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A Contribution to the Phonology of Desi-Irish, by Rev. Richard Henebry, Ph. D. Greifswald: Julius Abel. Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son. 1898. Pp. vi-77.
A good deal of attention has been paid of late to the phonology of modern Irish. A French, a German, and a Danish scholar have in turn studied the Gaelic of the South Islands of Aran, a place that bids fair to become a school of modern Irish. In the present pages we have the first thorough account yet published of the pronunciation of Irish in what has always been, and still is, the literary province. As the work of one who has been from his childhood familiar with the language, this study has a special value, and it has already received a warm welcome in Gaelic circles. Dr. Henebry gives his little book the modest sub-title of Introduction to the Metrical System of Munster Poetry-a body of literature fairly familiar to English readers through the translations of Mangan, Edward Walsh, Furlong, and others--but we believe that students of language generally will find the work very suggestive and valuable. Few spoken tongues of the present day have such a long record as Gaelic possesses of the changes in pronunciation as reflected in MSS. extending over eleven centuries. The phonetic scheme adopted, while full and adequate for all practical purposes, is also natural, and presents no unnecessary difficulty. The vowel sounds are carefully indicated, and each consonant has its full share of symbols.
Lengthening of vowel sounds from position, and removal of certain vowel sounds in favor of others, are the chief phenomena studied under the head of vowels. The first phenomenon is not peculiar to Gaelic as we have it in lowland Scotch and western English (auld for old, etc). In Gaelic, however, it is the chief feature of Munster pronunciation, and also, curiously enough, of the Gaelic of the Northern Highlands of Scotland. Under the second head we find that the vowel a has, outside Ulster, lost its natural sound, and taken on the sounds of a in what, fall. The cases in which the original sounds are retained are carefully classified, and some curious details are given of the changing pronunciation of personal names. We notice that in Desi the verbal ending -fá has the modified sound. In the West it retains the original sound. In words beginning with f, the original a sound returns on aspiration, as noted in the case of fhan.
In English we have had a change of sound in words like meal, steal, meat, where the original è sound is retained yet in the Anglo-Irish. In Gaelic there is a similar tendency to the ee or i sound. Thus from clerus we have nom. cliar, and this is a type of a very large class. Dr.
Henebry does not gather his facts with an eye on any theory, but we might point out that the sound bial, ian, etc., given to béal, éan, etc., in Munster and in the Highlands, is only a modern example of the change seen in clerus, cliar, and is also in line with the Western change from ē to ia, as in ael, later aol (which was probably pronounced as it now is in Munster), present ial. In Munster the ian sound is given to can usually when stressed only, and perhaps that fact explains why aon, the numeral adjective is en in the West, while a h-aon (the noun) is a HIN. The Ulster pronounciation ü given to ao marks an intermediate stage of the change in sound.
Similarly there are reductions of a to u (pp. 9, 20, 25, 27, 28) which are of very great interest. It may be questioned, however, whether dam, agam, agat (p. 20) were ever phonetic spelling; in no place is the pronunciation dam now heard, but dom and domh.
The diphthongal sound given to i in such words as im, linn, etc., and the analogous sound given to ai, oi, ui in certain positions is perhaps the most striking peculiarity of Desi-Irish, and enables one to identify a Desian after a few moments' conversation. No doubt the Munster Gaelic has retained the original pronunciation of the diphthongs better than the western or northern Irish, where the i is assimilated by either the following consonant or the preceding vowel. The strongly nasal au sound is another well-marked note of the Desi-Gaelic. Elsewhere nasal tones are restricted to vowel sound followed by mh, except perhaps in one word, áit, which, for some reason or other, is always nasalized.
We find some remarkable interchanges between c and t, ch and th, d and g, and indeed we may add dh and gh, as these last are pronounced identically everywhere. In the midland counties of Ireland, c and t have the same sound before u in English; thus cute, Tuite are exactly identical in sound. Similarly d and g; dew is pronounced as if gue. There are indications of the same interchange in Desi-Irish; thus, p. 41, cliamhian as if tl—; p. 54, tsleibhe as if cl-; p. 13, dligheadh as if gli—. Then there is a regular use of ch for th in leath, thrath, rath, rioth. Also the opposite in fithe for fiche-the western and northern speakers go into the other extreme and say -ich for ith in maith, flaith. Compare also Munster-ithe for-ighthe, Ulster iste for -ichte.
Questions of Gaelic phonology have special actuality just now when the movement to extend the use and knowledge of the old tongue is meeting with such success, that the proposal has been made of adopting a phonetic spelling so as to make the learning of Gaelic easier. Evidently any improvement in spelling, and still more a phonetic spelling, must be based on a uniform pronunciation. We must know what are abnormal and erratic growths, and separate them from the normal pro
nunciation. Dr. Henebry's book, although not written for this specific purpose, is a most valuable help to study of these points. Thus some things that at present only burden the memory under the title of exceptional words, are shown to be simply wrong, such as éagmais, p. 64, anns gach, arsa si, p. 76, and many others. On the other hand many phrases and words which at first sight one would declare wrong are shown to have developed in a normal manner, such as dé luain, 43, dada, 20, sán for tasbén, tara, etc. The author is not inclined to any innovations in orthography; to us indeed he seems rather too conservative in writing rachad for the Munster pronunciation raghad, glaise for gluise, p. 33, and a few others. We venture to say that this little book will form the starting-point of many interesting discussions among Gaelic scholars. The equation of a bhaile with an bhaile, where an represent a compound of the article with the preposition in, will probably arouse a discussion affecting a large class of common phrases. The Ulster phrase is na bhaile, and hitherto the noun has been regarded as the genitive case after chum fallen away to un. Thus the Donegal ag'ul na gceall, "going to Killyhegs," and the Kerry a' dul go dtí sna ceallaibh, "going to Kells," represent the same noun in genitive and dative. Steach in ti, which occurs immediately after an bhaile, pp. 69-70, is in the west na tighe (chum an tighe) and sa' teach. Very interesting are the notes on meireach, p. 28, tafann, p. 51, fuaidh, p. 46, siur and fiur, 51.
We have found this first publication of the A. O. H. chair most instructive and suggestive, and we hope that Dr. Henebry may follow it up with other studies of similar character dealing with the Gaelic of Thomaard, Desmond, and West Munster.
Ancient and Modern Palestine, translated by Mary B. Rotthier, from the French of Brother Lieuwin de Hamme, O. S. F., residing at Jerusalem for the last forty years. Fourth edition, revised and enlarged, with maps, plans and views, 2 vols., 8vo. New York: The Meany Publishing Co. 1898.
In these volumes we have a translation of a well-known French guide book for pilgrims to the Holy Land.' From the view-point of the local Franciscan traditions, preserved for seven centuries by these faithful guardians of the Holy Land, this book may be looked on as completing the invaluable guide of Baedeker, edited by Professor Socin. The book before us is very useful as a guide to the sanctuaries; as a guide to the
1 "Guide Indicateur des Sanctuaires et Lieux Historiques de la Terre Sainte," by the late lamented Bro. Lieuwin de Hamme.
historical places of the Holy Land, its worth is less. The author is very partial to local tradition and rather deaf to any historical criticism that might tend to displace these traditions from their popularity. Still, as the pilgrim does not usually care, except in a superficial way, to discuss the opinions of archæologists, this book may be very useful to him. Certain improvements might be suggested, e. g., a clearer arrangement for American pilgrims of the abundant practical information, more systematic indexes, more detailed and better engraved maps. The whole might be condensed into one volume by the use of suitable paper and the introduction of smaller type for less important matter. With these betterments the book will answer fairly well the needs of the average pilgrim to the Holy Land.
(Mention under this rubric does not preclude further notice.)
Evolution and Teleology. Discourse by the Rev. Dr. J. H. Zahm, C. S. C. president of the anthropological section of the International Catholic Scientific Congress, Fribourg, Switzerland, August, 1897. Reprinted in Popular Science Monthly, April, 1898, with translations into French, Revue des Questions Scientifiques, April, 1898, and Italian, A. M. Galea, Siena, 1898.
Theologiae Naturalis Institutiones, in compendium redacta et tyronum usui accomodatæ. A Sac. Bernardo M. Skulik, Senis, 1897.
The Life of Laura Keene, Actress, Artist, Manager, and Scholar, together with some interesting reminiscences of her daughter, by John Creahan, Philadelphia, 1897.
Report of the Board of Education of the State of Connecticut for 1897, Hartford, Conn., 1898.
How to Pray, translated from the French of Abbé Grou, S. J., by Teresa Fitzgerald, edited with preface by Father Clarke, S. J. London: Thomas Baker. 1898. 8°, pp. 204.
The Catechism of Rodez, explained in form of sermons, etc., by the Abbé Luche, translated and adapted to the wants of the American public by Rev. John Thein. B. Herder: St. Louis. 1898. pp. 528.
What is a University.-The London Spectator of February 12th contains an article under this heading. It is republished in the December Educational Review. The question interests all. The readers of the BULLETIN those acquainted with the life of our university, or who have heard the discourses of the chancellor, the rector, or the deans, know the answer as we understand it. In the university, science is made by research and investigations; learned men are formed in seminars, laboratories, libraries. Science is communicated to others by courses and conferences; science is applied in the professional schools. From the university radiates an influence that is felt far and wide. The article above referred to is interesting since it institutes a comparison of the five types of university, French, German, English, Scotch, American, the result of which is favorable to the German type. We quote from it.
"Essentially the German University is exactly what the University of Paris was in the Middle Ages--a great teaching corporation-and this must be held to be the chief function of a university. For our time, the Universities of Berlin and Leipsic have been the greatest centers of teaching in the world. Merely to name their leading professors is to indicate the best that has been done in thought and research-Ranke, Helmholtz, Von Sybel, Curtius, Mommsen, Virchow, Fechner, Pfleiderer, Treitschke, Hoffmann, Wundt-no other seats of learning can yield such names. The intellectual life of Germany is expressed by the university as it is not either in France or England. Mill, Spencer, Grote, Huxley would in Germany have been university professors; here they were unconnected with any university. This is not only true of the university of to-day, it was true of Germany at an earlier date. Kant and Hegel were university professors, and even so unacademic a personage as Goethe spent years at two universities-Leipsic and Strasbourg. A free teaching institution reaching even the lower classes (we have known a milkman take the doctorate of philosophy at Leipsic), tending to immense specialism, but embracing all knowledge and expressing the highest ideal of the nation's culture-such is the German University.
"The English type is different. Here we have the collegiate system with its reminiscences of school discipline and its aesthetic charm un