[From Manx Soc vol 2, Kelly's Manx Grammar]



In the Manks are no redundant consonants as in the Irish; these non­radicals are thought to clog the language, and render it disagreeable in use, and difficult to acquire a knowledge of.

Some of these mutable consonants become other consonants, which may, therefore, be called secondary or auxiliary mutes.

The force of the pronunciation of secondary or auxiliary mutes (as they are called) is so different from that of the primary or radical, that they are expressed by different letters in the Manks, as is commonly done in other languages, except the Irish, where only the aspirate h is added; from whence arises often the difficulty of finding the etymology in ours, where that usage prevails, and the reason why the Irish language has been so well preserved.

Such words as begin with mutable consonants, viz., b, c, ch, d, f, g, j, k, m, p, ph, q, t, in their primary use, change these their radical initial letters as occasion requires, and according to the effect which the words preceding have on them, as follows:--

Words primarily beginning with b have three initials, viz., b, v, m; as bea veayn, long life, e vea, his life, nyn mea, our, your, their life. So the Greek Bharrhon is written by the Latins Varro; Birgilius, Virgilius; biote, vita, (in Manks, bea or vea).

Words beginning with c have three initials, viz., c, ch, g; as carrey, a friend; e charrey, his friend; nyn garrey, our, your, or their friend.

Words beginning with ch have also three initials, viz., ch, h, j; as chiarn pooaral, a powerful lord; e hiarn, his lord; nyn jiarn, our, &c., lord.

Words beginning with d have two initials, viz., d and gh; as dooinney mie, a good man; e ghooinney,his man.

Words beginning with f have have three initials, viz., f, v, and the first vowel or consonant in the word, casting away or making the f quiescent; as as foays, advantage; e oays, his advantage; nyn voays, their, &c., advantage.

Words beginning with g have two initials, viz., g and gh; as goo mie, a good report; e ghoo, his report.

Words beginning with j have two initials, viz., j and y; as Jee ooilley-niartal, Almighty God; e yee, his god.

Words beginning with k, like c, have three initials, viz., k, ch, g; as kiunid aalin, a serene calm; e chiunid, his calmness; nyn giunid, our, &c., calmness.

Words beginning with m have two initials, viz., m and v; as moyrn vooaralagh, haughty pride; e voyrn vooaralagh, his haughty pride.

Words beginning with p have three initials, viz., p, ph, b; as padjer jeean, earnest prayer; e phadjer, his prayer; nyn badjer, our, &c., prayer.

Words beginning with ph have three initials, viz., ph, v, and the first vowel or consonant of the word, the ph being eclipsed or made quiescent; as phreeney vooar, a large pin; e reeney, his pin; nyn vreeney, our pin: phaal keyrragh a sheep-pen; e aal, his pen; nyn vaal, our pen.

Words beginning with q have three, viz., q, wh, g; as quing hrome, a heavy yoke; e whing, his yoke; nyn guing, their yoke.

Words beginning with s have three, viz., s, h, t; if the first letter s be followed by a vowel, or if the word be of the feminine gender it has two; as sooill vie, a good eye; e hooill, his eye; y tooill, the eye; slingan vooar, a big shoulder, y tlingan, the shoulder; otherwise the initial remains unchanged; as sporran, a purse; e sporran, his purse.

Words beginning with t have three initials, viz., t, h, dh; as taggloo ard, high discourse; e haggloo, his discourse; nyn dhaggloo, our discourse.

The variation of the initial letters is always regular and constant betwixt letters of the same organ of pronunciation; for a labial letter is never changed to a dental, nor a dental to a labial, &c.

Adverbs, being formed of adjectives, become such for the most part by putting dy in apposition to the adjectives, without effecting any change in their mutable initial consonants; as mie (adjective) good; dy mie (adverb) well; boght (adj.) poor; dy boght (adv.) poorly; gennal (adj.) merry; dy gennal (adv.) merrily. Whereas the preposition dy, of; or dy, the sign of the infinitive mood; or dy, to, (a contraction of gys) always change the mutable initials; thus, in traagh, pobble, goaill, balley; as rybbag dy hraagh, a wisp of hay; earroo dy phobble, a multitude of people; dy ghoaill coyrle, to take counsel; goll dy valley, going home.

Initial vowels are also capable of occasional changes, by taking the aspirate h before them after the genitive article ny; as ayns diunid ny hushtaghyn, in the depth of the waters. Besides, in pronunciation, the last consonant of the preceding word is transferred to the following vowel; thus, yn oo, the egg; yn arragh, the spring; yn agh, the horse, are pronounced as if they were yn noo, yn niarragh, yn niagh.


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