[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: A question on pronunciation

Poster: James and/or Nancy Gilly <KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net>

At 12:34 14-1-97 +0000, Corun MacAnndra wrote:

>I have a question on the pronunciation of the name Eoghan. This is a
>minor nit, but may be important to those with that name, and certainly
>to those of us who love language and its proper use.
>It was pointed out to me at 12th Night that Eoghan was pronounced by
>those in court as E-O-Gan. Yet, this being a Gaelic name, should it
>not be more correctly pronounced Ewen? To give some examples, I provide
>the following;
>	Eithne		pronounced	Enya
>	Mebh		    " 		Maeve
>	O'Siodhachain	    "		O'Sheehan
>	bheann sidhe	    "		banshee

I hope that the following will be of some help to readers of the list.

At least in Ireland today , Eithne is pronounced as ETH-na, or ET-na, rather
like the volcano in Sicily.  The "th" is somewhere between the "t" and the
"th" of modern English.  In the eight years that I lived in Ireland I never
met anyone whose name was pronounced "Enya", but it would seem to be some
form of Ainne, or Anne.  There is an Irish name pronounced Ay-gon, with two
equally stressed syllables.  I do not know if this is related to Eoghan, and
if it is, if the pronunciation applies to the Scots form.  

On a side note:
In Irish any consonant with an "h" after it is aspirated, i.e. pronounced as
the german "ch", e.g. "auch". (The exceptions are "mh" and "bh", which are
pronounced as either "w" or "v".)  O'Siodhachain is, strictly speaking,
pronounced 0-SHEE-a-hawn, which has been shortened to O-SHEE-han in modern
English.  To get banshee, I believe that the spelling in Irish would be
"beann sidhe" without the "h".  As spelled, "Bheann", meaning woman, would
be pronounced "van" or possibly "wan".
This "h" after the consonant is a modern typographical convention, since in
the original written irish the lenition symbol is a dot over the consonant
called a bulcha (phonetic spelling; I don't remember the Irish) which most
English type fonts cannot handle.  

I do not claim to know  anything about pronouncing any of the other celtic
languages, nor do I claim any expertise in specifically medieval Irish

Philippa Grey

James and/or Nancy Gilly


List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://sca.wayfarer.org/merryrose/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org