An Cuinneach Registered User
#1

Hey all,
I've got a question about the effect of the séimhiú on the pronunciation of m and b. This will obviously differ for Munster/Ulster Irish but here goes...
When do 'mh' and 'bh' create a /w/ sound and when do they create a /v/ sound? Are they always interchangeable? Does it depend on the vowel? Or the canúint? Or the position in the word?
For example... mo mhála, a mhúinteoir, Contae Mhaigh Eo. I've heard /w/ and /v/ for each of these before.
My name is Brian so I hear "a Bhrian" regularly but I've never heard it pronounced with a /w/ sound. (Though that could be because Irish may not allow for /wr/) That said, I would only use a /w/ with 'go bhfuil' and I've definitely heard it with "an bhfuair tú?".
As regards word position, from my time up in Donegal word final 'mh' and 'bh' was never almost pronounced /v/ and had a sound much more similar to an approximant /w/... /du/ for 'dubh, etc.
"Ar mhol sé; an mhonarcha?" - can these both be /w/ or /v/, or only one of them? 
"An bhfaca tú dath an mheaisín?"
"A Mhíchíl, an bhfuair tú ár bhfíon, a mharmaláid agus mo mhadra ón bháicéir?" (Ha, I'm stuck for nouns!)

Any advice?

Carawaystick Registered User
#2

Hey all,

For example... mo mhála, a mhúinteoir, Contae Mhaigh Eo. I've heard /w/ and /v/ for each of these before.


"A Mhíchíl, an bhfuair tú ár bhfíon, a mharmaláid agus mo mhadra ón bháicéir?" (Ha, I'm stuck for nouns!)
Any advice?
deirim
A Vichíl, an veair tú ár víon, a varmaláid agus mo wadra on váiceir
Agus níl cliú dar leighid agam an diffríocht idir madra agis marmalaid
ach i mbearla, I'd say ofTen and offen and hurl and hurley...

David Webb Registered User
#3

Well in Muskerry Irish, it can definitely be a /v/ in all cases, but sounding more like a /w/ where a broad v is at the beginning of a word or syllable or after a g.

Examples from pp39 and 40 of the Irish of West Muskerry:

mo bhia: mo via (slender, won't become w)
mo mhála = mo vála, mo wála (broad beginning of word)
gabháil = gváil, gwáil (broad beginning of syllable)
tiubh = tiuv (end of syllable, so v)

David Webb Registered User
#4

Carawaystick said:
deirim
A Vichíl, an veair tú ár víon, a varmaláid agus mo wadra on váiceir
Agus níl cliú dar leighid agam an diffríocht idir madra agis marmalaid
ach i mbearla, I'd say ofTen and offen and hurl and hurley...



Seo é mo leagansa:


I Vihíl, a' vuairish ár víon, a varmaláid agus mo wadara ón máicéir?

deirdremf Registered User
#5

An Cuinneach said:
Hey all,
I've got a question about the effect of the séimhiú on the pronunciation of m and b. This will obviously differ for Munster/Ulster Irish but here goes...
When do 'mh' and 'bh' create a /w/ sound and when do they create a /v/ sound? Are they always interchangeable? Does it depend on the vowel? Or the canúint? Or the position in the word?
For example... mo mhála, a mhúinteoir, Contae Mhaigh Eo. I've heard /w/ and /v/ for each of these before.
My name is Brian so I hear "a Bhrian" regularly but I've never heard it pronounced with a /w/ sound. (Though that could be because Irish may not allow for /wr/) That said, I would only use a /w/ with 'go bhfuil' and I've definitely heard it with "an bhfuair tú?".
As regards word position, from my time up in Donegal word final 'mh' and 'bh' was never almost pronounced /v/ and had a sound much more similar to an approximant /w/... /du/ for 'dubh, etc.
"Ar mhol sé; an mhonarcha?" - can these both be /w/ or /v/, or only one of them?
"An bhfaca tú dath an mheaisín?"
"A Mhíchíl, an bhfuair tú ár bhfíon, a mharmaláid agus mo mhadra ón bháicéir?" (Ha, I'm stuck for nouns!)

Any advice?

In Munster, the mh or bh can be pronounced like a v in all positions, but elsewhere the situation is a little more complex.

Depending on whether the nearest consonants are broad (a, o, u) or slender (e, i), the pronunciation varies.
Where they are broad, the consonant is broad, and a bh or mh is pronounced like a W
Where they are slender, the consonant is slender and bh or mh will be pronounced like a V.

The same rule holds for all consonants, but if your ear is not attuned, you may not hear the difference.

For instance, in Donegal you are very likely to have heard T being pronounced like ch in English, this is a slender T; and in the same position a D can be pronounced like an English j - this is a slender D.

All consonants are distinguished in this way in Irish except H, but as I sad if your ear is not accustomed to hearing the differences you may not have noticed it - except for your difficulty with V and W.

So in brief, V is a slender bh or mh, W is a broad bh or mh.

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