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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (July-December) » Help with names « Previous Next »

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Jen (uw12.astrazeneca.com - 63.100.108.12)
Posted on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi everyone, I've just begun to learn Irish, and I have what appears to be a common question: can anyone tell me if there is a Irish translation for my name - Jennifer?

Also, does anyone know anything about the surname Criste? This is my grandmother's surname, and her father's family supposidly came to America from Co. Cork. I've been unable to uncover any information on it, other than one web site that cited Scottish origins. My great-grandfather would turn over in his grave if someone were to say he was Scottish, and not Irish! :)

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Bradford (dtg-66.216-16-15.dtgnet.com - 216.16.15.66)
Posted on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 03:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jennifer, a chara,

I copied the following from an Irish name website:

"Jennifer is a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwynhwyfar. In English, we also know this name as Guenivere, King Arthur's queen. It has never been translated into Irish. However, it it made up from elements meaning "white; blessed; holy" and "smooth." Fionnait is an Irish name meaning "white." This could be used as a semi-translation of Jennifer. Jennifer is often (inaccurately) listed as meaning "white wave" in many baby name books. I've gotten lots of e-mails from irate Jennifers who like this meaning and want to stick with it. If you like this meaning, then perhaps Muireann (MWIR in) would be a good translation for Jennifer--it means "sea-white" in Irish."

As far as Criste, I don't know.

Hope this helps a little.

Le meas,

Bradford

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Jen (uw11.astrazeneca.com - 63.100.108.11)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 01:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bradford,

Thanks for your reply. I like Fionnait just fine. How is it pronounced?

Would you mind indulging a few stupid questions? I see most people using the greeting ", a chara," at the beginning of posts. Does this just mean "Dear ,"? Are there any limitations on the use of it? Is it proper to use for both men and women?

Also, what does "Le meas" mean? Are there any limitations on this?

Thanks a bunch,
Jen

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Jen (uw12.astrazeneca.com - 63.100.108.12)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 02:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Oops, something goofy happened with the formatting in my last post. I meant to say:

" name, a chara," and
"Dear name,"

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Bradford (dtg-66.216-16-15.dtgnet.com - 216.16.15.66)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 04:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Fionnait, a chara, :-)

I am by no stretch of the imagination even adequate in Irish, but I will answer your questions to the best of my ability. To those of you who know better please feel free to jump in and correct anything I may mess up!

I believe that Fionnait would be pronounced FYUN-ahtch, although that may vary a little depending on the dialect spoken.

"Cara" means "Friend" in Béarla (English). As you surmised, "X, a chara" would equate to "Dear X" in Béarla. As far as I know it is appropriate for both men and women, although more knowledgeable people on this board could certainly confirm or refute this.

"Le Meas" means "With Respect" in Béarla. It is one of a number of closing statements that could potentially be used in a letter, email, etc.

Welcome to Irish!

Slán (Health),

Bradford

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James (209.48.182.219)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jen,

Bradford has it pretty well described. From a strictly academic standpoint, I would offer the following:

A Chara invokes the use of a peculiar "tense" (for lack of a better term) called the Vocative. It is similar to "Oh" as in "O Dear friend of mine."

You will encounter it in spoken Irish with phrases where a particular person is being addressed.

Example as gaeilge: "A Chait, Cá bhfuil to mamaí?"

Anois, as Bearla: "Oh Cait, where is your mommy?"

When the vocative is used, it demands lenition. Lenition is the inclusion of an "h" after the initial consonant of the following word, a proper noun in this case. In Irish script this lenition is represented by a dot over the consonant.

Linguistically, or phonetically, it "softens" the sound of the consonant. In Irish it is called a Sheimhu (my spelling might be off on that) which means "soften" in Irish.

Therefore, the Cait (Kayt) becomes Chait (Xayt--think of the "ch" being pronounced like a german "ch" in "achtung.)

This is all purely academic and may or may not be of interest.

Faílte.

Le meas,

James

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Bradford (66.231.2.41)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 06:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

James, a chara,

Go raibh maith agat for doing a great job of explaining the vocative concept, which I neglected to do. I didn't want to confuse Jen with too much information, but it was probably at least as confusing to see "cara" in one place and "chara" in the next!

Le meas,

Bradford

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James (209.48.182.219)
Posted on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 07:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bradford, a chara,

I'm just beginning to get the hang of this language and any chance I get to explain it helps me as much as it helps the "explainee." Honestly, I am regurgitating mostly things that I've read or been told on this site. (Go raibh mile maith agaibh, a Sheosaimhin, Larry, Dennis, Alec, Cholm, Dhaithi et. al.)

Le meas,

James

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Jen (uw11.astrazeneca.com - 63.100.108.11)
Posted on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

James/Bradford,

I wasn't sure how to use "a chara" with multiple names, like the two of your names here. Could you say "James/Bradford, a chara,"? Or how would you address a group of people (without mentioning specific names)?

Thanks for the explanation about these terms! James, I appreciate the "academic standpoint", as you put it. It didn't confuse me, rather, it clarified things a bit. Bradford was right, it was confusing to see "cara" in one place and "chara" in the next!

Le mas,
Jen

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Jen (uw11.astrazeneca.com - 63.100.108.11)
Posted on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Geez, I misspelled "Le meas". Sorry!

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Risteárd (syr-24-58-3-9.twcny.rr.com - 24.58.3.9)
Posted on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The vocative plural, "a chairde" is used when you're addressing more than one person.

Ádh mór!

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