The Fog of Terminology

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
Am mùthadh mar a bha e 05:31, 3 dhen Dàmhair 2013 le Susanharris (Deasbaireachd | mùthaidhean) (adverb)
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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>

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

Terms Used


buadhair - a word category which describes nouns, eg: green, big, sleepy.


co-ghnìomhair - a word category which modifies the verb, eg: cordially, feverishly, slowly.

  1. (Originally) easily identifiable in English by the -ly ending.
  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, downwards.


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.

dental (sound)

fiaclach - a sound which is produced with the tongue and the teeth, eg: Engl. the, though.


boireann - a noun class. Gaelic nouns are distributed into two groups according to their different behaviour in terms of grammar (eg lenition.)


bileach- a sound which is produced using either both lips or one lip and the tongue, eg: Engl. bark, puddle, murky


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


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


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


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

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