The page of Brithenig


`Yn nediwn seint yn llinghedig, yn nediwn seint yn cor'

Let's start with some basics:

The Alphabet:




A, aapronounced as 'ah' [a] when stressed, or 'uh' [ə] when unstressed
B, bbi[b] same as in English
C, ccipronounced as [k], except before e and i, where is sounds like ch [tʃ] in church.
D, ddi [d] same as in English
E, eepronounced as 'eh' [ɛ] when stressed, or [ə] when unstressed
F, ffipronounced as [v], silent as a final letter
G, ggisame as in English: the hard sound as in gas [g], except before e and i where it has the soft sound as in general [dʒ]
H, hachvery lightly sounded, if at all [h]
I, iipronounced as 'ee' [i] when stressed, or 'ih' [ɪ]when unstressed
K, kka[k] same as in English
L, lel[l] same as in English
M, mem[m] same as in English
N, nen[n] same as in English
O, oo[ɔ]pronounced as 'aw' or 'augh'
P, ppi[p] same as in English
R, rertrilled [r] as in Spanish or Italian
S, sespronounced as [z] between vowels, otherwise as ss [s]
T, tti[t] same as in English
U, uu[ɨ], a central unrounded vowel, like 'i' pronounced in the middle of the mouth. It can be long or short.
W, wdubl wsame as in English, sometimes used as a vowel pronounced as 'oo' as in boot when stressed [u], or 'oo' as in book when unstressed [ʊ].
Y, yi gregpronounced as 'ee' [i]

Combined letters:

aepronounced the same as 'ai' [aɛ], for many speakers the first vowel is not reduced, other speakers pronounce it the same as 'ah' [a:]. In the standard language the first vowel is drawnout longer than `ai'.
aipronounced as in aisle [aɪ]
awlike ow [aʊ]
eilike ay [ɛɪ]
ewpronounced as a combination of eh and oo [ɛʊ]
iw, ywpronounced as a combination of ee and oo [iʊ]
oelike 'oi' [ɔɛ], some speakers pronounce it the same as 'oh' [ɔ:]. In the standard language, the first vowel is drawn out longer than 'oi'.
oilike oy [ɔɪ]
uipronounced as in ruin [uɪ]
chpronounced like the guttural sound like ch in loch and Bach [χ]
ċlike ch in church [tʃ], used when this sound is final in a word
ddlike the th sound in either [ð]
fflike English f [f]
ghpronounced as the hard g sound [g] before e and i
ġlike g in general [dʒ], used when this sound in final in a word
ll[ɬ] made by touching the tongue to the top of the mouth and hissing
ntat the end of a word more than two syllables long the t is silent [n], otherwise both letters are pronounced [nt]
ph pronounced the same as English [f]
rhaspirated r, sounds like 'hr' [rʰ]
rrsame as a single [r]
scbefore e and i like sh [ʃ], otherwise [sk]
thlike the th sound in ether [θ]

The letters j, q, v, x, and z are used in foreign words that have been borrowed into the language, especially modern words that have not been adapted to the Brithenig orthography. They are not included in the traditional alphabet.

Brithenig evolved from Vulgar Latin using the Grand Master Plan. It is presented here for the benefit of interested readers.

Note that a rule in earlier copies of these pages that the soft, affricate, consonants 'c' and 'g' become ich-laut and yod after spirant mutation has now been dropped from these language pages.

Certain phrases are treated as diphthongs also. Sa es, 'she is, there is, there are' is pronounced as `saes'. In the standard dialect of Brithenig, this can be contracted to sa's.

The letter 'y' at the beginning of a word is often unstressed and when preceded by a word ending in a vowel it often elides.

Some monosyllablic words end with a consonant cluster with r or l as the last letter. It is the case here that the last letter is pronounced as if the vowel in the word is repeated before it. Llifr, book is pronounced as 'llifir' ['ɬivr]. Sometimes it is spelled this way. With longer words 'r' in this position is silent.

Stress in Brithenig is placed on the ultimate, or last syllable, for example, afwr, love, is pronounced as 'a-FWR' [a'vur], not 'A-fur' ['avur]. In diphthongs, the first vowel is pronounced as a stressed or unstressed vowel depending on whether it occured in the stressed syllable or not

Brithenig sometimes accents words with a circumflex, called a teithith, or little roof. Although the accent is always pronounced as 'long', more often than not it appears to be purely grammatical, for example, lla and llâ.

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