This rough guide is added in the hope that it will assist readers interested in the pronunciation of the Gaelic and Irish text used in this book. Readers should note that there are only 18 letters in the Gaelic alphabet compared to 26 in English. That is; no J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z.

A as in English word Cat.  Never as in Late or What.
E as in English word They or Wet. Never as in Me.
I as in English word Machine or Grit. Never as in Fire or Fine.
O as in English word Go or Got. Never as in Brown.
U as in English word Put or Cut. Never as in Duel.
EI as in English word Vein. Never as in Either
AO as EU in the French word Neuve.  
Consonants Paired with Slender Vowels.( I and E )
IS sounds like the ISS in Mission or ISS as in Hiss. Never as in Isle.
SI sounds like the SSI in Mission.
IDH and IGH sound like EE as in Sheep.
DHI and GHI sound like the English word YE.
I and E when following consonant D often sound like a Y.
D when followed by I or E sounds like a J. For example, the Gaelic word Dearg (red) sounds like ‘Jyerrag’.
Consonants Aspirated with Letter H.
PH as in Photograph or Phone.
BH Like a V, as in Vast. MH also sounds like a V but softer.
CH as in Scots pronunciation of Loch. Never as in Chum or like a K.
CHD sounds like CHK with CH as in Scots word Loch.
DH and GH. Like Ugh; (guttural)    Never as in Laughter but sometimes silent like the GH in Slaughter.
SH and TH. Like an H as in Hat.        S and T become silent when preceding the letter H.
FH is quite silent and has no sound at all except for three words. Namely,
Fhein (self), Fhuair (got), and Fhathast (yet). FH in all three cases sounds like an H, as in House or Hero.
Other Sounds.
ANN (in). Sounds like AOWN where the OW is as in the word Now.
L before vowels A, O, U sounds like LL as in Falling, or the Scottish pronunciation of ‘Wullie’.
RT very often has an RST sound as in First. (Remember-pronounce the R.)
C at the end of a word sounds like CHK with the CH as in Scots Loch. Elsewhere it sounds like C as in Cut. Never as in Cylinder.
CN often sounds like KR. Cnoc (hill) is pronounced Crawchk.
D and T. Press tongue firmly against the back of the front teeth.
G. Pronounce deep in back of the throat.
B and P. Pronounce with the lips firmly pressed together.
S. Can sound like S as in Soft, or SH as in Sure. It depends on the word. Just remember that it is never pronounced as in Busy or Vase.



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© Ron Henderson 2008-09