Irish accents in English and the number 3 - what's the reason for the difference?

Man of Honour
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Some (maybe all, I don't know) Irish accents completely ignore the 'h' in words related to the number 3. Tree, tirty, etc.

I'm idly curious as to why. It's only for words related to the number three, not other words with 'th' in them.

It doesn't matter. It's just a feature of some accents. I'm just curious as to the reason because I have a mild interest in linguistics and I generally like to know the reason why things are how they are. An influence from Irish Gaelic, maybe?
 
Man of Honour
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turdy tree

I stumble upon a really interesting Youtube channel on linguistics. It's mainly focused on English, but might be interesting for you. [..]

I stumbled on the same channel a few months back when browsing around for stuff on Old English. IIRC, it was on Youtube's "videos probably in some way related to the video you're watching" list when I was listening to the_miracle_aligner's Old English version of "Pumped Up Kicks". Notable for actually being Old English, not modern English with some incorrectly used 'thou' and '-eth" (which aren't Old English anyway) and wrongly labelled as Old English.

You're right that it's an interesting channel for me.


EDIT:
In the same spirit, here's a video from another of the linguistics channels that I find interesting (ABAlphaBeta). It might be interesting for you, since you found Simon Roper's channel interesting.


This video (from the same channel) I found interesting for a related subject - translation and how interpretation is part of translation. Even a literal translation that's readable still includes interpretation from either the translator, the reader or both.

 
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Soldato
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Its not all Irish accents, they are quite varied. My missus is from Derry and she doesn't do this (none of them do) but it is more prevalent the further South you go as we have friends from Dublin and Cork that do say it like this.

I guess a comparison might be Londoners pronouncing 'th' as an 'f' ..... "Stick firteen quid on Fird Eye in the free firty at 'Aydock son" (thats how Londoners talk y'know).
I've never spoken to anyone from outside London that does this but note that its also similar sounding words.

I would guess for Irish, it might be because they are saying an English word and they have moved from Gaelic where the combination of letters and sounds is different. This has been taught the same way for many years so has probably stuck.
 
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Some (maybe all, I don't know) Irish accents completely ignore the 'h' in words related to the number 3. Tree, tirty, etc. [..]

Its not all Irish accents, they are quite varied. My missus is from Derry and she doesn't do this (none of them do) but it is more prevalent the further South you go as we have friends from Dublin and Cork that do say it like this.

Thanks - that answers my secondary question about how widespread it is in Irish accents.

I guess a comparison might be Londoners pronouncing 'th' as an 'f' ..... "Stick firteen quid on Fird Eye in the free firty at 'Aydock son" (thats how Londoners talk y'know).
I've never spoken to anyone from outside London that does this but note that its also similar sounding words.

Interesting. I remember some London accents along those lines from back when I lived down there. Now I'm wondering about the development of the word "three" in English over time. I'll look into that.

I would guess for Irish, it might be because they are saying an English word and they have moved from Gaelic where the combination of letters and sounds is different. This has been taught the same way for many years so has probably stuck.

That was a possibility I considered:

[..]An influence from Irish Gaelic, maybe?

But I know nothing about Irish Gaelic so I've no idea how likely it is.

It might explain the differences within Ireland. You say it's not in northern Irish accents and becomes more prevalent the further south you go. That sounds to me like it could match up with the amount of influence Irish Gaelic would have on English spoken in Ireland.
 
Soldato
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Some (maybe all, I don't know) Irish accents completely ignore the 'h' in words related to the number 3. Tree, tirty, etc.
I'm idly curious as to why.
They don't, you're just not hearing it. If you watch closely, you will often see their mouths make the correct shape.
TH is a voiceless dental fricative, which takes a precise amount of tongue pressure to ennunciate. It's easy to underapply pressure, but a slight overpressure or variance in placement will dampen the fricative element below casual perceptive levels, even though it's there.

Play around with the accent. It's far easier to feel it happening with yourself, than it is to describe it.
 
Man of Honour
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They don't, you're just not hearing it. If you watch closely, you will often see their mouths make the correct shape.
TH is a voiceless dental fricative, which takes a precise amount of tongue pressure to ennunciate. It's easy to underapply pressure, but a slight overpressure or variance in placement will dampen the fricative element below casual perceptive levels, even though it's there.

Play around with the accent. It's far easier to feel it happening with yourself, than it is to describe it.

I'm now talking to myself and it's your fault :)

You're right about that part too. We don't usually think about the mechanics of speaking, we just do it. It was easier to try it and feel the placement and pressure that I usually ignore when speaking.

Thanks for the very useful answer.

There is no 'th' sound in Irish.

That would fit with my initial pencilled-in idea for the reason:

[..] An influence from Irish Gaelic, maybe?


This is part of the reason why I like these forums. You can usually get decent answers to a question here.

EDIT: The question popped into my head because I've been watching a lot of long videos recently in which the creator and narrator has one of the Irish accents like this. I've since noticed that it also applies to some other words beginning with 'th', such as "through". I only noticed it in the number initially, but it's not just the number.
 
Man of Honour
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Funny was noticing the other day - a colleague from Ireland who generally has quite a light accent and pronounces the h but sometimes when tired or stressed slip into a thick accent and stuff like the h disappears.
 
Associate
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It's a social thing and what area you're from. (I'm Irish btw) More suburban type / posher areas, the "th" sound gets pronounced. The more city the area (and some rural), people generally don't. So three gets pronounced as tree, thanks is tanks and those and them take on a D sound, so more like doze and dem.

I had an uncomfortable situation years ago where my boss (from Canada), very loudly thought it was hilarious that I said theatre with the th and my friend said tea-at-er, queue much dagger looks from my friend.
 
Soldato
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My dad went over to Normandy on D-Day plus 4 or 5 in 1944 on an American landing craft with his lease-lend Mack truck.
He often spoke about a Yank that he talked with on the trip over, he told us that the guy said that he lived at West Toity Toid Street, Paterson, New Jersey.
 
Soldato
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I'm now talking to myself and it's your fault :)
YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!
Mission accomplished.... :p

The next part is to try and write with that accent, which really makes you stop and think about what's going on with all the twists.
The final part is to write with that accent, in a way that someone with their own strong accent can effectively reproduce it.
Try getting a Texan to correctly pronounce South African words!
 
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I guess a comparison might be Londoners pronouncing 'th' as an 'f' ..... "Stick firteen quid on Fird Eye in the free firty at 'Aydock son" (thats how Londoners talk y'know).
I've never spoken to anyone from outside London that does this but note that its also similar sounding words.

Weirdly enough, it isn't as prevalent in London as you'd think, it is more an East London thing, and actually way more common across Essex.
 
Soldato
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This thread has reminded me of the "Irish Dad's reaction to son failing the Driving Test" video. Probably a good example of the Irish accent too :p
 
Man of Honour
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Why is it that a percentage of the English population think theirs is the Alpha accent and all others are inferior?

The same reason why there's a percentage of people thinking that way about every accent in every language. It mostly boils down to what a person is used to.

I was a shandy-drinking softie southerner for decades before I moved to the grim uncivilised wilderness up north and I have mostly retained a light west Sussex accent. Some people around here have a negative view of my accent. Some people around here have a positive view of my accent. Some people around here josh me about it in a friendly way.

As is the case for many accents in many places. Like, for example, southern Irish accents when speaking English. Although southern Irish accents when speaking English are generally seen as being amongst the best of the numerous accents when speaking English.
 
Soldato
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Interdental fricative "th" consonant (there are two of them in english "th" as in "thin" and "th" and in "there") are rare in languages worldwide Irish gaelic does not have them and when they switched to English they didn't pick up on the consonents not present in their language so never learnt to use it anymore than English speakers learnt the welsh "Ll" consonant when pronouncing welsh names/places (as in Lloyd/Floyd both deriving from a welsh one one a transliteration of the spelling and the second an an attempt at the "Ll" consonant sound). There are other consonants that have no approximation in english like the click consonants in african languages such as the !Kung people speak (!) standing in for a click consonant.

That information enough for ya?!

n.b. if you really want me to go on I could say that "th" is ancient trait thats been mostly lost from other germanic languages english is rare in preserving it (as does Icelandic) its not an easy consonant to learn and most children do not learn it until past 5 years of age I can remember at school being told its "th" and not "f" and practising "th..th...th..." can't have been more than 6 or 7 years old. The roman alphabet doesn't have letters for them as they're not present in latin (they don't exist in french either) so the two present in english used to be written using the runes "eth" and "thorn" when the printing press arrived they couldn't use those so switched to "Y" as an approximation hence "Ye olde shoppe" which was never pronounced "ye" it was always "the" or "thee" at some point the convention switched to "th" instead.

n.n.b. english has dropped consonant clusters though there are consonant clusters still present in other germanic languages that have been lost in english that include -cn (kn) and -gn so "knight" derives from old english "cniht" buts it pronounced exactly as spelled with a hard "c" at the front just like the Danish name "****" which is c'nut and not 'nut as it might be in english. Or "gnat" which was pronounced like its written but the -g has been dropped and only exists in loan words from germanic languages that do preserve it like the Afrikaans derived gnu where you pronounce the hard -g at the front.

Told you I could go on...
 
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