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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug 2021 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat 21 Aug 2021 9:09 pm
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Hi!

I am a new registrant and completely an English speaker. Firstly, please pardon me if I am inadvertently violating any forum rules. Such is not my intent at all. My purpose here is to find assistance with Old Irish for genealogical research into the Dál Cuinn - particularly person and place names. I am one of the admins for the Dál Cuinn Group website. Our project wants to standard names wherever possible to the oldest form known. This brings me to my first 3 questions:

What is the difference between "nd" and "nn" in the nominative case and between "oi" and "ui" in the genitive case? Various old texts have different spellings: Conn or Cond and Coinn or Cuinn or Coind or Cuind. It is my understanding that lenition was not used in the earliest forms (one of the reasons we want to standardize to that).

Thank you for any help or references.


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Aug 2021 12:13 pm 
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DCGAdmin wrote:
What is the difference between "nd" and "nn" in the nominative case and between "oi" and "ui" in the genitive case?

That depends on language stage. In Old Irish (roughly 7th–9th centuries) nd and nn were pronounced differently, /Nd/ vs /N/. In Middle Irish (10th–12th centuries) they merged together and were used pretty much interchangeably and inconsistently.

Also oi in Old Irish generally just meant /o/ before a slender (palatalized) consonant, ui meant /u/ before a slender consonant, at least when stressed. In later Irish they both moved towards /i/ after a broad consonant (and generally all short vowels merged in unstressed positions) – hence inconsistencies in later writing.

DCGAdmin wrote:
Various old texts have different spellings: Conn or Cond and Coinn or Cuinn or Coind or Cuind.

It seem the Old Irish nominative was Conn (at least that’s the form given by Wiktionary), its genitive and vocative were Cuinn – in later language you get less consistent spellings of the vowels and confusion between nd and nn, hence forms like Conn and Cond in nominative and Cuinn, Coinn, Cuind, Coind in genitive and vocative.

DCGAdmin wrote:
It is my understanding that lenition was not used in the earliest forms (one of the reasons we want to standardize to that).

That’s completely wrong, at least if you don’t mean oghamic Primitive Irish (which also for all intents and purposes had lenition, but only as a purely phonological process that wasn’t written down), but I don’t think you’re interested in early oghamic forms.

Old Irish did have grammatical lenition and eclipsis and definitely used them. But lenition was only marked consistently for voiceles stops (th, ch, ph) and sometimes for /s/ and /f/ (ṡ, ḟ) but never for voiced stops (so initial lenited b, d, g were written the same as unlenited ones) – but then unlenited voiced stops in the middle of a word were written using the Latin voiceless stops characters (so /b, d, ɡ/ were written as p, t, c in the middle of a word, compare eg. Old Irish Pátraic, modern Pádraig – so if you see b, d, g written in a middle of a word, you know it’s lenited). Similarly the eclipsis was marked in writing only for voiced stops: nd, mb, ng.

In general – it’s really a bad idea to try to normalize forms to a language you don’t know.

Especially if many of the names are not really attested in that language (if a given place name or person’s name wasn’t ever preserved in a original Old Irish manuscript – and we don’t have that many of them, most of them are just glosses to Latin texts in Germany, Italy, or Switzerland – some notes in the margins written by Irish monks working with them; we have much more Old Irish texts preserved in later manuscripts, but they’re copies made centuries later, possibly with errors and changes introduced, including less consistent spelling) – you’ll have to work with a later form (most likely Middle Irish, but it’s possible that a name doesn’t exist in any MIr. manuscript and you’ll only get Classical Gaelic text) and reconstruct what the name would be in Old Irish.

If it even existed at that time at all and wasn’t just coined much later.


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Aug 2021 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat 21 Aug 2021 9:09 pm
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Thank you, silmeth.

And you are correct - we are only interested in Old Irish forms.

So in Old Irish, the nominative case for the name is Conn according to Wiktionary, as you said, and eDIL has no heading for cond, but only for conn. But pardon my confusion on the genitive case still. Wiktionary shows Cuinn, despite exemplars of Coinn in some texts, so in Old Irish, the grammatical rules change the "o" to a "u" when going to the genitive case, correct?

This is why Brión becomes Briúin in the genitive case, correct? But then why is Muigmedón always written as Muigmedóin and not Muigmedúin in the genitive case? ("Eochaid" will be addressed later.)

But to finish this off, the epithet Cétchathach is a compound of cét + cath + -ach or cétchath + -ach, correct? Is this the correct Old Irish form? I have read in some places that the translation of "Conn of the Hundred Battles" is inaccurate, and it is more along the line of "Conn of the Hundred Troops" or more probably "Leader of a Hundred Troops", so it is more of a title than a personal name. And if troop referred to the common military unit of 3000 warriors used throughout Europe in the time frame, then "Leader of 300,000 Warriors" would be a person of more than a little significance. Any insight into the epithet is appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Aug 2021 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat 21 Aug 2021 9:09 pm
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On this same subject, the name Brón only appears to be given a genitive case of Bróin, never Brúin. What is the difference that the "o" is sometimes retained and sometimes changed to "u" in the genitive case? Thanks.


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