A

Cite this: eDIL s.v. A or dil.ie/1

first letter of the Irish alphabet, and first in the a-group in Ogam alphabet. Irish name ailm, q.v.

In later lang. ă is used as glide with e before neutral cons. (see under e), and is used itself with follg. glide -i- before palatal cons. with increasing regularity from the O.Ir. period on; also as glide in O.Ir. before final -e, -i preceded by neutral cons. (daltae, daltai, etc.), see GOI § 87 , § 98 . ă appears for o in certain phonetic environments, § 81 . § 82 , § 95 ; on the alteration a/e (daig, dego; saigid, segait) see § 83 and Celtica iii 182 ; on the spellings au, ai before u-quality consonants see GOI § 80 . In the classical lang. ă alternates for metrical purposes with ŏ and ŭ (even in stressed syllables with certain limitations), and á with ó, see TD Introd. lxvi , IGT Introd. § 141 , § 143 . Long á is sometimes spelt aa in O.Ir., see GOI § 27 .

In native words ă represents Indo-European *ĕ and *ə, GOI § 50 ; original *ā in final unstressed syllables, § 93 ; original *e in certain proclitics (la, amm, etc.), § 115 . It appears as a secondary vowel after syncope and loss of final syllables with nasals, l and r (immainse, cétal, arathar), § 112 . It also arises with original vocalic sonants (other than *i and *u) in certain phonetic contexts, §§ 213, 215 .

Long á represents Indo-European *ā and *ō, GOI § 51 , and also *ă after compensatory lengthening, § 125 .

The diphthong aí, ái represents Indo-European *ai and *oi, §§ 66 ff. , and aú, áu (archaic) Indo-European *au, *ou, etc., § 69 .

In Latin loanwords ă represents ă, Pedersen Vgl. Gr. § 121 , and somet. ŏ, § 122. Long á represents ā, § 126 ; and occasionally ă, § 121 . The diphthong goes back to ae in saígul, § 132 .