Consonants

The consonants b, c, d, f, g, j, l, m, n, s, v, w and y are pronounced like their English counterparts.  and are always the ‘hard’ sounds of cap and gap, never as in cell and gel. F and s are always the voiceless sounds in soft. The other consonants are pronounced as follows:

  • ch is the sound in Scottish loch or German Bach (IPA /x/)
  • dh is like th in then (IPA /ð/)
  • is like in hat at the start of a word, but silent between vowels (IPA /h/)
  • is a tapped sound, made with the tongue hitting the roof of the mouth once (IPA /ɾ/)
  • th is like in thing (IPA /θ/)

K, p and t

The letters k, p andare pronounced exactly as in English when they occur at the beginning or in the middle of a word. However, when they occur at the end of a word they may be pronounced either as k, p, t (i.e. voiceless) or as g, b, d (voiced) according to the sounds of the following word. When the next word starts with a vowel or a voiced consonant the sounds are also voiced. When k, p or stand before a pause or when the next word starts with a voiceless consonant they are voiceless.

E.g.

map bechan (voiced)
map hwimm (voiceless)
gwrek arall (voiced)
gwrek call (voiceless)

Consonant Combinations

Most combinations of two or more consonants are pronounced exactly as the two separate sounds combined. However, the following cases should be noted:

  • gw is pronounced as in Gwen before a vowel but in the combinations gwl and gwr it sounds like the rounded of goo followed directly by or r.
  • hw varies according to dialect, from the soft wh sound of Scottish what to a combination of ch + w (see above)
  • lht a voiceless followed by t
  • ll a dark as in English full with the tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth
  • ng always as in sing, never as in finger
  • nng or ngg are pronounced as ng in finger
  • rht a voiceless followed by t
  • rr a rolled 
  • sh as in shop
  • tsh like ch in chip

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