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Cite this: eDIL s.v. T or
Last Revised: 2013


Forms: tinne, tt, t, t, d, t, th, t, th, t, th, t, d, nt, mt, t, t

the seventeenth letter of the Irish alphabet, and in the Ogham alphabet the third letter in the second or h- group, IGT Introd. § 4 . Irish name tinne `holly' : tinne ... .i. cuileann, Auraic. 1180 . Note also trían .i. aillinde sin aniu ` trian, t, another thing the meaning of that today,' 5549 . ? Corruption of cuillend é sin aniu 'holly today' Ériu xxxix 149 .

Frequ. written tt in O. and Mid. Ir. (cf. KZ xxxvi 202 ff. ). The group st is somet. written sd in Mid. and Mod. Ir.

Lenited th is somet. confused with ch : tothlugud, ZCP iii 35.12 = tochlugadh, Études Celt. ii 298.10 . t'eichsi, teithsi v.l., IGT Decl. ex. 998 . chreich, chreith, v.l. ex. 1001 . Cf. sethnu later sechnóin, ZCP xii 287 , and IGT Introd. 22.26 .

In O. and Mid. Irish t(t), when initial or preceded by s, always represents voiceless t. In other positions it may also represent voiced d. In O. Ir. this value of t is regular after vowels (cét, mod. céad), optional after consonants. See Thurn. Hdb. § 29 - §30 .

Lenition of t is regularly marked in MSS. of all periods. The pronunciation of th as h dates ( Thurn. Hdb. § 119 ) from the 11th century, but according to O'Rahilly, Hermathena xliv 163 ff. , from the end of the 13th. Previous to this we must suppose a dental spirant of the type of Germanic þ. th also occasionally alternates with f (pron. h) : othrála (ofrála), ZCP vi 24 z , cf. cona fuigsin (thuigsin), Études Celt. i 274.22 , and Mod. Ir. tathaint (—f—). In the possessive 2 s. (see it) it is sometimes replaced by h— : h'anora, ZCP vi 81.19 .

t resists or loses lenition :

(a) When geminated (see infra).

(b) In the groups st, rt (but frequently —rth— in part., see Thurn. Hdb. § 714 ), lt, cht.

(c) In common with d, after final n of a preceding word.

(d) Frequently before initial s- of a closely-following word : in chrut-so, —sin, Sg. 211b4 , 63a14 . in slogattsa, LL 398a18 . Note also fáitsine `prophecy,' Wb. 30d23 , in Ml fáissine fáithsine, q.v. See also IGT Introd. § 33 , § 34 .

(e) When a geminated sound results from contact of th and th or dh : -mitter <*mid-ther, indnite <*ind-nith-the. See Thurn. Hdb. § 134 , Meyer ZCP xiii 191.

Nasalisation of t is seldom marked in Old and Middle Irish, but note occasional spellings like con·danicc, Wb. 3c27 , beside con·tanic, 3a1 , and the stereotyped oldaas (taas). The spelling tt is found occasionally in O. Ir., more frequently in Mid. Ir. In Mod. Ir. nasalisation is marked by a prefixed d-. Cf. and trí naraid their three charioteers, TBC-I¹ 804 . See Ériu xi 148 - 9 .

t frequently results from original d in contact with lenited ṡ: díltud <* dí-ṡlonduth, Thurn. Hdb. § 128 . intamail <*indṡamail, int ṡúil, int ṡaeguil. This has given rise to the prefixing of t (where etymologically unjustifiable) as a sign of lenition : rochōirigh a tsleg re thaeb, ZCP xiii 220.1 . tainic crich tsaogail, TTebe 3718 , dar mullach tsleibi Parnars, 3714 . Note also : astsruth, SR 1665 . istsruth, 1682 . riastṡluag, 2129 . See IGT Introd. 17.19 . th arises from dh+h (<ṡ) in miathamla <miad+ṡamail, see Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 408 . t <dh after l, n, is found in rélto (gs. of rélad). ingantach (ingnad), etc., Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 417 . Also after voiceless sounds : macthi, Wb. 12c9 (—de), though in such cases etymological considerations often cause the original d to be restored : mucde suinus, Sg. 37b9 , cf. Thurn. Hdb. § 121 . There are also some cases of th for d due, apparently, to variations in pronunciation, e.g. búaith (—d), Wb. 11a7 . díthnad, 14b15 (do-dona), more usually dídnad. t also represents the voiced d arising from *nt, *mt in words like cotlud <contuil, cét <*kṃtom etc., and the voiceless t from k+d in etlae <*ek(s)dāl-, etc.

In loanwords t represents W. t, th, dd (exx. Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 23 , 24 , 509 ), Lat. t, tt ( Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 231 , 4 ). Also W. t=d ( Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 24 ), and intervocalic and final Lat. t in words borrowed through W. ( Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 232 , 3 ).