"neirt" versus "nert"

David L. White dlwhite at texas.net
Thu Mar 29 16:54:24 UTC 2001

>> Confusion of spelling between the two types ("nert" for "neirt"), which
>> occasionally occurs (if I am remembering correctly), probably indicates the
>> difficulty of pronouncing palatalized /r/, which is mostly (or entirely?)
>> gone from modern Irish.

>> Dr. David L. White

> What??

> All dialects of Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic preserve a
> distinction between palatalized and unpalatalized <r>
> (conventionally /r/ and /r'/) in all but initial position.

        I was thinking of the intitial case, and mis-remembering the rest.
        By the way, I would like to know what a lenited /n/ (or /l/ or /r/)
actually is, in terms the IPA would understand.  My guess, from various
descriptions I have seen, is that the lenited forms are neutral, the
unlenited forms palatalized or velarized, as appropriate.  (And that in the
old days when there were four sounds the unlenited forms were long.)  But it
is only a guess. Not much Irish spoken around here.

Dr. David L. White

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