In Gaelic, the letter “h,” after a consonant, changes the sound of that consonant. This is called lenition, and it is very common throughout everyday Gaelic conversation. Watch the video below for further explanation and examples. In Gaelic, the letter “h,” after a consonant, changes the sound of that consonant. This is called lenition, and it is very common throughout everyday Gaelic conversation. Watch the video below for further explanation and examples.
Lenition does take some getting used to, as there are a few particular things to keep in mind. Consonants which always lenite are b, c, f, g, m and p, however the consonants d, t and s don’t usually lenite if the word before them ends in an n, and words beginning with sg, sm, sp and st never lenite.
Lenition for possession
When talking about possession, you need to lenite after using mo (my), do (your) and a (his/her).
- My house is near the road; come in!
- Where is your house?
- Donald does not live in this town at all, his house is in the next town
Lenition from prepositions
Words following the prepositions à (out of), bho (from), de (of), do (for), fo (under), gun (without), and mar (like) are also lenited:
- There is an old garage without a roof beside the house
Lenition from adjectives
When describing an object or a person using adjectives such as corra (odd), deagh (good), droch (bad), prìomh (primary), or seann (old), the subject is lenited.
- The occasional old man walks past every day
- There is a good view, you can see the Isle of Skye
Lenition from modifiers
You also lenite most words following common modifiers like fior (true), glè (very), ro (too), and sàr (great).
- It is very quiet in this town
- It is not too far from the city
Lenition from numerals
Finally, lenite words following the numerals aon (one), dà (two), and a’ chiad (the first).
- There is one table in the kitchen
- There are two dogs under the table