ballyshannon, donegal, irish newspapers online, ireland, irish history, irish literature, irish famine - Linking Canada and Ireland - Linking Canada and Ireland

Page 4 of 15
The Irish Language

To the non-native Irish speaker and reader, a readily grasped and understandable description of the Irish language is given by Arland Ussher in "The Face and Mind of Ireland", with foreword by Oliver St.John Gogarty, published by The Devin-Adair Company, New York, 1950. At p.146 Ussher writes:

"The a language of prodigious diversity of sound and expressiveness of phrase. Owing to its peculiar anatomy of' "broad," "slender," "aspirated" and "eclipsed" consonants, it has about twice the number of sounds that other European languages can boast; sounds, too, for most of which there are no precise equivalents in any other tongue. (For instance: d broad is dth, d slender is dy, d aspirate broad is a sort of gargle, d aspirate slender is almost y, d eclipsed broad is a n with clenched teeth, d eclipsed slender is ny. There is no d as we know it in English, French, German etc.; and so with the other consonants.) The softening and eclipsing of initial consonants (according to complicated and uncertain rules) causes the words to dissolve and change their shapes like objects in a mist; more than with most languages the student has to speak and think in unit-sentences rather than unit-words, as it were single indivisible spasms of feeling or imagination; "the colours run" on the palette--or the palate--so that he is lost if he has not a fine ear and a mobile larynx."

"Twice the number of sounds that other European languages can boast" calls to mind Myles na gCopaleen's comparison of the normal vocabularies of Irish and English peoples, quoted elsewhere in this home page.


The Bards Of Ireland - Part II - Navigation
First Page | Previous Page | Next Page | Last Page


Home | About | Canadian Vindicator | Literature | Gallery | History