I’m finding it quite difficult to pronounce the guttural sounds found in Irish words, such as in “Dia dhuit”. How do I learn to easily get my tongue around these?
Don’t worry, those guttural sounds that are a result of lenition in Irish Gaelic can take some time to get a hang of.
The most important thing is to listen to the language and keep trying to pronounce a phrase, such as Dia dhuit /Jee-ah ghwitch/ Hello (God to you) every day. Note that in dhuit /ghwitch/ the letter w in the phonetical spelling is not pronounced exactly as the letter w is pronounced in English. A tip is to pronounce the w but without puckering your lips.
Another great phrase to practice regularly so that your tongue and throat will get accustomed to Irish language’s peculiar sounds is this proverb:
Bíonn chuile dhuine lách go dtéann bó ina gharraí.
/Bee-un khwil-eh ghwin-eh lawkhguh jay-en boh in-ah ghar-ee/
Everyone is kind until a cow goes into their garden.
Literally, every person is kind until a cow goes into his garden.
You may also find it helpful to watch Irish language videos by simply searching this on YouTube and to listen to www.rnag.ie, the national Irish language radio station as well as www.tg4.ie, the Irish language TV station which can be watched online.
You can learn even more about Irish pronunciation by participating in Eoin’s course Crack Irish Gaelic Pronunciation on Udemy.
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That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!
If you’ve ever got any grammar questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected].
Le gach dea-ghuí, (Kind regards)
2 thoughts on “Dear Bitesize: How do I get the hang of guttural sounds?”
That sounds absolutely beautiful.
I am French and I know some Breton but I would be incapable of replicating any of it.
I will keep trying though.
Thanks for your comment, it does sound wonderful doesn’t it! Keep trying, I’m sure you can get there.