Irish Gaelic

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Fri Jan 28 23:28:23 UTC 2005

I by no means claim much more than almost a reading knowledge of Irish
Gaelic - well, I recognize when I see it, but I have studied it
formally with a native speaker of the Munster dialect who is a
professor of Irish at UC Dublin and I have a few problems with some of
Prof. Cassidy's claims, some of which seem to be unsupported.

E.g. what are the circumstances under which "teas" can be given a
citation pronunciation that corresponds, however roughly, to an English
word spelled "jazz" or "jass"? In the Munster dialect, this string has
the pronunciation [t,aes], in which [t,] is a sound like the "soft" "t"
of Russian, [ae] represents "aesc," and [s] is the "-ss" of "mess." And
if the "t" of "teas" is soft to the point of shifting to "ch" in Prof.
Cassidy's dialect, then how does the "l" of "uile" escape this shift to
move in the opposite direction and receive the hard pronunciation of
"ila," presumably [il@], and not the soft pronunciation of "ilyih"

I'm willing to grant that "teas" could, or even would, be heard as
[Caes]. But how do we get to "jass" or "jazz" from there? Not by merely
stating that that's what happened, surely?

-Wilson Gray

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