The first tough bit of Old Irish is the spelling system and phonology.
There are two issues here, for the native speaker of English
- Old Irish uses phonemic contrasts that we don’t (particularly palatalisation)
- The Old Irish spelling system doesn’t reflect its phonology in a couple of important places.
Old Irish uses 17 or 18 letters (five vowels and 11 or 12 consonants, depending on how you count <h>): <a>, <b>, <c>, <d>, <e>, <f>, <g>, <h>, <i>, <l>, <m>, <n>, <o>, <p>, <r>, <s>, <t>, <u>.
The “additional” letters in Modern English (i.e. Read the rest of this entry »