Irish Gaelic: Coraghessan

cyberpedant

Senior Member
English USA, Northeast, NYC
I'm reading "The Tortilla Curtain," a novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle. Does anyone know
a) how to pronounce that name
b) its linguistic provenance
c) its meaning, if any

Thanks,

cp
 
  • L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Hello,
    Since he was born Thomas John Boyle, I believe this middle name is made-up/fictitious like his written works. In essence what it means is that despite of his willingness to cash in on his Irishness, he has little respect for Irish culture.
    Coragh is a townland in county Armagh.
    +
    Essan is a french family name.
    I suspect this also tells us that his publishers are not very imaginative people.
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    As L'irlandais points out, this is made-up. It isn't an old Irish name and it doesn't mean anything either :D
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Hi ya Tegs,
    Only to be honest I found the meaning proposed on the author's website ('Take two and call me in the morning.') comes across as offensive rather than funny. (Monolingual New Yorker that he is, he probaly doesn't even realise he's given offence to Irish language speakers, with that comment.) What Heinrich Boll called the sound of throaty Celtic is no laughing matter.

    The Northern Ireland place-name project doesn't shed much light on Townland of Coragh.
     
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    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    I think a lot of people have this sort of attitude towards minority languages - that they're a bit twee and cutesy, and ultimately, a waste of space when everyone can talk English/French (insert relevant dominant language here!). His "meaning" is a complete load of rubbish - he's not even made an effort to make it sound genuine, which says it all really - he probably thinks nobody will be able to tell, because nobody can speak it. You just have to try to ignore people like this, or pity them for their complete lack of understanding. You get used to it after a while ;)

    As for Coragh, there are a few of them north and south - an interesting resource, if you haven't come across it, is www.logainm.ie, which is great for placenames. It gives you the Irish versions (even when the same English name is used in several different places, the Irish ones aren't necessarily all the same), explanatory notes or suggestions about the name, location on a map etc. It's more detailed than the N.I. one. I'm not sure if the N.I. project is still updated - Logainm is, as far as I know.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Hi again,
    I'd come across that on-line project before, in another discussion which touched ever-so briefly on the subject of 'Irish townlands'.

    :warning: My dear cyberpedant, we've sort of answered your original question ; now you've actually read his book, do you mind telling, was it a good read?
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Indeed it was. The story and its protagonists are caught up in tragedy and misunderstanding. It seems to be an accurate picture of the plight of illegal immigrants in southern California. No joy here.
    It is not at all concerned with Ireland, as you may have guessed from the title.

    Thanks for all the information you've provided, fellow foreros.
     
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