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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep 2018 4:03 am 
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Hello, I'm new here. I would like some clarity about what the differences are in how Irish names are written; I'm in the process of naming my daughter.

Several names regarded as "Irish" use the letter "y." Sometimes I see "i" or "ee" used for the same sound ("ee" sound as in tree here). But there doesn't seem to be a "y" in the Irish alphabet. So, is it Irish if spelled that way? Derry and Kilkenny place names have a "y", Killarney has an "ey." I think it has something to do with transliteration when Irish becomes English. Does it matter if I spell the "ee" sound with i, y, or ee if I want to emphasize Irish connections in this name? Could someone please explain a little about this? I have been searching for some time and not been able to connect with anyone knowledgeable enough to explain this.


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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep 2018 4:29 am 
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Birsay wrote:
Hello, I'm new here. I would like some clarity about what the differences are in how Irish names are written; I'm in the process of naming my daughter.

Several names regarded as "Irish" use the letter "y." Sometimes I see "i" or "ee" used for the same sound ("ee" sound as in tree here). But there doesn't seem to be a "y" in the Irish alphabet. So, is it Irish if spelled that way? Derry and Kilkenny place names have a "y", Killarney has an "ey." I think it has something to do with transliteration when Irish becomes English. Does it matter if I spell the "ee" sound with i, y, or ee if I want to emphasize Irish connections in this name? Could someone please explain a little about this? I have been searching for some time and not been able to connect with anyone knowledgeable enough to explain this.


Hello!

There is no y in traditional Irish orthography. You are mostly correct, transliteration has a lot to do with it.

The placenames you cited are an Anglophone's attempt to Anglicise the Irish-language toponym. These renderings are complete and utter gibberish: e.g. Derry = Doire; Killarney = Cill Áirne; Kilkenny = Cill Choinnigh (Cheannaigh). Often placenames terminating in -igh, become Anglicised as a 'y', as -aigh is pronounced as ee in some Irish-language dialects.

Sometimes a -y- is added even though there's no -ee- sound in the Irish: e.g. Cill Áirne = Kilarney (no -ee- sound); likewise, the word baile (baluh) 'walled town' is rendered as Bally.

If you post the names we can tell you if they're actually Irish, or just transliterated Irish names, or whether they're Irish at all.

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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep 2018 5:15 am 
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Thank you very much!

I mentioned place names in the original post, but I'm most interested in people names at the moment. The name in question is Kyna, from which I understand comes from the root word cion.

The baby doesn't live in Ireland, so I think we should use a spelling that is readable in English yet is recognizably Irish, if that's possible.


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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep 2018 6:49 am 
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Birsay wrote:
Thank you very much!

I mentioned place names in the original post, but I'm most interested in people names at the moment. The name in question is Kyna, from which I understand comes from the root word cion.

The baby doesn't live in Ireland, so I think we should use a spelling that is readable in English yet is recognizably Irish, if that's possible.


People try to do this, e.g. Cian (Kian/ Keane), Ciara (Keera), Caoimhe (K(w)eeva), Seán (Shaun) etc.... sometimes these anglicised versions become well-established names in their own right, even though they don't exactly sound the same as their Irish-language counterparts, e.g. Kieran (from Ciarán), Aidan (from Aodhán), Kevin (Caoimh(gh)ín). But, a lot of time, these names end up becoming a mispronounced mess, that are neither English nor Irish, and are not established enough for people to know how to (mis-)pronounce them properly.

Kyna seems to be a good (bad) example of this mess.

When I saw cion 'affection', I immediately thought of the common name Cionnadh (https://forvo.com/word/cionnadh/), or Cionnaith--even though these are usually boys' names and don't derive from the word cion. I have never seen the name Ciona(dh) before; however, I don't see how Kyna can derive from cion, since the -io- in cion is NOT pronounced as -ee- (see: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/cion).

So, I googled Kyna and found this: https://www.babynamesofireland.com/kyna

Unfortunately, they got the very fine author---but non-Irish speaker--Frank McCourt to do the audio, and not only does he pronounce the -y- in Kyna as an -ee-, but he mispronounces cion as keen: https://www.babynamesofireland.com/audio/kyna.mp3

So, unfortunately, Kyna doesn't work as a transliteration of cion(a)

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I'm familiar with Munster Irish/ Gaolainn na Mumhan (GM) and the Official Standard/an Caighdeán Oifigiúil (CO)


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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep 2018 7:33 am 
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Thank you. I appreciate that very much. Here are few more details.

My baby is also Japanese, and the full name is Kinari—or Kynari. The "i" in Japanese is a long vowel as in "ee," and there are no short vowels in the language (overall they are quite limited). "Y" does not substitute for "ee" in Japanese transliteration to English in modern practice, so a "y" spelling would give her a unique name when written in English that I was hoping would also tie her to her Irish roots.

We were hoping to find a cognate that would work for both of her parents' ancestry. Perhaps there is another way of looking at it that would bring connection?

Although I'm not very familiar with Irish, I am familiar with how sounds change when words are borrowed between languages. Even now, many Japanese words borrowed from English sound awful to me (not to mention the meanings are often different), but there is a natural change of things when the jump is made that I have come to accept. Think of all the corruptions of loanwords that work quite well in English yet retain the spirit of their language of origin, or the speech of youth that their elders would call "incorrect" or "improper."

In a way, some of the names I've heard over the years mean whatever the parents say they mean, even if it's far-fetched to me. Yet, I was hoping to have a more solid connection with this name that would work with both Irish and English speakers native to Ireland. Any other thoughts?


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep 2018 4:25 am 
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Birsay wrote:
... I was hoping to have a more solid connection with this name that would work with both Irish and English speakers native to Ireland. Any other thoughts?


In my opinion, Kyna won't be recognised by most Irish people, whether they are English or Irish speakers.

It doesn't seem to be common enough to be recognised as an 'Irish' name by English speakers, unlike Shaun (Seán), Keera (Ciara) etc...

And Irish speakers won't recognise it, likewise because its uncommon, but more importantly, it sounds nothing like what its suppose to derive from, i.e. cion; again, unlike Shaun, Keera etc.... which do sound somewhat similar to the original Irish.

I would really like others to chime in first, to see what they think--maybe, I am wrong.

Birsay wrote:
We were hoping to find a cognate that would work for both of her parents' ancestry. Perhaps there is another way of looking at it that would bring connection?


Its going to be difficult considering Irish and Japanese aren't related. I would be very interested to get the opinion of Breandán, as he speaks fluent Irish, English, and Japanese.

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Please wait for corrections/ more input from other forum members before acting on advice


I'm familiar with Munster Irish/ Gaolainn na Mumhan (GM) and the Official Standard/an Caighdeán Oifigiúil (CO)


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep 2018 12:20 pm 
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Thank you again, you've been most helpful!

In English perhaps using y as an "ee" sound in the middle of the word instead of the end is so unusual as to be confusing. Are there any other consistent instances where it's used to write Irish words rendered into English?

I think I have seen elsewhere y used as "ee" in a non-final syllable, though generally only in variant spellings.

So I wonder, how in the world did that website come up with "Kyna"? In various searches, the name is rare, but there are people out there named Kyna, pronounced Kee-na. I wonder, if it's based on something thought to be Irish, how exactly did it come about?

Kynari will normally be spelled Kinari in English, or abbreviated to Kina, but I was wondering if spelling it Kyna would somehow represent a stronger Irish or Anglo-Irish connection to Ireland. Does anyone think this could work?


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep 2018 12:47 pm 
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I've seen several websites all referring to Kyna as a name of Irish or Gaelic origin. If it's inaccurate, I'm curious to know what it's based on if anyone has some insight.


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep 2018 1:00 pm 
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I'm also seeing Kyna supposedly meaning wise or intelligent. Perhaps it comes from a different source than cion?


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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep 2018 6:29 pm 
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Birsay wrote:

So I wonder, how in the world did that website come up with "Kyna"? In various searches, the name is rare, but there are people out there named Kyna, pronounced Kee-na. I wonder, if it's based on something thought to be Irish, how exactly did it come about?


I've managed to find the name Kyna in a baby-name book at home, but curiously, it doesn't provide an Irish language equivalent.

It suggests that "Kyna seems to be a modern name based on Gaelic cion, 'love, affection', or on cíoná, 'best, champion, star ['chief, leader'].

We've alreaady discussed the difficulty with cion.

I couldn't find Cíona as a given name (but could work nicely), but managed to come across several examples of Cíona (including Cíona Ní Dhálaigh, Mayor of Dublin). However, I can't find an explanation for the name Cíona, which best fits the transliteration Kyna, so its difficult to say whether Kyna derives from Kyna, or vice versa.

Birsay wrote:
I'm also seeing Kyna supposedly meaning wise or intelligent. Perhaps it comes from a different source than cion?


That meaning would suggest that it comes from Cian (my own name)/ Cianán. If this is the case, I wonder if Kyna is modeled on the name Ciara, i.e. Ciarán > Ciara , Cianán > Ciana > Kyna.

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Please wait for corrections/ more input from other forum members before acting on advice


I'm familiar with Munster Irish/ Gaolainn na Mumhan (GM) and the Official Standard/an Caighdeán Oifigiúil (CO)


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