INTRODUCTION TO THE
TO WHICH ARE ANNEXED FIGURES OF REFERENCE.
Of the LETTERS and their SOUNDS.
1. The Alphabet consists of seventeen single and three double consonants, and seven vowels—a, e, i, o, u, w, y. Of the consonants, fifteen are mutable—b, c, ch, d, f, g, j, k, m, p, q, s, sh, sl, t. The immutables are—l, n, r, which always retain their sound; and alter not, except when preceded by s in the beginning of a word to show the degrees of comparison. Gh and ph begin no radical, or at least ought to begin none, as the language now stands; although there are word that are so written: these are shown where they occur in the work, and will be seen only to be aspirations, gh of g and of d, and ph of p. Sh and sl must be considered double consonants as they have a change peculiar to themselves, and differ from the other radical initialled s's. The v is considered a secondary mute.
2. A is reckoned a broad vowel, and in some words sounded as o, as in clagh (a stone), clogh; and as u, as in goan (scarce), goun. It is pronounced as a in the English words of man, pan; as, bad, lad, bab, &c.; and when circumflexed, as in mâroo, sârey, is sounded as in matron, &c.
3. B is a labial, or lip-letter, and pronounced as b, in English; as, bare, boayl.
4. C preserves a strong sound in its unaspirated state, as the English k, or as c in can; as, cam, cappan. It never, however, usurps the pronunciation of s, as in the English words cistern, city, cedar, &c.
5. CH has a soft sound, as in chaghter, charbaa, chingys; like ch in English, in cherry, charcoal, chime, &c.
6. CH has a hard or harsh sound, which sound is not in the English language. I cannot express it better than by a word which I would write or spell egh or egg-yth, and a, cha (not); and which sound would go through with the vowels, thus: egh e, che; egh i, chi; egh o, cho; egh u, chu; cgh y, chy; and with chla, chle, &c.; and chra, chre, &c., &c.
7. D is pronounced as d, in English, in drone, dunnal, &c.
8. But D, in other words, as if written and pronounced dh, as in daa, doo, &c.
9. E is reckoned a small vowel, but is sometimes sounded long, and sometimes short; the latter sound as heard in men, ten, bed (in English) answers to the Manks ben, ren, shen, &c.
10. The long or circumflexed E, as in mêriu, t'êh, tê, vê, &c., like the English they, bey; or as a in way, hay, say, &c.
11. F is called a weak consonant; because, when aspirated, it looses all its force; as, fea (rest); e ea (his rest.) It corresponds in many cases with v, and has the English sound in fa, faase, foays, &c.
12. G is a heavy consonant, and pronounced as g, in English, in gain, get, go; as, gamman, goaill, garrish; but has no soft sound as in the words gentle, generous, &c.
13. When G is aspirated to gh, it is reckoned a light consonant, and has a gutteral sound; no such sound is in the English language; and although gh is in ghost and ghastly, they are only sounded gost, gastly.
14. H is pronounced as h in the words hand, hind, hold, &c. in English. Some would rather call h an auxiliary than a letter, because it rarely begins any radical word except a few small ones, as, hannah, hym, &c, and serves only to aspirate the other consonants, as, ch, gh, mh, ph, th, &c; or the vowels, as, ha, he, hi, &c. When it aspirates from t, followed by an r, it is often sounded as ch, as e hraa (his time); e hroo (his envy); &c. It is an initial in feminine genitive nouns; as, e heddin (her face); e haigney, (her mind or will); e hennym (her name.) The masculine of those would be e eddin(his face); e aigney, (his mind); e ennym, (his name.)
15. I is one of the small vowels, and pronounced as i (in English) in pin, win, sin; as, shimmey, snid, shilley.
16. J is pronounced exactly like the soft English g, and is perfectly uniform in its sound.
17. K. This letter has precisely the sound of hard c, in English, and is never silent as the English k in knee, knave, know, &c.
18. L. Some say this letter admits of no aspiration, and is pronounced as l (in English) in law, live, love; as, laue, lioar, lane; but I think there is a distinction between lie or ly in English, and lhie in Manks; and had the words loo, loor, &c, been spelled or written lhoo and lhoor, they would have answered the Manks pronunciation better; for without the h the sound is too narrow, except to those who know that they require that sound.
19. M is a strong consonant, but it is often