Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-28, 4:50

They seem complex, but not difficult. Definitely not impossible.
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby ceid donn » 2013-01-28, 7:50

I studied a little Old Irish past year an hope to do some more this year, although it's not a priority for me. I will say that if you haven't studied either Modern Irish or Scottish Gaelic, it could be pretty daunting. It's not impossible but I can see it being a bit confusing for a self-learner.

I have the Stifter book and it's a good--a bit like an Old Irish version of Wheelock's Latin: dense, academic and needs to be accompanied with a big glass of water (i.e. a bit dry). It's more than sufficient for my interests. Since I've already paid my dues with academic study of ancient languages, being an amateur Old Irish scholar isn't one of my goals. I just want to supplement my Gaelic studies, like get a decent idea of how Gaelic evolved out of Old Irish. But if you wanted to do more detailed study the Stifter book ought to be a pretty good place to start. It's marketed as a beginner's text but in truth, it contains enough material for a 3 year college program.

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-28, 8:02

I have indeed studied Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and fully understand the grammar of each. Sadly, I forgot all that I knew in them. :( However, studying Old Irish has revived my interest in the two (with Scottish Gaelic always being my favorite), and I may start learning one or both in a few months, once I'm at a good level in Hungarian. :)

I'm on chapter 9, just about to finish the translation of exercise 9.2 into English. It's taken me 2 or 3 hours, partly because I'm watching someone play Ni no Kuni at the same time. :oops:

Well, I'll be studying Old Irish for at least this entire year definitely more if I need to), and Luke might be learning it with me. You should study it again, and practice with us! :mrgreen:
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Lur » 2013-01-28, 12:31

Lowena wrote:I'm on chapter 9, just about to finish the translation of exercise 9.2 into English. It's taken me 2 or 3 hours, partly because I'm watching someone play Ni no Kuni at the same time. :oops:

You're already there? :shock:
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby linguoboy » 2013-01-28, 13:59

Lowena wrote:They seem complex, but not difficult. Definitely not impossible.

No one said they were impossible, just complex and highly irregular. Definitely one of the very toughest conjugational systems Indo-European has to offer.
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-28, 14:04

Luke wrote:
Lowena wrote:I'm on chapter 9, just about to finish the translation of exercise 9.2 into English. It's taken me 2 or 3 hours, partly because I'm watching someone play Ni no Kuni at the same time. :oops:

You're already there? :shock:

Yep. :D I read up to chapter 6 a couple days ago. It's a lot of fun. :)
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Lur » 2013-01-28, 15:58

linguoboy wrote:
Lowena wrote:They seem complex, but not difficult. Definitely not impossible.

No one said they were impossible, just complex and highly irregular. Definitely one of the very toughest conjugational systems Indo-European has to offer.

This guy wrote a post about it which I actually found funny to read (even if disheartening). :P
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-02-08, 12:08

Hey folks, would these be correct?

Airslúag inna nGall ocus inna Albanach - Great army of the Norse-Gaels and the Scots
Ceithern ind ríg Gall - Company of the King of the Norse-Gaels
Ceithern ind ríg Alban - Company of the King of Alba

I've started reading up on Old Irish (I tried many years ago, but gave up after reading a few pages of a grammar book), and as you all know this language is a headache for beginners.
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby eien » 2013-02-10, 1:17

It's airṡlúag, the s is lenited by air-. Other than that looks good. You could throw articles in front of Gall and Alban, but it works either way. Not sure if nasalizing mutation would apply to ocus from n-Gall, I don't think so but could be wrong.

edit: *inna n-Albanach too.

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-02-10, 19:43

Ah yes, completely missed the nasalization of Albanach too. Thanks!

How was the nasalization typically noted in contemporary texts? I take it both using a hyphen and attaching the n/m directly to the following word are found in the manuscripts, right?
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby eien » 2013-02-10, 21:51

Not really familiar with OI palaeography, but glancing at some manuscripts it looks like m/n appended to the front of a word, no hyphen.

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-02-14, 12:47

I see. Thanks again for your help!
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-05-18, 11:58

I'm trying to do some phonetic transcriptions of some Old Irish sentences for a videogame mod, and naturally it's proving to be a bitch. I'm not even familiar with the conventions when it comes to transcribing broad vs slender consonants, and initial mutations completely got me beat, so this is a bit of a wild guess:

A chride ind éin ittig (“Oh, heart of a fluttering bird”)
[a ˈχriðʲe ind eːnʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ]?

Úir aineóil tarut (“Foreign soil over you”)
[uːrʲ ˈanʲoːlʲ ˈtarud]

Mac mallachtan (“Son of a curse”)
[mak ˈmaʟəχtən]?
[mak ˈṽaʟəχtən]?

Bás fort béolu (“Death upon your lips”)
[baːs ford ˈbʲeːlu]

Cacc brén (“Stinking turd”)
[kak breːnʲ]

Tréithḟer (“Coward, weakling”)
[ˈtreːθʲˌer]

Of course, any transcription of an ancient language will be just an approximation, but could you guys correct what needs correctin'? Eventually I'll have to provide recorded samples for the voice actors, and my inability to pronounce properly palatalized consonants will be too much of a handicap, so if anyone feels like giving it a try, feel free. :mrgreen:
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-05-18, 17:25

I probably shouldn't be giving you advice, but I'm going to regurgitate what I've read in Stifter for you to the best of my understanding (and maybe we'll both get help from someone more knowledgeable). For starters, apostrophes are used in Old Irish transcription (as in Modern Irish transcription frequently enough) to mark palatalisation, but as you've used it here for stress I think /ʲ/ is fine too.

sa wulfs wrote:A chride ind éin ittig (“Oh, heart of a fluttering bird”)
[a ˈχriðʲe ind eːnʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ]?


As far as I can tell, the first cluster in <chride> should be palatalised. Also, the <nd> in <ind> was pronounced as /nd/ in Early Old Irish, but had become /n/ by Late Old Irish, so pick whichever you like. The rest seems right to me, so I'd say [a ˈχʲrʲiðʲe in(d) eːnʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ].

sa wulfs wrote:Úir aineóil tarut (“Foreign soil over you”)
[uːrʲ ˈanʲoːlʲ ˈtarud]


Hmm, would the <u> in <tarut> not be a schwa, given that it's not in a stressed syllable? Like the <i> in <ittig> in the previous sentence. Also, there are two type of /n/ in OI (and I'm not talking about palatalised and non-palatalised here). One is supposed to have been fortis, or possibly lengthened. The literature seems to vary with respect to it's transcription, but I've seen /n/ - lenis vs /N/ - fortis, or (in Stifter's book) /ʋ/ (or a character that looks a lot like it) - lenis vs /n/ - fortis, also, apparently /n/ - lenis vs /n:/ fortis. Here, whichever transcription you're using, you want the lenis version I think (as it's intervocalic).

sa wulfs wrote:Mac mallachtan (“Son of a curse”)
[mak ˈmaʟəχtən]?
[mak ˈṽaʟəχtən]?


From what little research I've just done, I would say no lenition of the <m>:
Note that there is no lenition after Mac and Ó, even though in Modern Irish a personal name in
the genitive is always lenited (mála Phádraig); in medieval Irish, when patronymics started to be
used as surnames, personal names were lenited after a feminine noun, but not a masculine noun,
hence lenition after Ní and Nic (exept, for phonological reasons, after Nic + Gr: Nic Grianna),
but no lenition after Ó and Mac.


I found the above quote here.

Other than that, it looks about right (but remember about the two kinds of /n/, and how you need the lenis kind here).

sa wulfs wrote:Bás fort béolu (“Death upon your lips”)
[baːs ford ˈbʲeːlu]


I have no idea about the <rt> in <fort> being /rd/ (Stifter says there's no rule for <t> following <r, l, n> word internally or in auslaut; sometimes it's /rd/ sometimes it's /rt/). You could be right, I just don't know. The rest looks good.

sa wulfs wrote:Cacc brén (“Stinking turd”)
[kak breːnʲ]


I would think [kak bʲrʲeːn]. <é> would palatalise the initial cluster AFAIK, and when the final <n> is palatalised after /e:/, isn't it usually spelt <éin>?

sa wulfs wrote:Tréithḟer (“Coward, weakling”)
[ˈtreːθʲˌer]


[ˈtʲrʲeːθʲ er]. Also, <r> has two versions too, a tap and a trill, and here you want the tap (lenis).

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-05-18, 18:16

Thanks! I'm also going to try emailing a professor or two, so if I get a reply I'll share it here. I could have saved you some work just by paying more attention (as in the palatalization of chr- in chride :oops:).

I prefer to use /ʲ/ for the palatalization because this won't be used by Irish scholars or students, and so I'd rather keep the transcription as 'international' as possible. I'm not using /ˠ/ so as to not make things look too cluttered.

The idea was to use /ɴ/ and /ʟ/ alongside /n/ and /l/, although if I got all the lenis consonants right (except for /r/~/ɾ/) that was sheer luck. :mrgreen:
Also, the <nd> in <ind> was pronounced as /nd/ in Early Old Irish, but had become /n/ by Late Old Irish, so pick whichever you like. The rest seems right to me, so I'd say [a ˈχʲrʲiðʲe in(d) eːnʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ].

/n/ it is then. This is supposed to be right at the end of the Old Irish period and the beginning of Middle Irish.
Hmm, would the <u> in <tarut> not be a schwa, given that it's not in a stressed syllable?

My source is Kim McCone's A First Old Irish Grammar and Reader, which says:
Unless in absolute final position (...), all short unstressed vowels (including shortened long vowels) except /u/ (e.g. lé(i)ciud 'leaving' /le:g´uð/, tomus 'measurement' /toṽus/) had fallen together as an 'obscure' mid-central phoneme /ə/ or 'schwa'

From what little research I've just done, I would say no lenition of the <m>

Great, thanks!
I have no idea about the <rt> in <fort> being /rd/ (Stifter says there's no rule for <t> following <r, l, n> word internally or in auslaut; sometimes it's /rd/ sometimes it's /rt/). You could be right, I just don't know.

I honestly have no idea where I got the /d/ from (same for tarut above). Since Modern Irish has /t/ here, I'd say /rt/ is way more likely.
when the final <n> is palatalised after /e:/, isn't it usually spelt <éin>?

I assumed it would be palatalized by default after /e:/ whether or not the spelling noted it, but Modern Irish has béan so that's clearly not the case.

Thanks, you were very helpful! I suppose you wouldn't feel like recording them, right? Haha, it's ok, I had to ask.
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-05-18, 19:12

sa wulfs wrote:Thanks! I'm also going to try emailing a professor or two, so if I get a reply I'll share it here.


That would be great!

sa wulfs wrote:I could have saved you some work just by paying more attention (as in the palatalization of chr- in chride :oops:).


It was interesting, and it helped me solidify what I knew (or thought I knew).

sa wulfs wrote:I prefer to use /ʲ/ for the palatalization because this won't be used by Irish scholars or students, and so I'd rather keep the transcription as 'international' as possible.


Yeah, I prefer it anyway. Less ambiguous.

sa wulfs wrote:I'm not using /ˠ/ so as to not make things look too cluttered.


There's also the issue that there's no consensus on whether or not OI actually had velarisation. According to Stifter, Thurneysen posited three consonantal qualities: Palatalised, neutral (non-palatalised) and velarised, but Stifter just has palatalised and non-palatalised (and seems to be saying that that is the more widely accepted system nowadays).

sa wulfs wrote:The idea was to use /ɴ/ and /ʟ/ alongside /n/ and /l/, although if I got all the lenis consonants right (except for /r/~/ɾ/) that was sheer luck. :mrgreen:


According to Stifter - in anlaut, r, l, n ar pronounced as strong (fortis). rr, ll, nn are always fortis. r, l, n are pronounce fortis most of the time when followed by t, d, s, l, r, n or when preceded by s, l, r, n. When they are between vowel or in auslaut they are pronounced lenis, as well as when in anlaut if lenited by a word causing lenition.

sa wulfs wrote:
Hmm, would the <u> in <tarut> not be a schwa, given that it's not in a stressed syllable?

My source is Kim McCone's A First Old Irish Grammar and Reader, which says:
Unless in absolute final position (...), all short unstressed vowels (including shortened long vowels) except /u/ (e.g. lé(i)ciud 'leaving' /le:g´uð/, tomus 'measurement' /toṽus/) had fallen together as an 'obscure' mid-central phoneme /ə/ or 'schwa'


Okay, forget what I said ;).

sa wulfs wrote:
I have no idea about the <rt> in <fort> being /rd/ (Stifter says there's no rule for <t> following <r, l, n> word internally or in auslaut; sometimes it's /rd/ sometimes it's /rt/). You could be right, I just don't know.

I honestly have no idea where I got the /d/ from (same for tarut above). Since Modern Irish has /t/ here, I'd say /rt/ is way more likely.


Well, Stifter (who, as you can see, is basically my only source here ;)) says that after /r/ <t> can be either /t/ or /d/, depending on the word (i.e. the fact that they're spelt the same way is just an orthographic thing). He give some examples of pairs of homographs that are pronounced differently with different meanings: <altae> - /altʲe/ - "she was reared" vs <altae> - /aldʲe/ - "they who rear" or <derc> - /dʲerk/ - "hole" vs <derc>/<derg> - /dʲerg> - "red".

Also, the <t> at the end of <tarut> should be /d/ because it's at the end of a word following a vowel.

sa wulfs wrote:
when the final <n> is palatalised after /e:/, isn't it usually spelt <éin>?

I assumed it would be palatalized by default after /e:/ whether or not the spelling noted it, but Modern Irish has béan so that's clearly not the case.


I'm a bit sketchy on the rule with this one, but I've seen many words in Stifter's textbook that had <en> where the <e> only palatalises the preceding consonant, not the <n>, and I can only recall the <n> being palatalised where it was <ein> (or <éin>). Though, now that I'm trying to find examples I'm coming up short :? .

sa wulfs wrote:Thanks, you were very helpful! I suppose you wouldn't feel like recording them, right? Haha, it's ok, I had to ask.


There are a few consonants that I'm not really sure how to pronounce. For example, in Modern Irish (the way I speak it anyway) a "broad" /r/ is a tap and a "slender" /r/ is a voiced alveolar fricative, but I don't know if that was the case in OI. Also, I have no idea what a slender trilled (fortis) /r/ would sound like. But I could give it a go (you just need to realise that I suck at Old Irish, though I'm pretty good at pronouncing stuff in general if I know what sound I'm supposed to be pronouncing).

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-05-18, 21:56

There's also the issue that there's no consensus on whether or not OI actually had velarisation. According to Stifter, Thurneysen posited three consonantal qualities: Palatalised, neutral (non-palatalised) and velarised, but Stifter just has palatalised and non-palatalised (and seems to be saying that that is the more widely accepted system nowadays).

Oh, interesting. It certainly makes things easier for a non-Irish speaker.
When they are between vowel or in auslaut they are pronounced lenis, as well as when in anlaut if lenited by a word causing lenition.

Good to know. I knew the doubled versions were always fortis, but I'm never sure about the single consonants. Same with p, t, c for /b/, /d/, /g/.
Well, Stifter (who, as you can see, is basically my only source here ;)) says that after /r/ <t> can be either /t/ or /d/, depending on the word (i.e. the fact that they're spelt the same way is just an orthographic thing). He give some examples of pairs of homographs that are pronounced differently with different meanings: <altae> - /altʲe/ - "she was reared" vs <altae> - /aldʲe/ - "they who rear" or <derc> - /dʲerk/ - "hole" vs <derc>/<derg> - /dʲerg> - "red".

McCone agrees and says checking for alternate spellings or for the Modern Irish descendent are the best ways to know. And Modern Irish has <ort> descended from <fort>, so I guess that's it. :P
Also, the <t> at the end of <tarut> should be /d/ because it's at the end of a word following a vowel.

But that could also be /t/, right? The book I'm following says that after a vowel /b/, /d/, /g/ were undistinguishable from /p/, /t/, /c/ in the spelling, only sometimes after a consonant. Since this <t> is a 2nd person ending just like in <fort>, I assumed it would be pronounced /t/.
I'm a bit sketchy on the rule with this one, but I've seen many words in Stifter's textbook that had <en> where the <e> only palatalises the preceding consonant, not the <n>, and I can only recall the <n> being palatalised where it was <ein> (or <éin>). Though, now that I'm trying to find examples I'm coming up short :? .

Hehe, I'll take your word for it. Your source seems to be much more detailed than mine on this kind of thing.
There are a few consonants that I'm not really sure how to pronounce. For example, in Modern Irish (the way I speak it anyway) a "broad" /r/ is a tap and a "slender" /r/ is a voiced alveolar fricative, but I don't know if that was the case in OI. Also, I have no idea what a slender trilled (fortis) /r/ would sound like. But I could give it a go (you just need to realise that I suck at Old Irish, though I'm pretty good at pronouncing stuff in general if I know what sound I'm supposed to be pronouncing).

Well, we can never be sure of how exactly to pronounce an ancient language, especially when it comes to such variable sounds like /r/, so an approximation would be alright. Bear in mind these samples would be used as reference by voice actors who would then scream them onto a microphone (they're supposed to be battle taunts), thereby distorting the pronunciation a fair bit and giving more leeway to not get it exactly right in the samples. :mrgreen:

It would be great if you could record them, but don't feel pressured or anything, I'm looking for other alternatives too.
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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby eien » 2013-05-19, 0:09

To clarify on OI orthography w/r/t palatization:
With consonant anlaut, following <i>. <e>, <í>, <é> palatize. Digraphs <iV> <eV> can stand for non-front vowels with preceding palatized consonants at least in syllable consonant anlaut (not sure sure about absolute consonant anlaut).

With consonant inlaut, mostly same as anlaut. Following unstressed <i> may or may not palatize, if not then interchangeable with digraph <ai> (see vowel auslaut). Commonly if palatized the preceding vowel, if not /i/ /i:/, will be written as a digraph with <i> as second part. Preceding diphthongs of the sort /Vi̯/ are written <V́e> (that's the initial vowel bearing an acute accent) for non-patalized consonants and <Ví> for palatized consonants.

With consonant auslaut, if preceded by <i> <i> (either representing the vowel or as the second part of a digraph/diphthong as above indicating palatization), it's typically palatalized. In one syllable words may or may not be.

WIth vowel auslaut, for the preceding consonant same rules as inlaut consonant, but a digraph of <a> + <e> <é> <i> <í> is used for non-palatizing front vowels. Digraphs <ea> <eo> represent palatized consonant followed by /a/ /o/, <iu> palatized consonant followed by /u/.
So to correct a previous example of Ciarán's, <altae> - /alte/or /alde/

And this is all normalized orthography. In actual paleography, God help you.

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-05-19, 0:56

eien wrote:To clarify on OI orthography w/r/t palatization:
With consonant anlaut, following <i>. <e>, <í>, <é> palatize. Digraphs <iV> <eV> can stand for non-front vowels with preceding palatized consonants at least in syllable consonant anlaut (not sure sure about absolute consonant anlaut).

With consonant inlaut, mostly same as anlaut. Following unstressed <i> may or may not palatize, if not then interchangeable with digraph <ai> (see vowel auslaut). Commonly if palatized the preceding vowel, if not /i/ /i:/, will be written as a digraph with <i> as second part. Preceding diphthongs of the sort /Vi̯/ are written <V́e> (that's the initial vowel bearing an acute accent) for non-patalized consonants and <Ví> for palatized consonants.

With consonant auslaut, if preceded by <i> <i> (either representing the vowel or as the second part of a digraph/diphthong as above indicating palatization), it's typically palatalized. In one syllable words may or may not be.

WIth vowel auslaut, for the preceding consonant same rules as inlaut consonant, but a digraph of <a> + <e> <é> <i> <í> is used for non-palatizing front vowels. Digraphs <ea> <eo> represent palatized consonant followed by /a/ /o/, <iu> palatized consonant followed by /u/.
So to correct a previous example of Ciarán's, <altae> - /alte/or /alde/

And this is all normalized orthography. In actual paleography, God help you.


I had to read that two or three times, but I think I've got it :) . It appears that this is the start of the development of a rule of Modern Irish spelling "caol le caol, leathan le leathan" meaning "slender with slender, broad with broad" whereby slender consonants in anlaut are followed by slender vowels (front vowels), broad ones are followed by broad vowels, slender consonants in auslaut are preceded by slender vowels, broad ones by broad vowels and inlaut slender consonants must be flanked on both sides by slender vowels ad broad by broad. In OI however, it has yet to become as systematic as in Modern Irish (or Modern Gaelic).

I will try to make some recordings tomorrow. Can I ask, sa wulfs, what game is it for? The only game I've ever played with anything like this in it was AOE 2, which had the Celts speaking something approximating Irish, or it might have been Old Irish.

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Re: Old Irish/ Sengoídelc

Postby sa wulfs » 2013-05-19, 22:41

Thanks for the explanation, eien! A bit difficult to follow for a novice like me, but like Ciarán, I think I managed to understand it. If I get far enough with Old Irish I'll definitely use non-standardized spellings (it's just more authentic that way) but that's not gonna happen any time soon. :P
Ciarán wrote:I will try to make some recordings tomorrow.

That would be great. :)
Ciarán wrote:Can I ask, sa wulfs, what game is it for? The only game I've ever played with anything like this in it was AOE 2, which had the Celts speaking something approximating Irish, or it might have been Old Irish.

It's for Víkingr, a mod for Mount & Blade: Warband. There's a taunt key to yell random stuff (the vanilla game comes with stuff like "I will drink from your skull!" and things like that), and I figured it would be nice if that shite was replaced with faction-specific taunts. I don't remember much of the AOE2 voice clips, but I found this. Ah, the memories. And damn, did they get things wrong. xD

Anyway, I got my first reply (I'm afraid I spammed a few professors, including Stifter). The guy not only made some corrections, but actually adapted the transcription to what it would have been like in the late Old Irish/early Middle Irish period. His comments and transcriptions are in blue:

A chride ind éin ittig
[a ˈχʲrʲiðʲe in eːnʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ]

(I think the actual source has eoin, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to pronounce that, so I standardized it as éin)

Better: [a ˈχʲrʲiðʲə in eːonʲ ˈitʲəɣʲ]

Úir aineóil tarut
[uːrʲ ˈanʲeːolʲ ˈtarət]

Mac mallachtan
[mak ˈmaʟəχtən]

If used as an insult should be in the voc.: a maic mallachtan
[ə vikʲ ˈvaʟəχtən]


Bás fort béolu
[baːs fort ˈbʲeːlu]
[baːs fort ˈvʲeːolu]

Cacc brén
[kak bʲrʲeːn]

Probably should also be vocative if intended as an insult: a chacc bréoin
[a χak vʲrʲeːonʲ]


Tréithḟer
[ˈtʲrʲeːθʲˌeɾ]
I’m not sure if this can really be counted as a curse.


I'm a bit puzzled by all those diphthongs, like in aineóil and béolu, because they're nowhere in my sources; I assume they must be early Middle Irish developments? They make sense as glides becoming full diphthongs, I suppose. I'm also proud of the fact that he approved of cacc brén (or a chacc bréoin), but I don't know what's wrong with tréithḟer.
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