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Correct pronounciation?

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 10:49
by Wren MacDonald
This is going to seem kind of sad to ask as it is my family's name (on my mother's side), but I want to make sure I'm saying it right, as I have mispronounced before!   :devil:

How would one correctly pronounce NicDhomhnaill (that's the female version of "MacDonald" - "daughter of" instead of "son of")?

I'm not even going to say how I've been pronouncing it so that I don't feel like a total moron when I find out I'm probably wrong.   :whistle:   :D

Thanks to any that can help!


Wren ^.~*

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 12:11
by Megli
Hello wren! Let me see if I can get this right, forgotten most of my Scots Gaelic.
NicDhomhnaill
NeekGHOH-nul'y

for which some explanation is needed. 'Neek' rhymes with 'eek!'
GHOH (the stressed syllable) rhymes with 'go' but a thick gargle sound in your throat, like a ch in 'loch' but with a 'g' quality, not a 'c' one. -naill is like English 'null' but which what's called a 'palatalised' or 'slender' -l, which means it has a tiny y-glide integral to it. Imagine the letter 'c' in 'cute' - we don't say 'koot', we say 'kyoot'. The ky- is a palatal c-. You need to do the same thing for -l. Practise saying 'ly-' (try saying 'lute' to rhyme exactly with 'cute' not with 'coot', with a little y-.) Then you've got to make that sound at the *end* of the word. It takes practice.

I really hope I'm right in thinking the mh is silent, or rather is silent but lengthens the o- a bit. I may be getting confused with Irish. Apologies if I've messed up!

Best wishes
M/|\

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 12:14
by Fox
Hi, Wren, I'm going to attach put in a link to a sound file that my Gaelic-speaking colleague recorded for me.

It includes some very non-English sounds, particularly the last one which is made as if you are saying an "L" sound but by mashing your tongue flat against the roof of  your mouth instead of using the tip of your tongue - or so she says.

The closest phonetic rendering she could come up with is "Nic-Gho-ail"

NicDhomhnaill

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 12:31
by Megli
Thanks zorro - the n- is almost completely swallowed, which is interesting. And you can hear that palatalised -l beautifully.

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 13:57
by Wren MacDonald
Thank you thank you thank you to Megli and Zorro (and thanks to your friend for making the recording!!!)!!!!   :hug:

Actually for me the hardest part is the c-g sound.  I seem to be having trouble enunciating the "c" before the "g" with any kind of success.  :oops:   Practice time!

And yes... I was totally saying it wrong.  So I'm very grateful for all your help!!!  I think maybe I was mixing up what I read about Irish pronounciation with the Scots Gaelic... that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!   :D

Thank you so much again!  I'm going to go listen to that recording some more now...


Wren ^.~*

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 14:21
by Fox
I passed your comments onto my colleage, Wren and Megli - she laughed and said, "sometimes the simplest approach is the best" (i.e. demonstrate it instead of explaining it...)

Posted: 05 Oct 2006, 17:48
by Megli
lol! yes. it ain't easy. Palatalisation is a bugger!

Posted: 06 Oct 2006, 15:19
by Beith
LOL Megli!

Seconded! we should get that printed on t-shirts!

Your rendering phonetically and explanation thereof was spot on

NicDhomhnaill = "NickGohnil" as we would say it in Irish. The mh is silent in the modern language but prob would have been a 'v' sound in earlier tongues and the palatalisation on the ll is reduced to "nil" sound.

Wren (just if you didn't know it already) - the nic or ní is short for iníon "daughter of". For a boy you'd use "Mac" (sometimes spelled Mc) "son of" Domhnaill.

(I find a couple ofglasses of wine helps pronunciation tremendoushshhhly! hic!)

Beith

Posted: 07 Oct 2006, 17:57
by Megli
I'm starting Modern Irish lessons again next week! Very excited, I've forgotten most of it. I tried learning the Cois Fhairrge dialect for a while years ago. It wd be great to be conversational in Irish as well as in [my slightly broken, very Southern] Welsh.

And we're doing Breton this term!! Yay! And one of my students is a druid, and the other an odinist. (No surprises on the druid - I spent the summer shoe-horning her into Oxford by teaching her Middle Welsh for two hours a week which was tremendous fun, and she has done amazingly well.)

On a sad note, two friends of mine have just come back from a week on Skye - one's a natuve irish speaker. She said she'd heard no Gaelic at all, except once from a teacher at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college. Everyone was speaking English in the street, and Skye is supposed to be the last stronghold of the language. :(

M /|\

Posted: 09 Oct 2006, 14:58
by Beith
Dia dhuit!

that's great that you are learning modern Irish! yay!

My Irish would be closer to Munster than Connacht and I find Gaeilge na Muman easier to understand as it's less guttural than the Connacht men!
I'm really looking forward to doing more SeanGhaeilge too...however finding people to practice with is harder...due to the difficulty in meeting 1300 year old Irish people! grin!

le gach dea guí agus bain taitneamh as do chúrsa i NuaGhaeilge! You'll have an incredible headstart given you already know the more complex language!

Beith

Posted: 12 Oct 2006, 04:43
by Wren MacDonald
NicDhomhnaill = "NickGohnil" as we would say it in Irish. The mh is silent in the modern language but prob would have been a 'v' sound in earlier tongues and the palatalisation on the ll is reduced to "nil" sound.

Wren (just if you didn't know it already) - the nic or ní is short for iníon "daughter of". For a boy you'd use "Mac" (sometimes spelled Mc) "son of" Domhnaill.

(I find a couple ofglasses of wine helps pronunciation tremendoushshhhly! hic!)

Beith
Ah, yes, I read in a book that "Amhergin" should be pronounced with the "v" sound for the "mh" but I didn't realize that that was ancient-pronounciation-only.   :D   Now I know!

And that also explains why when I said "Amhergin" to someone who was familiar with him he was so thrown by that pronounciation...   :D


Wren ^.~*