Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

Latest post Thu, Jan 16 2014 19:57 by seano. 7 replies.
  • Fri, Nov 15 2013 12:09

    • BooCoop
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    Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi there!

    I'd be grateful for some advice. I'm working on a project compiling information about many of the gods, goddesses, heroes and fairies of Irish, Scottish and Manx folklore and I'm looking for a reliable reference book to refer to for the spellings of their names. 

    With so many variations on the names (i.e. Cúchulainn, Cú Chulainn, Cúchulain, Cú Chulaind, Cuchulinn, Cuculain Cúcán...), I'm looking for a source I can refer to in order to keep the spellings I am using consistent. 

    I'm considering purchasing the Oxford Dictionary of Mythology, but would be very grateful for any recommendations or advice.

    Many thanks!

     

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  • Sat, Nov 16 2013 15:52 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi, BooCoop, I have taught classes on translation into Irish and this is one of the most difficult areas. In many cases, these names were written in very different forms to their modern Irish equivalents. Should you stick with the Old Irish version or use a modernised version? I don't have a copy of the ODM, but if you want to post your list here I can advise. In the case of Cú Chulainn, this is the only version I would use. (It becomes harder with his original name. Should it be Séadanda or Sétanta?

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  • Fri, Jan 3 2014 16:05 In reply to

    • BooCoop
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi Seano,

    Thanks so much for your kind offer, sorry it's taken so long to reply. If the offer's still open to advise on spelling, I've posted up a list below, thank you!

    Basically I'd like to use one version of spelling across the board for consistency – whether that's Old Irish, or a modernised version. I'd like to find an acceptable spelling and stick to it, preferably one without too many accents and which is relatively phonetic to read, to make it accessible for people who may not be familiar with the names.

    Many thanks for your help.

     

    Aeval, Aibell, Aoibheall, Aeval

    Angus Mac Og

    Badb, Badhbh

    Banshee, Bean Si

    Brigit, Brighid

    Cuchullin, Cú Chulainn, Cú Cuchaind, Cúchulainn

    Cluricaun, clauricaune

    Daoine Sidh, Daoine Sidhe

    Fionn mac Cumhaill, Fin M'Coul

    Lí Ban, Liban

    Lug, Lugh

    Medb, Maeve, Medhb, Meadhb

    Midir, Midhir

    Morrigu, Morrigan

    Niam of the Golden Locks, Niamh

    Sidhe, Sidh, Sí, Sith, Shee (also Aos sí, Aes Sidhe)

    [I have come across the following explanation regarding the use of Sidhe, which would indicate that Sidh is the more correct useage when refering to 'fairies', however, Sidhe (with or without a capital 's') appears to be the most commonly used form. 'Sidhe is the plural or genitive form of sidh, so properly should be sidh when referring to the Irish fairies, but sidhe for example when referring to the bean sidhe (or banshee). The Scottish version is sith (pronounced shee) and the Manx version is shee.']

    Tir Nan Og, Tír na nÓg

    Tuatha de Danann

     

     

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  • Fri, Jan 3 2014 18:03 In reply to

    • Dale D
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hello, BooCoop,

    I'm sure Seáno will get back to you soon; sometimes he's a week or so without checking in, but he's very reliable and has helped me out a lot personally.

    While I don't pretend to have extensive knowledge on these items, there are a few on which I will offer my advice.

    Fionn mac Cumhaill, Fin M'Coul - Fionn mac Cumhaill is the correct Irish spelling.  If you want to insert a parenthetical pronunciation guide, then "Finn mac Cool" is the usual version.

    Banshee, Bean Si - Bean Sídhe is the classical Irish version.  The "fada" (accent mark) over the "i" is important as that gives it the "ee" sound.  Again, a parenthetical "banshee" will be sufficient for pronunciation.

    Daoine Sidh, Daoine Sidhe - Same as above for Bean Sídhe, including the "fada" over the "i", so should be Daoine Sídhe.  "Daoine" means "folk" or people, so this would be a generic reference to the "fairies".

    Tir Nan Og, Tír na nÓg - Tír na nÓg is the correct version.  The translation is "The land of eternal youth", but it literally menas "Land of the Young".  "Tír" is the Irish word for "Land"; "na" is the plural form of "an", the definite article "the", which doesn't have a plural form in English, but does in Irish.  "Óg" is Irish for "young", but following the article "na" it is eclipsed with an "n" because of the word "óg" starting with a vowel.  The eclipsing consonant stays with the word it eclipses.  Because it is a place name, the "Ó" is capitalized along with the "T" in "Tír".

    Angus Mac Og - Pretty sure this should also have the "fada" over the "O", and become Angus Mac Óg.

    Brigit, Brighid  - the Irish form of the name "Brigit" is "Brígíd"; there may be an older form similar to one you have written, but I suspect it would include the fada marks over the "i"s.

    Those are the ones I'm familiar with, but as I say, Seáno will certainly get back to you soon with input on the others, and offer any corrections needed to what I have given.

    Good luck!

    Dale D

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  • Sat, Jan 4 2014 14:05 In reply to

    • BooCoop
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi Dale D,

    Thanks for your response, that's brilliant.

    Thank you!

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  • Sun, Jan 5 2014 15:46 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Haigh BooCoop and Dale! Bliain Úr faoi mhaise daoibh! (Happy New Year)  As Dale said, I sometimes take a while to get around to things but that is one of my New Year's Resolutions, to make sure I check emails and the forum at least twice a week! Anyway, all of the things Dale said are correct. Here is the list I would recommend:

    The spelling was reformed in the sixties which means that many unpronounced letters were cut out, so that sidhe became simply sí. However, where people are used to seeing the silent letter it might be better to keep a nod to the old spelling, as in Brighid or Mór-ríoghan. The thing is that most people would be used to seeing the Englished spelling Morrigan (I first came across the name in Alan Garner's wonderful children's books in the 1960s) and without the g there they might not make the connection. Tuatha Dé Danann is an exceptional form. I suppose in modern Irish it would be Tuatha an Bhandia Danú but it would never be modernised like that. Everyone has heard of the Tuatha Dé Danann and they would know that spelling. Hope this helps! If you need any further help or if there are any questions, you know where to find us!

    Aoibheall

    Aonghus Mac Óg

    Badhbh

    Bean Sí

    Bríd/Brighid

    Cú Chulainn

    Clutharacán

    Daoine Sí

    Fionn mac Cumhaill

    Lí Ban

    Lú/Lugh

    Méabh/Méadhbh

    Midhir

    Mór-rion/Mór-ríoghan

    Niamh Chinn Óir

    Sí or Aos Sí

    Tír na nÓg

    Tuatha Dé Danann

     

     

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  • Thu, Jan 16 2014 17:17 In reply to

    • BooCoop
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi there Seano,

    Thanks so much for your help, much appreciated, and apologies for the delay in getting back to you (think I need to make a resolution to check emails, etc more regularly, too!). All really useful information, thanks for taking the time to explain the various versions, it can all feel quite difficult to untangle to someone coming at it from the outside, so great to have it explained by someone who knows what they are talking about - thanks!

    PS I recently read Alan Garner's wonderful Collected Folk Tales book - what a wonderful treasure trove of tales!

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  • Thu, Jan 16 2014 19:57 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: Help - spellings for gods and goddesses in Irish mythology

    Hi, no problem, BooCoop. If I can be of any further help don't hesitate to get back to us, though I am also quite bad about checking emails and getting things done on a regular basis. Apparently Alan Garner has just written a third book following on from Weirdstone and the Moon of Gomrath. I must get myself a copy. There are lots of references to different European mythologies in his books, especially a lot of Norse and quite a few nods to Celtic mythology. One of the central characters in the Weirdstone dies in exactly the way Cú Chulainn died in the old Rúraíocht stories. I have never read the Collected Folk Tales, but I might buy a copy when I get the new book.

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