Re: Beinn Bhreagh

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 34590
Date: 2004-10-11

--- In, "radha_canada" <radha_canada@...>
> I recently had the opportunity to visit the Bell Museum in Baddeck,
> here in the province of Nova Scotia in Canada. There it was
> mentioned that Alexander Graham Bell had named his home in Baddeck
> as 'Beinn Bhreagh' which is Gaelic for 'beautiful mountain'. I was
> under the impression that aspirate voiced consonants like 'bh'
> and 'gh' are preserved only in modern Indic languages and have
> disappeared from other modern Indo European languages. If the 'bh'
> and 'gh' in 'Bhreagh' really represent the voiced aspirate sounds,
> then Gaelic too, like Indic languages, has preserved these sounds
> till modern times. That was a surprise to me.

The 'h', an alternative to a dot above, denotes lenition in Gaelic.
Although lenition initially turned stops into fricatives, it has gone
further in some cases, so <th> is [h] or silent. <bh> is [v]
(possibly bilabial). Hard <dh> and <gh> are typically voiced velar
fricatives, but in some dialects they are [g]. I think it is [g] on

> Do any other modern languages (other than Indic) possess these
> aspirate sounds ?

Yes. Kelabit (spoken in Sarawak) has voiceless stops, voiced stops
and voiced aspirated stops; some African languages certainly have
prenasalised aspirate voiced stops.

T'ang dynasty Chinese appears to have had voiceless plain, voiceless
aspirate and voiced aspirate stops and affricates; the plain voiced
stops had been lost!