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A protracted discourse (rant) on Irish pronunciation incoming.
*Ahem* Irish is extremely easy to pronounce; it is phonetically 'shallow', and is almost always regular. If you're an English speaker, you are dealing with a language that is far more difficult to learn and speak.
Phonetically, and at least within your own accent, they will ALWAYS rhyme. Not so in English. So, what I'm saying here is that once you have learned the basic *set* of Irish sounds, there is VERY LITTLE deviation from that. So the sound can always be pre-empted.
An example here: Anger - Hanger - Danger in English. In my accent, they all sound totally different, and do not rhyme, despite being spelled with the same vowels and mostly the same consonants. Another example: Cone - Done - Gone.
Now, imagine you are a Spanish or German speaker looking at these and thinking, 'Ok, I've learned Cone. Done looks like Cone, so Done must sound like 'Cone'. It doesn't - not at all. Now, this would never happen in Irish. Slán - Bán - Dán - Mán - Stán. These words will rhyme.
'Ao', 'ch', 'gh' or 'dh', which are formed lower in the vocal apparatus than anything in English. But these just require practice, and once you know that 'ao' is a deeper, more guttural 'ee' sound, then you have it. And it's a simple as that. It won't try to surprise you.
So if I know how 'dán' is pronounced, and I see 'bán', I know how it will sound. And if I know how 'leac' is pronounced, I can't get 'breac' wrong. Of course, there are a few niggly bits, but these are easily gotten around. A few sounds don't exist in English, such as...
Again, people are put off by things like 'mh' being either 'v' or 'w' depending on the broad/slender vowel after it. But again - totally regular and predictable. Whereas English... Enough. Hm. How did we get an 'f' sound from 'gh' there? And why, therefore, isn't 'though'...
... pronounced 'thuf'? Of course, there are etymological reasons for these. But for learners of language, English is extremely difficult from a phonetic standpoint. Irish, from a linguistic and neutral standpoint, is far easier.
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