Ogham is historically used to write Old Irish and Primitive Irish, but I have not been able to find any evidence of its use persisting in modern Irish. It does not have a nice correspondence with the modern Irish alphabet, and lacks critical features for accurately representing modern Irish phonology. However, the normal modern Irish orthography makes extensive use of digraphs and displaced contrast (i.e., the "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan" rule for using vowel letters to indicate palatal/velar contrast on consonants) anyway, and it seems a similar system could be used to adapt Ogham. Additionally, there are other alphabetic scripts that don't bother with a full and accurate representation of the spoken form of the language anyway (i.e., the Younger Futhark used to write Old Norse), so perhaps modern Irish could be written in Ogham without the same sort of accommodations as are used in the standard Latin-based orthography.

So, has modern Irish ever been written in Ogham, and/or is there any standard method of transcription / transliteration into that alphabet?

  • Off the top of my head, yes to your first question and no to your second. I've never seen a standardized system. (There are 26 standard Ogham characters so you can do a nice one-to-one mapping with the Latin orthography, digraphs and all.) – Draconis Aug 17 '17 at 16:48
  • @Draconis Do you know of any examples I could look at for reference? – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 17 '17 at 17:15
  • I'll try to find some. – Draconis Aug 17 '17 at 17:56
  • 1
    There is a good discussion of this question here – Mark Beadles Aug 18 '17 at 13:09
  • @LoganR.Kearsley Isn't this a bit like trying to write modern English with the Old English Runes? I guess technically you could, but the language has evolved well past the point of them being useful, and I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to be able to read the transcription. – Justin Randall Jul 20 '18 at 18:39

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