Lexical sets for Irish
What is a lexical set? According to the convention introduced by John Wells in his three volume work Accents of English (Cambridge University Press, 1982), a lexical set is any group of words which show the same pronunciation for a key sound, irrespective of whether this is that used in standard English or not.
This procedure can be applied to Irish as well, both for vowels and for consonants. For instance, the TEACH lexical set refers to all words which have an initial palatal /tʲ/. If a speaker has a true palatal sound in this word then he/she will have the same sound is all other words which begin with palatal /tʲ/, e.g. teocht ‘heat’, tionchar ‘influence’. Equally, if a speaker has a phonetic affricate – [tʃ] – for palatal /tʲ/, then that person will have this sound for all the members of the TEACH lexical set, i.e. in all other words which begin in a palatal /tʲ/.
The following tables contain annotated versions of the samples sentences used for the project Samples of Spoken Irish and illustrate various features of Irish dialects. The informants were presented with the bare Irish sentences and test words, without any highlighting of lexical sets and without translations, and were asked to read them aloud in their normal, casual pronunciation. The sentences were kept deliberately simple so that speakers, who were not used to reading Irish, could nonetheless manage them.
1) Consonantal lexical sets
2) Vocalic lexical sets
3) Vowels before former geminate sonorants, /-m/ and /-rd/
Consonantal lexical sets
|Bhí sé ag iarraidh POST a fháil.||Tá siad amuigh ag PIOCADH úllaí.|
|‘He was trying to get a job’||‘They are out picking apples’|
|D’ól siad BUIDÉAL fíona.||Tá a sean-athair BEO fós.|
|‘They drank a bottle of wine’||‘Her grandfather is still alive’|
|Ní fhaca sé le FADA iad.||Níor tháinig siad FIÚ amháin ar maidin.|
|‘She didn’t see them for a long time’||‘They didn’t even come in the morning’|
|Níor BHOG sé as an áit.||BHÍ sí níos boichte ná a comharsa.|
|‘He didn’t move from the place’||‘She was poorer than her neighbour’|
|TÓG go deas bog é.||Tá siad le TEACH a thógáil.|
|‘Take it easy’||‘They are going to build a house’|
|Carr DUBH atá aici.||Ba mhaith liom DEOCH a bheith agam anois.|
|‘She has a black car’||‘I would like a drink now’|
|Tá SÚIL agam go bhfuil sé réidh.||Téann muid amach ag SIÚL gach maidin.|
|‘I hope they are ready’||‘We go out walking every morning’|
|CÁ bhfuil do mháthair ina cónaí?||CEART go leor, a dúirt an múinteoir.|
|‘Where does your mother live?’||‘Right so, said the teacher’|
|Chuaigh GACH duine thar sáile.||Ná GEARR an féar fós.|
|‘Everyone went abroad’||‘Don’t cut the grass yet’|
|Tá a CHARR briste.||Bhí an chéad CHEANN níos deacra.|
|‘His car is broken’||‘The first one was more difficult’|
|Tá DHÁ ghairdín leis an teach.||Bhí pian aige ina GHIALL.|
|‘There are two gardens with the house’||‘He had a pain in his jaw’|
|Is i MÁLA gorm a bhí na leabhair.||Tá MEALL mór millteach ansin.|
|‘The books were in a blue bag’||‘There a huge pile there’|
|D’imigh sé abhaile ag a NAOI.||Bhí a NEART ag imeacht uathu.|
|‘He left for home at nine’||‘Their strength was fading’|
|Bhí a NGLÓR caillte acu.||Bhris siad a NGEALL.|
|‘They had lost their voice’||‘They broke their promise’|
|Chuir sí an fear ina LUÍ.||Bhí sí ag LÉAMH léi.|
|‘She put the man lying down’||‘She was reading away’|
|Tá sé ROINNT fuar inniu.||Tabhair AIRE mhaith dhuit féin.|
|‘It is quite cold today’||‘Take care of yourself’|
|/h/ before low vowel||/h/ before high front vowel|
|Rinne sé dearmad ar A HAINM.||Tá aithne acu ar A HINÍON.|
|‘He forget her name’||‘They know her daughter’|
Vocalic lexical sets
|Chuir mé FIOS air.||Beidh sé an-TE amáireach.|
|‘I sent for it’||‘It will be very hot tomorrow’|
|/a/ after palatals||/a/ after non-palatals|
|Tá na mná ag TEACHT abhaile.||Chuir mé SLACHT ar an obair.|
|‘The women are coming home’||‘I polished off the work’|
|/a/ before long low vowel||/ɔ/ ?|
|Is maith liom SCADÁN úr.||Ní raibh aon CHOR aisti.|
|‘I like fresh herring’||‘She didn’t budge’|
|/ʌ/ after palatals||/ʌ/ after non-palatals|
|Tháinig an SIOC go luath i mbliana.||Is TURAS fada é as seo go Gaillimh.|
|‘Frost came early this year’||‘It’s a long journey from here to Galway’|
|/i:/ after palatals||/i:/ after non-palatals, in South: /e:/|
|LÍON sé an buicéad.||Níl aon BHAOL ann faoi láthair.|
|‘He filled the bucket’||‘There is no danger at the moment’|
|Tá ÉAN an-bheag ar a gcrann.||D’fhan sé san ÁIT ar rugadh é.|
|‘There is a very small bird in the tree’||‘He left the place where he was born’|
|Bhí siad ag ÓL ar feadh an lae.||GÚNA nua a chaith sí inné.|
|‘There were drinking all day’||‘She had a pink dress on yesterday’|
|Níl amhras dá LAGHAD faoi.||Léigh sé an LEABHAR nua.|
|‘There is no doubt about it’||‘He read the new book’|
|Bhí an ghráin aici ar an mBIA.||Bhí muid ag obair an-CHRUA.|
|‘She disliked the food’||‘We were working very hard’|
Vowels before former geminate sonorants, /-m/ and /-rd/
Níl FONN air é a scríobh.
Shroich siad an GLEANN roimh oíche.
‘He has no desire to write it’
‘They reached the valley before night’
Chuaigh siad suas go BINN an tsléibhe.
Chonaic sé LONG mhór ar an bhfarraige.
‘They climbed the peak of the mountain’
‘They saw a big ship on the sea’
Chíor sí MOING an chapaill.
Bhí an beart TROM go leor.
‘She combed the horse’s mane’
‘The parcel was heavy enough’
An tAM a ndeachaigh siad go Sasana.
Ghearr sí an tIM le scian.
‘The time they went to England’
‘She cut the butter with a knife’
Leag mé pota tae ar an mBORD.
Níl aon AIRDE ann.
‘I put a pot of tea on the table’
‘He is not very tall’
Bíonn ort tiomáint go MALL.
Níor thig sé ach CORRfhocal.
‘You have to drive slowly’
‘He only understood the odd word’
Bhí POLL mór ar an mbóthar.
Beidh siad ag teacht gan MHOILL.
‘There was a large hole in the road’
‘They will be coming without delay’