnìomhair - a word category which modifies the verb, e.g. cordially, feverishly, slowly.

  1. Many English adverbs are easily identified by the -ly ending attached to an adjective, e.g. nice+ly = nicely, dark+ly = darkly. In Gaelic, many adjectives are formed by putting the particle gu in front of the adjective, e.g. math - good, gu math - well, luath - fast, gu luath - quickly.
  2. Temporal adverbs express concepts of time, e.g. yesterday, lately, directional adverbs express movement, e.g. upwards, downwards, and locational adverbs express location, e.g. up, down.

aspiration

analachadh - a puff of air either before or after a consonant. If it comes before the consonant it is often referred to as pre-aspiration.

case

tuiseal - a morphological category that encodes information about an element's grammatical role in a sentence. In Gaelic, the cases are:

Nominative Case for subject and object.

Dative Case for the object of a prepositional phrase.

Genitive Case for an expression of possession.

Vocative Case for directly addressing someone or some thing.

dental (sound)

fiaclach - a sound which is produced with the tongue and the teeth, e.g. in English - the, though.

feminine

boireann - a noun class.

Gaelic nouns are distributed into two groups, boireann and fireann, according to their different behaviours in terms of grammar, for example, with patterns of lenition, in their manner of presenting plural forms, or manner of affecting adjectives.

masculine

fireann - a noun class

Gaelic nouns are distributed into two groups, boireann and fireann, according to their different behaviours in terms of grammar, for example, with patterns of lenition, in their manner of presenting plural forms, or manner of affecting adjectives.

labial

bileach - a sound which is produced using either both lips or one lip and the tongue, e.g. English - bark, puddle, murky

lenition

sèimheachadh - a process by which the nature of a stop consonant is changed to a fricative. A stop, e.g. Gaelic [p] [t] [k], is produced by blocking your speech tract at some point and then suddenly releasing it. For example, the speech tract is blocked at the lips for p. A fricative is produced by constricting the vocal tract without closing it off. This happens with the narrowing of the lips for Gaelic f. Do NOT confuse this with aspiration, which is an entirely different process, although sometimes people confuse these two terms.

phrase

fràs - a number or words which form a sort-of independent structure larger than simple words, but smaller than a full sentence.

preposition

roimhear - a word category which expresses relations of space, time and modality, e.g. with, through, during, under.

proper noun

text

velar

co-chòsach - a sound produced with the back of the tongue and the velum. The is the part of the palate involved in making English g, k.

vowel

fuaimreag - A type of speech sound for which no part of your mouth, or further back in the mouth, is constricted or closed up. During a vowel sound, your vocal chords are vibrating, for example, with [e] or [a]. As a rule of thumb, if you can not keep the sound going for more than 3 seconds, it's probably not a vowel. The technical explanation is that a vowel is a resonant, syllabic sound produced when the vocal chords are vibrating and there is no obstruction in any part of the vocal tract.

The sounds of the vowels are given in the pronunciation section Fuaimean na Gàidhlig:

front vowel

A vowel produced with the tongue positioned in the front of the mouth. In Gaelic, the front vowels are: [i] [ɪ] [e] [ɛ]. Those front vowels are heard, respectively, in tea, tip, bait, bet. In Gaelic, there is a short and long version of all the front vowels.

back vowel

A vowel produced with the tongue positioned in the back of the mouth. In Gaelic, the back vowels are: [ɯ] [u] [ɤ] [o] [ɔ] [a]. The back vowels [ɯ] and [ɤ] are not present in English. Those back vowels, in English, are heard in boot [u], boat [o], caught [o], and father [a]. In Gaelic, the long [aː] is normally a back vowel. Short [a] flits between being back or front, depending on the dialect. In Gaelic, there is a short and long version of all the back vowels.



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