Friday, August 8, 2008

Howdy, Colm

The other day I saw Colm Meaney walking down Lower Baggot Street in Dublin. My friend and I looked at each other and said, "That's Collum Meaney." Had I seen the actor last year in Austin I would have called him Cohlm, with a long O and the L sliding directly into a short M. I think I would have been wrong. I work with a guy named Colm, pronounced Collum. Like the Irish pronunciation of film, fillum.

I would have thought that generations of trendy US parents had already poached all the Irish names, but turns out there are tons I'd never heard before, and frequently mispronounce when I see them in print. Many of them reflect Irish pronunciation, like "mh" and "bh" having a V sound. That's probably why we don't see these more. No one wants their daughter being taunted with "Grainy, Grainy, has no brainy." I've listed some new names we've encountered below.


Grainnegraw + nyapatron of the harvest in Irish Mythology
Caithrionaka- + rin + aIrish form of Catherine
Maireadmawr + aidIrish form of Margaret
NiamhneevDaughter of Sea God in Irish Mythology
Orlaithor + laPrincess in Irish Mythology
Roisinro + sheenlittle rose; represents Ireland in traditional Gaelic poetry
Aoifeee + faFemale warrior in Irish Mythology
Aislingash + lingFrom aislinge which means vision or dream
Siobhanshiv + awnIrish form of Joan, meaning "God is gracious"
Sileshe + laSheila; Irish form of the Latin name Cecilia


Padraigpaw + drigIrish form of Patrick
Eoinoh + anIrish form of John
Colmcol + lumSignifies the dove, a symbol of peace
Diarmuiddeer + midIrish version of Jeremiah, Jeremy
Ciarankee + rawnFrom Saint Kieran

It took me a while to learn how to pronounce the surname of one of my co-workers, O'Cinneide. O Cah-nay'-dah. I want to call him O Canada, but I don't think anyone gets it, so I've settled on O'Cyanide.

My apologies for not figuring out how to make the accents for many of these names. I spent all my blogging patience trying to make the tables display correctly. Remind me to hard code the table next time.


mom Gunter said...

Only a trekkie would know Colm Meany!

I loved the name Roisin and it's meaning. Beautiful!!!!!!

Holly said...

Several years ago I read a book by Nuala O'Faolain. In my mind I had been calling her nu-ALA o-FAY-o-lain. I told my friend Margaret (Irish) what I was reading, and she about fell out of her chair laughing. Apparantly, it's NEW-la o-FWAY-lun. Having lunch with Margaret on Wednesday. Perhaps she can give me a quick primer on pronunciation before I come to visit!

Nat_A_Lie said...

I dearly love Colm Meaney.

That man can make me laugh!

lisa said...

Just the other day I was wondering how to pronounce Siobhan, and I was pretty sure my guess was wrong. It was.

Heather said...

Nathan had an Aoife in his class last year. Her parents are from Ireland (with strong accents.) That is the only time I have heard that name, it is interesting to see your lists!

Heather said...

Also, Nathan did a book report on o book by Eoin Colfer and we learned how to pronouce his name then. Let's just say I wasn't even close to correct before then :)