David Smith complains about what he calls ridiculously intrusive “haitches” in the pronunciation of taoiseach and tánaiste on the airwaves. These are both Irish words, and in the Irish language, the letters D and T, if followed by a broad vowel (a, o, u) are pronounced as if they were followed by the letter “h”. For convenience, I call them “soft” Ds and Ts. So the broadcasters are right – it should be “thaoiseach” and “thánaiste”.
And while I’m at it, “Fine”, as in Fine Gael, is also an Irish word, and is pronounced “finna”, and not “fine”, to rhyme with “wine”. Enda Kenny gets it right. Do his supporters not hear the difference?
Doireann Ní Bhriain,
Pic: Laura Hutton