Lenition of personal names

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
MartinJ
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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by MartinJ » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:08 pm

Sailm Dhaibhidh - sailm Daibhidh? Dè tha dol?

Both forms seem to be in use. It's almost as if lenition is optionaly added to emphasise the genitive of a name but I can't find anything in Grammar sources to confirm this.

I think I've also seen "taigh Dhaibhidh" somewhere.

Can anyone enlighten me please?

Le dùrachd MartinJ



akerbeltz
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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:36 pm

Sailm Daibhidh is wrong. There should be lenition. You may get cases of blocked lention in a few cases (like Clann + dental, Clann Dòmhnaill vs Clann Ghiogair) but that's rare. Titles like Naomh and Rìgh also behave in unusual ways but the genitive of a personal male name gets lenited in modern Gaelic.

PS the possissives ar/ur/an of course break that lenition chain, so taigh ar Dòmhnall (which more commonly would be taigh Dhòmhnaill againne) does not lenite in spite of it being in the genitive.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by MartinJ » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:01 am

Hey, that's great. I love the "respect" that's implied- sort of echo of the vocative?

Are there any other declensional quirks that apply only to personal names?

Regards, MJ
Last edited by MartinJ on Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:08 pm

I don't think it's a sign of respect but it's hard to say.

Quirks... feminine nouns are a bit lah-de-dah regarding lention depending on the speaker i.e.
cat Mhurchaidh
cat Mòraig
cat Mhòraig

are all "legal"

MartinJ
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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by MartinJ » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:39 pm

The odd thing about this is that I can find no reference to this convention (?) in Grammar pages - nothing on GOC or http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?titl ... e_genitive for example ;) (unless I'm missing something).

Gosh there's such a lot to learn!

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by An Gobaire » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:31 pm

cat Mhurchaidh - yes
cat Mòraig - yes

cat Mhòraig - no

feminine personal names are not lenited in the possessive.
Dèan buil cheart de na fhuair thu!

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by MartinJ » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:20 am

Fhuair mi e! "Teach Yourself Gaelic" le Robertson 's Taylor. Bha mi a' rannsachdh air loidhne le "christian names" agus "first names" agus "personal names". Ni ach sgudal. Ach "forenames". Ahha!

"Forenames (genitive case) ...Masculine names are changed in the same way as the vocative.....Feminine names are changed by inserting an i before the final consonant... In some dialects the initial letter of feminine forenames is also lenited..."

Ach, carson.....?

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by GunChleoc » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:50 pm

Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:04 pm

As to the why, I don't know for sure but I suspect that as in most cases, due to inflection there must have been a vowel that appeared before a masculine name and none before a feminine name. It certainly is there in Old Irish e.g. cuislinn Brighde vs sanas Chormaic.

I'll ask, I'm sure someone knows.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by MartinJ » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 am

Tapadh leat, a Ghuncleoic. Feumaidh mi speuclairean ùr!

The idea of a lost introductory vowel makes sense to me - it would seem to parallel the 'a' that introduces the vocative. Is it too fanciful to imagine that the purpose of the vowel is to give the nouns representing personal names special prominence over inanimate objects? The lenition that follows the use of 'a' is just because "this is what 'a' does".

I suppose I'm suggesting here that the lost vowel in the genitive case is 'a' too.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:48 am

Is it too fanciful to imagine that the purpose of the vowel is to give the nouns representing personal names special prominence over inanimate objects?
It is too fanciful 8-) You can similarly address inanimate objects in the vocative in Gaelic. There aren't many instances of animate vs inanimate marking in Europe outside Basque, the personal numerals are the only one that immediately spring to mind.
The lenition that follows the use of 'a' is just because "this is what 'a' does".
Almost, I'd put that as "a causes lenition because HISTORICALLY it ended in a vowel". After all, it's a màthair (where the a ends in a vowel but doesn't lenite) and an fheannag (where the an ends in a consonant but lenites).
I suppose I'm suggesting here that the lost vowel in the genitive case is 'a' too.
Most likely and most likely what is blocking it with feminine nouns is a lost -n but I haven't been able to get a definitive answer yet on where that comes from.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by Seumas Deasach » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:28 pm

This thread has added to a tr*nsl*t**n question I have been struggling with, if I may ask. The name ' JAMES MILLS', after asking an online friend, native speaker, for help, would tr*nsl*t* to 'SEUMAS MUILEANN'. My question is, the translated plural of MILL (MUILEANN), would be MUILNEAN? My friend had never heard of this "plural" version of the word.
Relevant to this thread, would it then be SEUMAS MHUILEANN/MHUILNEAN ?
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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:53 pm

Let's see about the easy bit first ... many Gaelic words have more than one plural. Muileann can have muilnean or muileannan as a plural. Both are legit.

But he wouldn't be Seumas Muileann in the first instance. That's just not how Gaelic surnames work. He might be Seumas a' Mhuilinn as a nickname but that's not what you're after. To begin with Mills ≠ Mills. There are at least two derivations, one being from Mill (the place where grain is ground) and the other is from the Irish surname Miles. Unpicking that will be a challenge.. but let's say for the sake of argument that we're talking about the grinding place. In Gaelic, he'd come out as James Son of the Miller i.e. Seumas Mac a' Mhuilleir.

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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by Seumas Deasach » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:50 pm

In the 1600's, back as far as we can go, we have two generations of 'MILL' before the addition of the 'S', does that help with context? As a surname, I guess not all rules would automatically apply, even if we assume the name is derived from the occupation?
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Lenition of personal names

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:08 pm

If it was Mill then it's unlikely to have been Miles/Myles as that has an organic s. So Mac a' Mhuilleir, making an educated guess, should be right.

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