Main Menu - Misc. - Clothing/Textiles - Medieval Wales - Names - Other Medieval - Publications - Harpy Publications
<given name> ingen <father's name in genitive and lenited> <rest of the name>
<given name> <byname, lenited> ingen <rest of name>
The rest of the name is generally a string of patronymics, i.e. an ancestry. Ingen means "daughter of" and substitutes for either "ó" or "mac" in women's names. At this time period, there is absolutely no evidence for masculine patronymics (i.e. mac Domnaill) being used as unisex surnames. Patronymic surnames were still quite functional and referred to a person's actual father (or conceivably mother, although I have found no examples of this). The parent's name must appear in the genitive (possessive) case - because it is in a genitive relationship to ingen - and is lenited - because it modifies the feminine noun ingen. Bynames (descriptive epithets) used after a feminine given name will also be lenited for this reason. Except for lenition (and sometimes meaning) there is no difference between masculine and feminine bynames. The spelling of the parent's name used here should naturally also be the Old Irish form. A list of Old Irish masculine names, with their genitive forms, is available elsewhere.
Lenition is a softening of the initial sound of a word that is required by Gaelic grammar in some circumstances. In particular, the initial letter of a word that modifies a feminine noun will be lenited. Lenition is sometimes indicated by a dot over the letter (represented here by a period following the letter), sometimes by an h after the letter, and sometimes not indicated in writing at all. The following table shows which initial letters lenite and how the lenited form is pronounced [*].
|B||B||\v\ (really a voiced, bilabial fricative, like the Spanish intervocalic b and v)|
|M||M||\v\ (really a nasalized version of the previous \v\ sound)|
|C||Ch||\kh\, the rasping ch sound in Scottish loch or German Bach|
|G||G||\gh\, the voiced version of the previous \kh\ sound|
|D||D||\dh\, the th in this|
|F||F. or Fh||silent|
|S||F. or Sh||\h\|
|T||Th||\th\, as the th in thing|
|P||Ph||\f\ (P is not native to Gaelic, only appearing in borrowed names like Pádraig)|
The following table contains bynames found with women's names in O'Brien (note the lenition) and their meanings.
|Úathach||horrible, dreadful; exceptional|
|The next table is a non-exhaustive list of other common bynames in O'Brien (remember to lenite when used with a feminine name). These names were not necessarily used by women.|
|Oach||keen-ear or big-ear|
|Sléibe||of the mountain|
This site belongs to Heather Rose Jones. Contact me regarding anything beyond personal, individual use of this material.
Unless otherwise noted, all contents are copyright by Heather Rose Jones, all rights reserved.