Unstressed vowels

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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

In Gaelic, the stress (emphasis) usually falls on the first syllable of a word. It follows that all vowels in second and subsequent syllables are unstressed. In Scottish Gaelic, long vowels never occur unstressed.. Generally speaking, there are only three vowels which occur unstressed in Gaelic. These are:

  1. an obscure vowel [ə] like e in the
  2. an [ɪ] vowel similar to i in bit
  3. a clear [a] vowel like a in cat in Scottish English

The first two are by far the most common.

  1. [ə] occurs before (phonetically) broad consonants and in final position after broad consonants
  2. [ɪ] occurs before (phonetically) slender consonants and in final position after slender consonants
  3. [a] occurs frequently but Scottish Gaelic spelling does not indicate it. Such instances must be noted and learnt as you go along.

When it is somewhere else, the spelling normally indicates that, somehow.

Susbaint

Hyphens

When it occurs on the second syllable, this is often indicated by means of a hyphen:

[əNʲˈʃin] an-sin there
[əNʲ'ʃɔ] an-seo here
[əNʲ'ʃud] an-siud yonder
[ə'sdɯj] a-staigh inside (location)
[əʃ'dʲax] a-steach inside, into (movement)
[ə'muj] a-muigh outside (location)
[ə'max] a-mach out, outside (movement)
[ə'Ri.iʃdʲ] a-rithist again
[əNʲ'dʲeː] an-dé yesterday
[əNʲ'dʲu] an-diugh today
[ə'maːrʲəx] a-màireach tomorrow

[ə]

[ə] from (e)a like e in the
a [tobər] tobar well (n.)
[kɔːhdə] còta coat (n.)
[bahdə] bata stick (n.)
[baːhdə] bàta boat
[gLanəɣ] glanadh cleaning
[d ɔ̃ .əL] Dòmhnall Donald
[ʃeːməs] Seumas James/Hamish
ea [aʃəg] aiseag ferry (n.)
[Nʲi.ən] nighean daughter
[iːʃəL] ìseal low (adj.)
[gɛː.əL] Gàidheal Gael
[tʲiLʲəɣ] tilleadh returning
[furʲəx] fuireach staying

[ɪ] & [ə]

[ɪ] from (a)i like i in bit
i [Lʲihdʲɪrʲ] litir letter (n.)
[sgʲiLʲɪNʲ] sgillinn penny
[furʲɪç] fuirich wait!
[fiːrʲɪNʲ] fìrinn truth
[gaːlɪgʲ] Gàidhlig Gàidhlig
[kurʲɪ] cuiridh will put
[pegʲɪ] Peigi Peggy
ai [egLɪʃ] eaglais church
[brʲigɪʃ] briogais trousers
[aːLɪNʲ] àlainn wonderful
[sɔxgɪrʲ] socair gentle
[piːbɪrʲə] pìobaire piper
[paːRLəmɪdʲ] pàrlamaid parliament

Note that unstressed e is [ə]:

e [gʲiLʲə] gille boy, lad
[kʲeːlə] céile partner (n.)
[balə] baile town
[kɔrʲə] coire 1 kettle 2 corrie
[ɯʃgʲə] uisge water
[ĩːʃə] innse telling

[a]

[a] from (a)i, (e)a like a in cat (Scottish English only)
a [kLaxan] clachan settlement
[ɔːran] òran song
[sbɔran] sporan 1 sporran 2 wallet
[moːrag] Mórag Morag
ai [faLaNʲ] fallain healthy
ea [ɯNʲag] uinneag window
[elan] eilean island
[alan] Ailean Allen
[kalag] caileag girl, lass
[fɯːlag] faoileag seagull



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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