View previous topic | View next topic

English, the language.

Page 9 of 10
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next

gerontius grumpus
122881.  Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:20 am Reply with quote

Does the DH sound like the TH in the?

Also, is it true that Liam is a diminutive of William, using the second half to distance it from William of Orange?

 
andymac
122918.  Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:53 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Also, is it true that Liam is a diminutive of William, using the second half to distance it from William of Orange?


It's not really known for sure if that's the origin (Liam is in theory short for the Irish Uilliam, from the same Germanic as William). However, what is for sure is that Liam can't be seen in use before the 17th century, and it may well have been much later.

In MODERN Ireland, it certainly is often used for that reason. There's a writer called Robert McLiam Wilson, who wrote Eureka Street (later filmed on the BBC) whose pen name is a joke on Northern Ireland 'name politics'. McLiam means son of William in (sort of) Irish. Wilson means - of course - son of William in English. In Northern Ireland, many people try to work out 'what foot someone kicks with (i.e. if they're Protestant or Catholic, Unionist/Nationalist or whatever) based on their name. Normally, Irish names mean Catholic and Scots or English mean protestant.

A Quite Interesting result of this is the ability to play into bigotry. When I was at college in Northern Ireland, a student with an Irish surname stood for a college election. In that university, most students didn't vote, but the 20% or so who did pretty much always voted on nationalist/unionist lines, and the majority were nationalist. In that election, the guy with the Irish name won a landslide, alongside a majority of nationalists. Unfortunately for the electorate, the guy was actually Free Presbyterian (Ian Paisley's church), Democratic Unionist (Ian Paisley's party) and opposed to any Irish involvement in Northern Ireland. Bigots are great :)

 
gerontius grumpus
123147.  Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:37 am Reply with quote

I once got into a rather awkward situation by mentioning that I was left footed to a Northern Irish person. I'm actually a lapsed Anglican but he took it the wrong way.
I should have been more wary because I had already made the mistake of telling him which part of Belfast my sister in law came from.

 
hetch
123454.  Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:54 am Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
I should have been more wary because I had already made the mistake of telling him which part of Belfast my sister in law came from.

The above makes me sigh. :-(

 
samivel
124391.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:56 pm Reply with quote

andymac wrote:
There's a writer called Robert McLiam Wilson, who wrote Eureka Street (later filmed on the BBC) whose pen name is a joke on Northern Ireland 'name politics'. McLiam means son of William in (sort of) Irish. Wilson means - of course - son of William in English.



Ah, I'd wondered why he had two surnames that mean the same thing. Eureka Street is an excellent novel, by the way.

:)

 
AlmondFacialBar
124396.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:09 pm Reply with quote

andymac wrote:
In MODERN Ireland, it certainly is often used for that reason. There's a writer called Robert McLiam Wilson, who wrote Eureka Street (later filmed on the BBC) whose pen name is a joke on Northern Ireland 'name politics'. McLiam means son of William in (sort of) Irish. Wilson means - of course - son of William in English.


which reminds me of the irish acting legend micheál macliammóir (he was iago in orson wells's othello). anyway, that guy was actually from london and his birth name was alfred wilmore. only he fell in love with irish culture, moved over and spent the rest of his life pretending to be from cork. astonishingly enough, he mostly got away with it too. his naming logic was "wil" = "william" = "liam", "mac" = irish prefix, "more" = sort of irish sounding anyay, "mor' is the irish word for "big", hence "macliammoir". quite interesting? probably not, but i thought i'd offer it up anyway. the thing about the irish named student union rep is hilarious!

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
andymac
124430.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:18 pm Reply with quote

That's actually common practice in the Gaeltacht (areas where Irish is promoted and actually spoken as a living language, mostly on the west of Ireland). If you have an Irish name, you must be known by it. If you don't, they convert your name (Irishize? Hibernicize? Gaelicize?) into a close Irish translation.

I remember my old French teacher used to give us A Level Unseens written by someone called Thomas Sarrasin. Took me about three of them before it struck me that Sarrasin means Saracen, or Moor, and that my teacher, Tom Moore, was just making them up himself...

 
AlmondFacialBar
124436.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:31 pm Reply with quote

true, andymac, but macliammoir never lived in a gaeltacht area, he just liked the idea of being irish - and pretended to be from blackrock, which is nowhere near the cork gaeltacht.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
andymac
124444.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:39 pm Reply with quote

I actually know Irish people who think he WAS Irish - I have a vague notion someone claimed so in the Irish Times or Independent or some such. I suppose in a country this small, we'll claim anyone we can :)

Can't help wondering what the Irish would be for AlmondFacialBar. I could ask my wife, but I think that one might be beyond even her...

 
AlmondFacialBar
124445.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:43 pm Reply with quote

there are still irish people who think he was irish? :-o well i've never met a single one of them and i've been living here for six years and patronise the gate theatre more than any other theatrical venue. i think i might text my irish speaking friend and ask him the irish for my nick, you put an idea in my head there... *g*

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
andymac
124449.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:47 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
there are still irish people who think he was irish? :-o well i've never met a single one of them and i've been living here for six years and patronise the gate theatre more than any other theatrical venue. i think i might text my irish speaking friend and ask him the irish for my nick, you put an idea in my head there... *g*

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

Oh, you won't meet them in the Gate or the Abbey or Andrew's Lane. Or watching QI. They'll probably be watching Big Brother...

My word, I am an intellectual snob...

 
AlmondFacialBar
124455.  Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:53 pm Reply with quote

i doubt your average big brother viewer is quite interested enough in mr. macliammoir to even know where he pretended to come from really... ;-) that said, i know a bunch of reasonably educated and intelligent people who aren't either.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
King of Quok
131490.  Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:27 am Reply with quote

Could we double the 'e' value of English by extending it to 'English etymology'? There are three that spring to mind that are probably quite well known, so apologies for reproducing them.

The first would be 'treacle', which supposedly comes, at root, from a word meaning 'wild beast'. Walter Skeat has it as follows:

treacle: formerly a medicament; the modern treacle is named from resembling it in appearance: Middle English 'triacle', a sovreign remedy. - French 'triacle', also spelt 'theriaque' - Latin 'theriaca', an antidote for poisons, especially venomous bites - Greek 'theriaka tharmaka', antidotes for the bites of wild beasts - Greek 'theriakos', belonging to a wild beast - Greek 'ther', a wild beast.
(sorry, I can't do Greek characters on this keyboard, so I've transcribed them into Roman)

He's equally good on 'tragedy', which has (paradoxically) amused me since I found out it comes from the word 'goat':

tragedy: from French 'tragedie' - Latin 'tragoedia' - Greek 'tragodia', literallly a 'goat-song', probably because a goat (as the spoiler of vines) was sacrificed to Dionysus...

The third of my favourites isn't covered by Mr Skeat, but concerns the rather obscure word 'grimoire', used to describe a medieval to eighteenth century book describing magical beliefs and practices. Apparently this is related to the word 'grammar' because grammar, in the Middle Ages, was learnt from the works of Virgil and became 'grammayre', 'magic', because people would use volumes of Virgil to predict the future by a sort of random numerology, opening the works at a random page and line and apllying this to a question about the future. When the Civil War began, Charles I apparently ended up picking Dido's curse on Aeneas, whilst as late as the C18, Robert Walpole, on consulting the works about the choice of George II as monarch got another line from 'The Aeneid': 'You Gods, drive such a monster from the earth'.

 
Gaazy
131558.  Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:24 pm Reply with quote

andymac wrote:
If you don't, they convert your name (Irishize? Hibernicize? Gaelicize?) into a close Irish translation.

It used to be standard practice to Latinize your name (e.g. Nostradamus, whose real name was Michel de Nostradame).

This explains the unexpected pronunciation of Caius [=keez] College (really Gonville and Caius College) - it was refounded in the 16th century by John Keys, whose Latinized name is Iohannes Caius.

 
mckeonj
131608.  Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:07 pm Reply with quote

Further to the macliammor story; Orson Welles, aged 17, was ASM at the Gate Theatre under its director Hilton Edwards, who was Wilmore's long-term partner.
Another Gaelicised Englishman was Sean macStiofan, one time Commandant of the Official IRA. He was originally John Stephenson from London.

 

Page 9 of 10
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group