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04 July 2007 @ 09:51 am
Gaelic Made Easy  

A Guide to Gaelic for Beginners

Sound Table

A as in CAT. Never as in MATE.
E as in THEY or MET. Never as in ME.
I as in MACHINE and FIT. Never as in FIRE.
O as in GO or GOT.
U as in PUT or BUT. Never as in FUEL.
AO like EH-OO said quickly or as EU in NEUVE in French.
PH as F. Compare PHOTO in English.
BH and MH as V in VAT.
CH as in LOCH.
DH and GH as GH in UGH! back in the throat.
SH and TH as H in Hat.
FH is silent except in three words FHEIN (hayn) self; FHUAIR (hoo-ir) found or got and FHATHAST (ha-hast) yet, where it has the sound of H.
IS as in IS in MISSION i.e. ISH; but IS meaning 'is' in English is sounded ISS as in HISS.
SI as SI in MISSION i.e. SHI.
IDH and IGH as EE.
DHI and GHI as YE.
ANN sounds both 'N's though it is often sounded as if A-OON.
L before A, O, U is broad like LL in CALLING or the sound of THL.
MH and BH often sounded like W in middle of a word, though, like V would also be correct.
I and E, when the second letters of a word, often sound like Y: e.g. DIURA (dyoora) Jura where DI is almost a 'j' sound. CEANN (Kya-oon) head, but when an action-word is in past time this 'y' sound does not appear. LION! (lyeeon) FILL! but LION (leeon) FILLED.
Note.-- We use the 'j' sound in the imitated pronunciation.

C in or at the end of a word is often sounded as CHK thus MAC as if it were MACHK, the CH sounded as in LOCH.
RT is often sounded as RST.
D and T. Get tongue well against back of upper front teeth. T is almost TH.
B and P and F. More forcibly than in English.
G. Well back in throat. GOT would be like UG-OT said in one syllable.


Sound CH as in loCH, ch as in church. O as in sO, o as in got, ich as in which; j as in jilt; ing as in sing; ay as in day but a dull sound at the end of a word; oo as in moon; eh as in eh!

Only an approximate pronunciation has been aimed at. Anything more complex or detailed would only confuse the learner.


Gaelic is spoken in two British countries and one British principality. Each location has its on dialect, but essentially, all three versions are based upon the same language. The Gaelic offered here is that of the Scots. Namely from the northern-most highlands of Scotland. The text here is from a booklet that my own Granny gave to me so that I could better understand her, as she spoke no English. It may be that she spoke an even deeper dialect than this version, as she lived and loved on the island of Stroma, which is part of the Orkneys.

If you find this useful and would like me to put up a vocabulary list or an initial lesson in the language, please comment. Thank you.

Freja x
sokkmonkeysokkmonkey on July 5th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
Shit, Please don't get me started.
The road the post office is on by my work is lewellyn.
When I give directions, i tell people to turn on KHoolin. and they get lost because all they can find is lou-Elen.