Pronunciation: Irish place-names, toponyms

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Silvia, May 14, 2006.

  1. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    I had posted this very same question in the Other Languages Forum, but then I've been told that the Irish place-names were written in English and not Irish.

    So now I would like to know the pronunciation of the following words (considering they use the English spelling):
    Iveragh
    Parknasilla
    Cahirciveen
    Glenbeigh
    Adare
    Maigue
    Clonmacnois
    St. Ciaran

    Some are names of cities/towns, one is a greeting (so I've been told). I hope the spellings are correct!

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Silvia,
    This is a very interesting question! I look forward to seeing the response. For my part, I've always wanted to know how to pronounce Dun Laoghaire. In my mind, I say something like "dun la-og-hair" and I'm sure that's not right at all!
     

  3. Maxiogee is your man for this question Silvia! :)

    Joelline: I pronounce Dun Laoghaire as "dun-le-g-eerie". I think this is fairly close. Maxiogee will soon tell us if we're wrong. :D


    Regards,
    LRV
     
  4. nokeeffe99 Member

    Munster
    English, Ireland
    With the stresses underlined:

    Iveragh - I veer a
    Parknasilla - Park na sill a
    Cahirciveen - Ca her si veen
    Glenbeigh - Glen bay
    Adare - A dare
    Maigue - Mi-ugg
    Clonmacnois - Clon mac nize
    St. Ciaran - Saint keer-an

    Hope this helps
     
  5. mediamanu Member

    italian - italy
    For Joelline: I lived in Dublin for a period, I think they pronounced it "dun-leerie".
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Quondam Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ~~Chuckle~~

    It is important to keep in mind that even the Irish don't always pronounce the place names the same from one end of The Island to the other.

    But I agree with Nokeefe's list, mostly. I always pronounced Clonmacnois (well the three or four times I've spoken it) as Clonmac'noise.

    From up here in the north, Dun Laoghaire is pronounced as meidamanu says. The gh isn't pronounced at all. Dun'Leery.
     
  7. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    I'm almost with panjo on Clon-mack-noise.
    Apart from that I cannot fault nokeefe on his geography. I would gaelicise the Saint into Keer-awn.
    I would query Silvia as to which one is meant to be a greeting - as apart from Saint Ciarán and the River Maigue the rest are places.
     
  8. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    I've know a few fellows with the name
    Ciaran, Kieran, Kieron,
    who've all pronounced it KEER-an [schwa an]
     
  9. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    As an AE speaker reading this, I am confused. Is the word "saint" spoken as an American would, rhyming with "paint?" Or do you do that British elision thing-- my St-John ancestors, for example, ended up spelling it "Sention."
    .
     
  10. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    In surnames the word is usually pronounced as "sin". A well-known British politician of recent times was Norman St John Stevas - Normin synge-on stee-vas

    The Irish would rhyme Saint with paint. However we would also call the guy Naomh Ciarán - knave keer-awn.

    Call them keer-awn and listen to them tell you that only their mammies ever called them that (oh, and their Irish teacher!).
     
  11. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    There are some people with the surname St John who pronounce it /sindʒǝn/, so that it sounds like the present participle of the verb singe, but with n not ng on the end.
     
  12. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Fascinating!

    Now, which of those words in Silvia's list is a greeting (and what does the greeting mean)? And what would be a nice Irish greeting to learn if one was planning on visiting?
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Quondam Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    With great difficulty I suppress the huge temptation to lie.
    If I don't you might end up addressing the next Irish person you meet with the equivalent of "Baltimore, Paddy, and good Hudson to you."

    They are all place names.

    Wait for maxiogee to give you a bit of genuine Irish.
     
  14. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    We're a very religious people and we don't really have a "hello" or a "good morning" in our everyday vocabulary. The basic greeting is "God be with you" -> Dia dhuit (Dee-ah gh-with) to which the standard answer would be "God and Mary be with you" -> Dia is Muire dhuit (Dee-ahss wirra gh-with). Sometimes people start the process there, and then the response is "God and Mary and Patrick be with you -> Dia is Muire is Padhraigh dhuit (Dee-ahss wirrahss four-igg gh-with). The Mary there is Our Lady and the Patrick there is Saint Patrick. (honestly)

    Strictly speaking we wouldd say Maidin mhait dhuit (mod-yin wah gh-with) for Good morning, but we don't use it.

    You're more likely to be greeted in English.
    If you're in a rural part of the country someone might say "Soft day", to which the response is "Yes, thank God." A 'soft day' is any degree of moisture which falls a little short of a hurricane. ;)
     
  15. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    I think I could approximate all of the sounds except for the "gh". I assume it is something like the gh in "ghost" rather than the "gh" in "laugh" OR is is more gutteral? Can one hear both the "g" and the "h"? Have I just asked a question that's impossible to answer in writing?:)
     
  16. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    It won't allow me to answer just "yes" - as I must use ten characters.
    It's a sound I don't know how to portray. Maybe some other Gaelgoir can help me here? Le do thoil!
     
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Quondam Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Is that the gh of Lough?
     
  18. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    No, softer
     
  19. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    First of all, thank you all for your help :)
    I'm missing something here, it must be related to the schwa thing, but I don't understand.

    Anyway, I guess they're all place names, but I will ask about the supposed greeting tomorrow.

    So what I have now is:

    Iveragh - I veer a (I like the pronoun, a like in may)
    Parknasilla - Park na sill a (na like signature? or like native? or what? a like in may again)
    Cahirciveen - Ca her si veen (ca like car? si like side?)
    Glenbeigh - Glen bay
    Adare - A dare (a like may)
    Maigue - Mi-ugg (mi like my? or like mee? ugg?!! like in hug?)
    Clonmacnois - Clon mack noise
    Saint Ciaran or Naomh Ciarán - Saint keer-an or Saint Keer-awn - knave keer-awn (nay eve?)
     
  20. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Panj and Maxiogee,
    I know what the (sorry about this!) -ch sound of Scottish sounds like (as in Loch). Is the Irish -gh sound like that? Softer?
     
  21. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    Ihe Scottish word Loch and the Irish word Lough are the same word.
    Scottish Gaelic came to Scotland with the Scots, who came from the north of Ireland. Lough is written Loch in Irish Gaelic.

    The sound ch/gh in loch/lough is unvoiced. The sound in dhuit which Maxiogee wrote as gh is voiced. Compare the difference between feel and veal. F is unvoiced. V is voiced.

    Incidentally, the is in Dia is Muire dhuit means "and", [God and Mary with you]. It is an abbreviation of agus.
    It is different from the is in Is mise Maxiogee = I am Maxiogee.
     
  22. panjandrum

    panjandrum Quondam Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The gh of the Irish Lough is softer than the ch of Loch. It's all to do with the height of the mountains, don't you see.

    Tony says that the gh he used to illustrate the pronunciation of dhuit is even softer than that.
     
  23. nokeeffe99 Member

    Munster
    English, Ireland
    I'd better repair the damage I've done...

    Iveragh - I veer a (I like the pronoun, a like in may) "I" like the pronoun a like cat
    Parknasilla - Park na sill a (na like signature? or like native? or what? a like in may again) na like signature, a like cat
    Cahirciveen - Ca her si veen (ca like car? si like side?) yes
    Glenbeigh - Glen bay
    Adare - A dare (a like may) yes
    Maigue - Mi-ugg (mi like my? or like mee? ugg?!! like in hug?) mi like my ugg like hug
    Clonmacnois - Clon mack noise
    Saint Ciaran or Naomh Ciarán - Saint keer-an or Saint Keer-awn - knave keer-awn (nay eve?) either, the second is slightly anglicised and used in some parts of the country
     
  24. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    Are you sure?
    English Spelling: Irish spelling
    Lough Neagh: Loch Neachach
    Lough Nafooey: Loch na Fuaithe
    Lough Morne: Loch Muorna
    Lough Melvin: Loch Meili
     
  25. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Thank you, nokeeffee99! :)
     
  26. panjandrum

    panjandrum Quondam Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Well, yes - I'm sure that in my ears, Loch has a rather harsher ending than Lough. I would speak the Loch of Loch Ness differently to the Lough of Lough Neagh (which of course has a completely different -gh sound at the end of Neagh:p ). Maxiogee, in turn, says that Lough has a harsher sound than he wanted to convey in his post the gh sound he was using is softer. Now of course neither of us knows how the other pronounces -gh at the end of Lough, so all of this is just a little academic and of dubious value to the world at large.
     
  27. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    In Irish the letter 'a' is always pronounced as in a visit to the doctor - aaah.
    The 'ay' as in 'day' pronounced is reflected in writing by an 'é' - "e fada", a long e.
     
  28. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    All very interesting. I guess you could record your own voice pronouncing a given word, and attach the file to a post :)
     
  29. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    It was a misspelling :)
    Puzzle solved!
     
  30. maxiogee Banned

    imithe
    Okay, you asked for it.
    Herewith the dulcet tones of South Dublin…
     
  31. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Aw! Darn, my home computer is too antiquated to hear those dulcet tones! Can you tell me what application you used to record? The techs at my school assure me that if I know what application is involved, they can rig up my computer there so that I can hear it.
     

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