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Irish: caol

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by Gavril, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hello,

    As I understand it, the Irish term caol "slender" is connected to palatalization: in older Irish (perhaps not in Modern), consonants that were caol were palatalized by a surrounding front vowel. (Some examples would be the -l- in céile "companion" and the -ch- in che "20".)

    Is the term caol only used to describe the pronunciation of sounds in Irish, or could it also be used for palatalized consonants in other languages (such as Russian, where there is a significant contrast between palatalized and non-palatalized consonants)?

    Thanks
     
  2. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
    Since it's an Irish word I doubt it would be used to describe any language other than Irish. You'd need to ask a Russian speaker what they call this in Russian ;)

    The term is still used in Modern Irish e.g. in the basic spelling rule caol le caol agus leathan le leathan (i.e. the vowels on either side of a consonant should agree and be either both slender or both broad).
     
  3. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I'm with Tegs on this, I doubt any Russian grammarian would even be aware of this Irish word's existence.
    By the way, it's not just a grammaticial term, very much like the word "slender" in English it's meaning depends on context.
     
  4. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
    Oh yes, I hadn't considered that maybe that needed pointing out too, but as l'irlandais said, it's used in other contexts too - often translating as "narrow" in English.
     
  5. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I imagine Gavril may already be aware of it, but other members may not be. Also some terms like Séimhiú (lenition) are purely used in grammar, while it's opposite Urú (eclipsis) could refer to an eclipsis of the sun. ;)
     

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