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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2005 (March-April) » Archive through March 11, 2005 » Naming in Irish « Previous Next »

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Gillian
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Posted From: 24.218.95.51
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 06:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I am wondering if someone could explain the naming rules in Irish. I know that surnames have prefixes like O and Ni and I think Ui as well, but I'm not sure when it is appropriate to use what. An isn't nee to denote a woman's maiden name?
When I was taking Spanish lessons, we all went by a spanish version of our name (or if there wasn't one, another spanish name our teacher fancied for us) and I'd like to do the same for Irish. My last name, Daley, I understand comes from O'Dallaigh, but I am wondering what the proper prefix would be. Is it common for siblings to have different surname prefixes depending on their gender?

Thanks
Gillian

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Lughaidh
Member
Username: Lughaidh

Post Number: 167
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 07:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

For males: Ó + the name (no lenition if the first letter is a consonant, h before the first letter if it’s a vowel)
For females: Ní + the name (lenition if the first letter is a consonant, no change if it’s a vowel

The genitive of Ó is Uí (lenition if the first letter is a consonant, no change if it’s a vowel). Ní remains unchanged in the genitive.

Examples:

Man: Ó Dálaigh (genitive: Uí Dhálaigh)
Woman: Ní Dhálaigh (genitive: Ní Dhálaigh)

Man: Ó hEacháin (genitive: Uí Eacháin)
Woman: Ní Eacháin (genitive: Ní Eacháin)

Ó Dálaigh is the irish spelling for your own name. Since you’re a woman, you’d use Ní Dhálaigh.


When a woman is married, she keeps her maiden name, or she can use the name of her husband:
If you marry a man called Ó Braonáin, then you’ll be Gillian Uí Bhraonáin or Gillian Bn Uí Bhraonáin (Bn is the abbreviation of "bean" = wife). It means "Ó Braonáin’s Gillian" and "Gillian wife of Ó Braonáin".

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Alix
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Posted From: 69.158.131.169
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 09:16 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

When would a man use the genitive "Uí"?

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Antaine
Member
Username: Antaine

Post Number: 255
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 01:29 am:   Edit Post Print Post

when introducing his wife ;o)

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Antaine
Member
Username: Antaine

Post Number: 256
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 01:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

if i've got this straight, the paradigm follows. but it's almost 2am and i'm exhaused from playing a concert, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


Ó=grandson of
Mac/Mc= son of

Ní= granddaughter of (used by unmarried woman)
Uí= granddaughter of (used by married woman)
Nic= daughter of (used by unmarried woman)
Mhic=daughter of (used by married woman)

note, the above for women depends on what the father's/husband's name is

Ó hÓgáin (man) = Uí hÓgáin (wife)/Ní hÓgán (daughter)
Mac Donagh (man) = Mhic Donagh (wife) / Nic Donagh (daughter)

or something to that effect...

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Aonghus
Member
Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1060
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 05:05 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Another use of the genetive would be for something "belonging" to a man:

e.g. Mairtín Ó Cadhain -> Arás Mhairtín Uí Chadhain

Ó and Mac as given by Antaine above is how these names originated; but they do not indicate the father/grandfathers name anymore.
It would be more accurate to translate them as "descended from" - e.g. The Uí Neill are descendants of Niall Naoi Ghialla

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Seosamh Mac Muirí
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Posted From: 193.1.100.104
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 07:56 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Mar chuidiú:

Ua = Ó (tuis. ginide: uí)

Iníon Uí ('n 'í >) = Ní


Mac (tuis. ginide: mic)

Iníon Mhic ('n 'ic >) = Nic

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Antaine
Member
Username: Antaine

Post Number: 257
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 10:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

it is my understanding that when the names originated (grandson of, son of) they weren't surnames, they were *names*.

Ógán's son was MacÓgáin (not 'Briain Mac Ógáin"...just "Mac Ógáin) and MacÓgáin's son was Ó hÓgáin. until another famous, brave, or noble person sprang up in the line. Like most of Europe at the time, the individual didn't matter in the sense he/she does today. the Clan was everything and sons and daughters "belonged to" their father and wives to their husbands, and their names reflected that.

is that right? I know our modern use of a "surname" is a fairly recent thing in the 10,000 years of written and archetectural European History. I believe that the Norwegians just normalized (ie. made static) their surnames in the 19th century. Prior to that Olaf's son was Eric Olafson, but Eric's son was Lars Ericson. All that naturally makes record keeping, inheritance taxation, and voting records difficult. At least that's what I was told by my professor while teaching Ibsen - Jonas? care to jump in here?

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Aonghus
Member
Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 1069
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Tribe names using Mac and Ó were used much earlier in Irish. But people in The Gaeltacht today still use patronymics as well.

So you will hear names like "Mairtín Jamsie Ó Flathartha" Nan Tam Taimín, or Hiudaí Hiudaí Hiudaí, etc.

This is particularly the case becuase the surname is the same for many people in an area. Most people on Inis Óirr, for example, have the surname Ó Conghaile (or Ó Conaola).



I believe Iceland still uses -sson and -dottir with the immediate fathers name.

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Maidhc Ó G.
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Posted From: 152.163.100.136
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"At first, the surname was formed by prefixing Mac to the father's name or O to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Names with the prefixes mac and even O, apparently surnames, will be found in the records relating to centuries before the tenth, but these were ephemeral not hereditary. After a time, other types of surnames were adopted, still with the prefixes Mac and sometimes O: for example those which introduced the words 'giolla' and 'maol' both usually meaning servant or follower. often in the sense of devotee of some saint eg. Mac Giolla Mhártain (modern Gilmartin or Martin) or Ó Maoilbhreanainn (modern Mulrennan) from St.Martin to St. Brendan. Perhaps the most numerous of the later names were those formed from the occupation of the father, as for example Mac an Báird, son of the bard (modern MacWard or Ward) or Ó hÍceadha - ícidhe, doctor or healer - (modern Hickey).
- Mac Lysacht.

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Lughaidh
Member
Username: Lughaidh

Post Number: 174
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 07:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

To Antaine > Donagh isn't an Irish spelling, it's the English spelling of the Irish name Donn(a)cha. So, The name is Mac Donn(a)cha, Nic Dhonn(a)cha

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SMTM
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Posted From: 83.70.243.46
Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 07:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"Like most of Europe at the time, the individual didn't matter in the sense he/she does today. the Clan was everything and sons and daughters "belonged to" their father and wives to their husbands, and their names reflected that. "
-
Not really. The laws for example are much more nuanced with rights of wives to seize property from husbands should they be AOL at war etc. Rights to hold property in their own title etc. We have names of possessed dwellings like "Ráth Ghráinne" female ownership etc. One also sees in the stories women of higher status than men. Indeed Irish and Celtic mythology abound with strong women. If one thinks of Gráinne in "Tóraíocht Dhiarmada 's Ghráinne" this is no owned woman. Nor indeed was the proto-victorian view of women in marriage particularly popular amongst Irish speakers with the advent of English administrative laws. Indeed, just a quick reading of “Cúirt an Mhean-Oíche” shows how discordant they were to the indigenous mindset.

The actual process one finds in folklore and in common practice is the naming after significant members of the family be it father, mother, or grandparent. And frequently entire lines are traced not by gender but by the individuals "Clú" or reputation. In highlighting ones ancestors, one was also emphasising your own "Clú 's cáil" and one always highlighted those of greater fame. In Irish legend if anything the ancestors are owned by the hero of the piece to support his claim to fame. As a land of storytellers it is the hero that always takes centre stage. "the individual didn't matter" is the anthesis of the laoch concept.


The use of name outside of stating ancestral "clú" is to clarify identity through relationships known to the listener and not so much to place the person in a owner-owned relationship or indeed to create a fixed name. My father was known as Tarlach Mac Mháire. Which is not after his father but after his mother who had greater "clú". For administrative purposes the "family name" was used but it had no currency in the locality. Asking for me by my surname would initiate confussion and a discussion of lineage or location in order to identify me. For example naming me after my father would have left one with a difficulty of distinguishing me from three others of same name, while naming me after my father and grandmother or after my mother would have been uniquely identifying. Note frequently that in Irish one refers not to “The name of a person” but “a name for the person”. Hiudaí Hiudaí Hiudaí ab ainm dó. Hiudaí Hiudaí Hiudaí was a name to/for him. In different contexts one would have more than one name.

Another common practice was naming by profession, personal attribute, or deed. Or indeed after the father/mothers identified through profession "Mac an tSagairt" son of the priest. Frequently, names changed with age as the individual gained in clú the name changed. For example a person known through relationship became a person known by profession or deed, or a mix of the two.

Much of the fixing of, and meaning given to name and title today relates to Victorian views and prior/subsequent administrative requirement, and does not reflect the indigenous practices. One sees this superimposition in things like letter writing and so on where formality was introduced to comply with Victorian/post-Victorian norms. Indeed true respect is more traditionally shown by rapid inclusion rather than increased formality. As I reflect back to my childhood it was more common for women to use maiden name or prior to marriage appelations in my fathers townland. Indeed, I never heard my aunt called by her married name. She was always know just by her own first two names -as she was as Behan described a woman of great "capernosity and function" and had enough "Clú 's cáil" for twenty.

There is a tendency to superimpose a “Norman” view of heraldry on Irish lineages which is incorrect. It is the view of administators rather than the indigenous.

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Seán a' Chaipín
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Posted From: 81.139.13.206
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 02:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Keating says that Brian Ború introduced a formal system of surnames:

"It was Brian, too, who gave the men of Ireland distinct surnames by which each separate sept of them is distinguished from the rest."

http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100054/text087.html

He doesn't go into any detail about it though. I think these surnames only really applied to the uaisle, those who had political clout. The ordinary moghach (serf) would not really have any name but a simple Christian name (first name).

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SMTM
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Posted From: 83.70.243.46
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 09:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Keating say's lots. Even uaisle were known by deeds, characteristics, lineage, and clú well after Ború's time. The emphasis remained "to clarify identity through relationships or attributes known to the listener". Fixed names were of much greater interest to the administrator and didn't really catch on until the dominance of English and the collapse of the history keeping oral tradition that could easily access the lineage and it's elements of Clú 's Cáil.

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'dj@ks
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Posted From: 159.134.220.125
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 08:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

SMTM,
that'd very interesting...so how much clú do families of incomers have (who came in the last 150 years?)

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SMTM
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Posted From: 83.70.243.46
Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 10:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Varies.

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Seosamh Mac Muirí
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 193.1.100.105
Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 03:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

>>> Fixed names were of much greater interest to the administrator and didn't really catch on until the dominance of English and the

Is eagal liom go bhfuil breis is 400 bliain ar iarraidh de réir an chórais seo a SMTM.



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