uillean, uilleann ˈɪl ən ˈɪl jən — Irish [
ˈɪ lʲənʲˈɪ lʲən]
While on the subject of Irish, I notice that on the American voice association’s email list a lady from Texas is asking about the pronunciation of the name of the western province of the Irish Republic, which she gives as Connaught.
Anybody out there know whether the emphasis in Connaught Province is on the second syllable? Pronunciations online seem to indicate a slight emphasis on the first syllable. My director, who lived in Ireland (but is in no way a vocal coach) seems to insist that the emphasis is on the second syllable.
Straightaway she got a reply from a voice teacher in Maryland.
I have always heard it pronounced with the stress on the second syllable. The first syllable is not 'thrown away', but de-emphasized.
Interesting. See how what appears to be misinformation disseminates. Perhaps it is true that in America you “always” hear this name given second-syllable stress. But that’s not what you hear in Ireland, or indeed in Britain. The only pronunciation I have ever heard is ˈkɒnɔːt, with initial stress.
Wikipedia offers us a range of authentic-sounding possibilities, all with initial stress:
Connacht (pronounced /ˈkɒnəxt/, /ˈkɒnəkt/ or /ˈkɒnɔːt/ —Irish: Connachta / Cúige Chonnacht —pronounced [ˈkɔnəxtə]), formerly anglicised as Connaught.
Indeed, we nowadays spell the name of this province as Connacht. We retain the old spelling in the case of the Duke of Connaught, a dukedom now extinct, and in various placenames and street names. The enquirer was talking about a play, A Lie of the Mind, whose author, Sam Shepard, no doubt uses the old spelling.
I suggest in LPD that for Connacht, though not for Connaught, we can reduce the second vowel to ə, as happens in Irish. Next time I ought to add the Irish-language pronunciation, too.
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In the past I have congratulated the Guardian on its newly acquired ability to print letters bearing diacritics, not only for names and other words from French, German, Spanish and Portuguese, relatively familiar languages for us, but also from other languages that use the Latin alphabet (blog, 20 April 2010). Today, though, it slips. Simon Hoggart, in his always entertaining parliamentary sketch, fantasizes about the UK prime minister, excluded from hobnobbing with the big boys of the eurozone, having instead to dine (horror!) with Swedes and Poles, Hungarians and Latvians. (Even the Slovaks and Estonians are in the inner circle, but not us.)
As any fule kno, these should be “żurek” and “blåbärssoppa” respectively. Though why someone might want three kinds of soup at the same time I have no idea.
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I shall be away for the next two weeks. Next blog: 14 November.