How about this shit
? Is that simple too?
I would say it is.
Let's take eadhai
. In the reformed orthography, medial adha
represents /ai/. (In pre-reform orthography, dh
between two broad vowels could also be silent, but in those cases it was dropped from the current spelling.) The preceding e
and the following i
serve only to indicate the slender quality of the preceding and following consonants, respectively.
mōdgethanc wrote:Speaking of which, when do i, u represent /i, u/ and when are they /e, o/? Is there any rule at all?
Of course there are rules, but they're dialect-dependent. (It's for this reason, as I've explained several times before, that the orthography remains somewhat conservative.) This is why serious learners always settle on a particular dialect before learning rules of pronunciation.
mōdgethanc wrote:When do dh, gh and bh, mh represent consonants and when are they part of diphthongs? (Or completely silent?) When is th /h/ and when is it silent?
is only silent in certain dialects, notably Cois Fhairrge. In Munster, it's always /h/ even in coda position with two exceptions (a) the prefix leath-
"half" (e.g. leathbhróg
"a single shoe") and (b) the verbal adjective suffix -tha
after voiceless stems[*] (e.g. ceaptha
, and mh
are rarely completely silent; as mentioned above, those cases were largely eliminated with the spelling reform. The main exception that comes to mind is broad final -dh
, as in Aodh
or in the common verb-noun ending -adh
. (Slender final -dh
in most dialects is dropped or coalesces with the vowel to produce /iː/; in Munster, however, its pronunciation is identical to slender g
Morpheme-initially (i.e. even in the second element of compounds such as rodheacair
"too difficult") they all represent fricatives. Intervocalically or preceded by a vowel and followed by a consonant, they generally indicate diphthongs. It's in coda position that things get tricky and here--as mentioned already--the realisations are very dialect-dependent.
In Irish orthography, it stands for the phonemes /w/ and /vʲ/, for example mo bhád /mə waːd̪ˠ/ ('my boat'), bheadh /vʲɛx/ ('would be').
Oh, so now it can be /x/ too? Great.
Only in the endings of certain verb forms
. Again, this is a cover symbol. In Ulster dialect, for instance, final -adh
is pronounced /u/.
[*] /hə/ causes devoicing of voiceless stems, e.g. scuabtha
/ˈsˠkˠupə/ "swept". Sometimes, the principle of morphological transparency is violated and they are respelled phonemically, e.g. lofa
"rotten" (pre-reform spelling lobhtha
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons