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English, the language.

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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.

 
legspin
138776.  Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:33 am Reply with quote

Although not quite on the same level the irish playwrite Sean O'Casey was actually Sean Casey. He was that rarest of irish birds, dirt poor working class protestant. He also changed his name so as to appear more irish.

 
BondiTram
138906.  Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:08 pm Reply with quote

Considering my lifelong interest in language and dialect I am amazed to have only just discovered this thread. I offer one or two nuggets and questions from my memory of the last 9 pages and my own experience.
My birthplace was Manchester and I have always known I was a Mancunian but have only recently discovered that a ship that my grandfather designed was called the Mancunium. I always thought it was Mancunian. Is the actual name Latin for the city or somebody's idea of what the Latin would be, or perhaps some other reason?
He, Grandpa, came from a Welsh family of seafarers in Llanelli, as did my other Grandpa, his brother. Their father fetched up at some point in Truro where he met and married their mother. Returning to his family home in Llanelli she was ostracised by the Welsh speaking in-laws (because she was 'English', ironic being one of a long line of Celtic Cornish) and, being of stern stuff, swore none of her children would learn Welsh. One of my Grandpas defied her and did learn the language. Sadly he didn't pass it to his kids which explains why I can't speak the language today. I am hoping to make a pilgrimmage this year to track down as much of this family history (on both sides of the Bristol Channel) as I can.
On the subject of changing names to reflect either real or imagined ancestry, or assimiliation, I note that on becoming a French citizen (the process has started) I am offered the opportunity to change my forenames 'Francisation du Prénom' and since all my life I have been plagued, despite being called nothing other than David, by officialdom insisting on using my first name of Reginald, am tempted. 'Regis-David', what do you think? However a bit more stylish with an accent. 'Régis' pronounced Raygee or, more accurately reflecting the original, 'Règis' (Regee). The 'g' of course always soft not like in English. Absence of accent of course produces 'Ruhgis'. I don't think so, sounds too much like a wholsale market in Paris.

 
Glodrydd
742885.  Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:36 pm Reply with quote

I've only just discovered this site, so my comments are a bit late. I very much enjoy Gaazi's informative contributions about the Welsh language, but would like to cross swords with him on a couple of small points:

(1) Please! It would be helpful for non-Welsh speakers if you used "standard forms" to explain grammar:

allan, i fyny, e, nawr, union, etc;
rather than:
mâs, lan, o, rwan, gwmws, etc.
(these are random examples of the principle)

(2) I don't think that "*mawrgledd" is a likely form for "big sword". It is unrecorded in anywhere I have searched, including the University of Wales Dictionary. "Cledd Mawr" is, however, the name used for the big metal thing they dangle around threateningly at the National Eisteddfod, before being forced to sheathe it by a vocal crowd. In parts of Wales "*cle' mowr", sounding very similar to "claymore" is a possibility. - cf "mini mowr" (big mountain) = "mynydd mawr".
The next point is the same point, really. The question as to whether to put an adjective before or after a noun is easy most of the time, but in proper names and poetic language this is not always the case. "Maen Hir" and "Hirfaen" are both attested in place-names. Certainly "Maen Hir" occurs more frequently than "Hirfaen", and may well have been gaining ground since the 17th century, influenced by the Breton "menhire". There are many "Maen" locations in Wales; where there is an adjective, this comes second far more frequently - I would estimate what where there is an adjective attached it comes after "maen" about 80% of the time; where "maen" is used as an adjective, e.g. "y bont faen" (the stone bridge), that is a different case.

I hope you don't mind my nit-picking; your contributions are most excellent and extremely informed. Keep up the good work!

Diolch o galon am eich gwaith godidog ar y tudalennau hyn!

 
Stefan Linnemann
982025.  Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:37 am Reply with quote

Gaazy wrote:
samivel wrote:
Does this mutation still apply if you're talking in Welsh or Irish to someone with, for example, an English name? So would 'Peter' become 'Beter'?

Theoretically yes, though the practice of mutating a proper name used vocatively has all but died out.


Poor Buck....

Stefan.

 

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