March 21st, 2015

  • teaoli

Irish pronunciation questions

I have a question about the pronunciation of a specific name, but I'd also like to know if a "rule" I've heard is true generally. I haven't been able to find a definitive answer online for either question.

1. A friend has a niece called Labhaoise, and the family pronounce it as "LEE shah" or thereabouts. (They live in Tipperary.) The only other Labhaoise I know of is a YouTube singer who pronounces her name almost exactly the same way. Yet, I recently saw alternative pronunciations on the interwebs: "Lah VEE shah", "Lav EESH", "LAV shah" and "LAU ih shah".

In some discussions, some people suggested that perhaps the "LEE shah" camp were confusing the name with "Laoise"; others suggested that the two names were the same but with different spellings.

2. A person in one of the forums argued that when "bh" comes after before an "a", it's silenced, so the "Lah VEE shah" pronunciation couldn't be right. That would make sense with the pronunciation my friend's family uses, but I still wonder if this is really a rule.

[In which I go on a semi-rant about the thing that kept this on my mind for the past couple of days.] This is all still in my head because people on two of the forums I visited suggested that the pronunciations would give Labhaoise "certain connotations" in America and that and Laoise was "another lovely Irish name ruined by its pronunciation" since they bring to mind names such as Shaniqua, Tamika, etc. (It's entirely possible that this was the same person posting on different forums, but I don't quite remember.)