I want to learn an Irish Gaelic song, but the phonology is making my brain hurt. Here's a line:

’Sé mo Shaesar, ghille mear

Pronounced like:

/ʃe mo hezər ɣɪlə mar/

Is there a program that can convert the lyrics to the International Phonetic Alphabet?

1 Answer 1


Use espeak -q --ipa to convert text input to IPA.

Option -q means "quiet" -- in this case literally "don't speak".

  1. First check that it supports the language:

    $ espeak --voices
    Pty Language Age/Gender VoiceName          File          Other Languages
     5  ga             -  irish-gaeilge        europe/ga     
  2. Then specify the language and feed the line:

    $ espeak -q -v ga --ipa "’Sé mo Shaesar, ghille mear"
     ʃˈeː mɐ hˈeːʃɐr
     ʁjˈɪlʲlə mˈar
  3. I don't know why the output has leading spaces and a linebreak, but feeding it into echo will remove them:

    $ echo $(espeak -q -v ga --ipa "’Sé mo Shaesar, ghille mear")
    ʃˈeː mɐ hˈeːʃɐr ʁjˈɪlʲlə mˈar
  4. Use while read to do the whole lyrics:

    $ while read line; do
    >     echo $(espeak -q -v ga --ipa "$line")
    > done < "Mo Ghille Mear.txt"
    ʃˈeː mɐ ləˈeːəx mɐ ʁjˈɪlʲlə mˈar
    ʃˈeː mɐ hˈeːʃɐr ʁjˈɪlʲlə mˈar
    nʲˈiː ˈuəɹɐs fˈeːn ˈeːən t̪ˈuən nɑː ʃˈeːn
    ˈoː xˈui̯ɡ ɪ ɡʲˈeːn mɐ ʁjˈɪlʲlə mˈar
  • On listening again to the song, it seems the machine transcription gets a lot of consonants wrong. Vowels are good for the most part.
    – wjandrea
    May 26, 2017 at 5:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .