Gaelic: Rioghnach

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by NilsH, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. NilsH

    NilsH Member

    This I think is a Scottish name, but how do English speakers pronounce it?

  2. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Rarely :)

    Apparently it's Irish - from mythology at least. Best guess, from looking on the internet would be REE-nuh, where the u is either a schwa or has a bit of "a" sound left in it. (REE-nah). Perhaps an Irish person who also speaks English just might chime in ?
  3. NilsH

    NilsH Member

    It occurred to me that most Gaelic speakers are also English speakers, but I don't know if they pronounce their Gaelic names in an 'anglified' manner when speaking English. Anyway, the original question is slightly altered to:

    What is the correct way of pronouncing this name in Gaelic? Is JulianStuart's best guess above correct?

  4. Au101 Senior Member

    England, English (UK)
    Well I am have no knowledge of Gaelic pronunciation, I do however have a good friend called Rioghnach and she says it Ree-oh-nu, with the oh as in no and the nu as in nut. I can't promise this is how it would be said with accurate Gaelic pronunciation, but that is how she says it. I'm sorry I can't give an accurate Gaelic pronunciation.
  5. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    My book on Irish names gives
    Rioghnach [old spelling] = REE-nah
    Ríonach [new spelling] = REE-nah - note accent on the í.

    Other spellings are Renagh and Ríona.

    However, the book also has:
    Riona = REE-oh-na.

    It means queenly.
  6. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Hello Nils,
    Welcome to the forums.

    It's spelt Ríoghnach (nominative) in Irish (Gaeilge), the spelling changes in the possessive form, taking -aighe :
    Appearantly, the name of the sister of St. Finnian of Clonard. So not a mythlogical name, as far as I know.
    Unfortunately I don't know the IPA well enough.
    is as everyone above pointed out Ree (the í giving ee as in the word heel)

    ogh the gh becomes slender following the slender vowel (í giving a y like in yellow = oy)
    nach the ch is broad similar to that in the Scottish word loch

    My try for what it's worth (not being a fluent Irish speaker)


    In answer to your other question, I'd say most Irish speakers would not (knowingly) anglicise an Irish name when speaking it in English.
    I suspect both JulianStuart & Brioche are giving an anglicised (2 syllable) version. The name translates into Riona in English, though sometimes translated to Regina.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  7. NilsH

    NilsH Member

    Thank you so much for your help, all of you. My problem was that I had to call someone in Ireland with that name on the phone, at work, and I felt silly because I didn't know how to pronounce it when asking for her.

    When I did call her the day after posting, I followed Julian's suggestion. She didn't correct me, but that might just mean that she was too polite or couldn't be bothered.

  8. Just to answer your question NiLsH though most speakers of Irish are nowadays english speakers, Gaelic names are not pronounced in an anglified manner.
  9. Kmonahan6 New Member

    As the grandmother to a Rioghnach, the name is pronounced ree OH nah and means "little queen" in gaelic. :)
  10. elirlandes

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    Don't worry about it - you have already showed enough interest in finding out how to pronounce it to show that you are concienscous...

    Irish people are pretty much all English speakers. Most/many of us have anglicised versions of old Irish names, although a growing number actually are given the original Gaelic version of their name by their parents at birth. We tend to try to pronounce these as in Irish even when speaking English.

    An example is Rory.
    The anglecised version ("Rory") is pronounced "roar-ee".
    The original Irish version ("Ruaraí"/"Ruadhraí" etc) is pronounced "roo-a-ree"). Also, between friends, some people with an anglecised version of a name may be called by the Irish language version for fun... (just to confuse you all more).

    That said, many people in Ireland have very little or no Irish so people with harder to pronounce Irish language names are used to having Irish people say their name slight incorrectly. If you are calling from abroad, and your name is Nils, have no fear... any attempt to get it right will be appreciated, and you can happily ask "did I get that right?".

    As per below, "ree-oh-nah" is a fairly standard way to pronounce this name.
  11. Rio23 New Member

    hey, my name is rioghnach.
    It is irish gaelic as there is more than one type.
    To pronounce this it is like fiona but with an R.
    so Riona is an easier way to look at it.
  12. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Hi Ríoghnach,
    Welcome to the forums.

    Nice one, for confirming this thread. I feel it's important, since many discussions on here end up with a divided view, letting browsers no wiser.
  13. Ríoghnach New Member

    English - Ireland
    Hello, I stumbled onto this thread.

    I'm Irish - born and raised. I'm not fluent in Irish but I know 'mo cúpla focail'. Ríoghnach is Irish or 'Gaeilge' (aside: most people here only use the term Gaelic in reference to Scotish Gaelic, it's Irish or 'Gaeilge' [guh~whale~gah] otherwise). Ríoghnach is a rare enough name here but myself and another Ríoghnach pronounce it 'Ree~nuck' ('nuck' as in 'yuck'). The 'fáda' (faah~thah) accent over the i elongates the vowel giving it the 'ee' sound. As for the 'ogh'; unless your familiar with the phelmy sounds in Irish you can say 'Ree~uh~nuck' on the 'uh' and the 'uck' (emphasis on the 'uck' ~ attractive sounding, I know) but keep the 'uh' very short like a millisecond of self-doubt (e.g. ~uh?). That would be the general pronunciation in the Munster-Irish dialect but I've yet to hear an Irish person pronounce it differently.

    Origin - it's old Irish for Queen, which has been replaced with Banríon (which probably is closer to meaning the wife of the King than actually Queen) in the Irish language. The Irish name Ríoghnach is the Irish-form of Regina, latin for Queen. Like many names over the years, it's been anglicised and/or americanised e.g Ciara (Irish name, female version of Ciarán) is pronouced like Keira Knightley but is pronounced ~Sierra (as in the singer, Ciara) so there's no right way to pronouce it anymore; just pronouce it the way the person wants it to be pronounced - but this would be closest to the roots of the name as far as I'm aware.

    Also, Irish is officially the first language of Ireland and everyone must learn it in school and pass exams in it in school unless specifically exempt. In reality English is the first language by survey however, there are Irish speaking pockets (Gaeltachts) where Irish is the main language spoken but everyone in those pockets can speak fluent English, whereas not everyone outside the pockets can speak fluent Irish. Hope this was informative.

    Best regards,

    Ríoghnach :)

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