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PostPosted: Tue 13 Mar 2018 10:48 am 
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There is a well on Hadrian's Wall which was dedicated to the goddess Coventina in Roman times. The etymology of that name is unknown, and it may not be of Latin (or even Celtic) origin, but let us assume for the sake of this question that it was a Latin name, similar to Valentina.

Now let us also assume that this name had become a popular name among the Scots, given to girls in honor of the goddess, and that this name had remained in use until today, undergoing the linguistic changes that similar Latin names have undergone. What would the contemporary Scottish Gaelic form of that name be?

I don't know any Gaelic and I'm not a linguist, and the best I can do is look at the Latin male name Valentinus and its two Scottish Gaelic cognates, Ualan and Uailean. From these, I guess that a Latin male form, Coventinus, might have developed into Cobhan or Cobhean. Maybe you know better? :-)

I'd also be interested in an Irish Gaelic form of Coventina, if that is more easy to derive.


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PostPosted: Tue 13 Mar 2018 11:48 pm 
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Coventina wrote:
There is a well on Hadrian's Wall which was dedicated to the goddess Coventina in Roman times. The etymology of that name is unknown, and it may not be of Latin (or even Celtic) origin, but let us assume for the sake of this question that it was a Latin name, similar to Valentina.

Now let us also assume that this name had become a popular name among the Scots, given to girls in honor of the goddess, and that this name had remained in use until today, undergoing the linguistic changes that similar Latin names have undergone. What would the contemporary Scottish Gaelic form of that name be?

I don't know any Gaelic and I'm not a linguist, and the best I can do is look at the Latin male name Valentinus and its two Scottish Gaelic cognates, Ualan and Uailean. From these, I guess that a Latin male form, Coventinus, might have developed into Cobhan or Cobhean. Maybe you know better? :-)

I'd also be interested in an Irish Gaelic form of Coventina, if that is more easy to derive.

I'd say your guess is as good as anyone's, except that, following the orthographic rules of both Gaelic and Irish, it would have to be spelled (in either language) either as Cobhan or Coibhean. If you want to get closer to the original form, you could use the diminutive ending -ín and get very close with either Cobhaintín or Coibheantín (basically, you;d just be missing the final "a" sound).

The name doesn't actually exist in Gaelic or Irish, nor was I able to find anything to indicate that it or anything close ever existed (I have some very good sources). It also has no meaning in Gaelic or Irish, so there wouldn't be any risk of misunderstanding along those lines (the town of Cobh is based on a borrowing of the English word "cove"). Another possible way to spell the sounds in Cobh is comh, which does have meaning, but not as a stand-alone word (it's a prefix).

One thing to keep in mind is that, on both sides of Hadrian's Wall in those days, the people would have spoken Brythonic languages (the Celtic branch of which Welsh and Cornish are modern descendants), since Gaelic speakers only entered Scotland (and parts of Wales) as settlers as the Roman times were winding down. I'm not aware of any close equivalent in Welsh, but I'm not very familiar with any but the more common Welsh names. Interestingly, I did find that there are place names in England based on the name Cofa (including the city of Coventry), but the sources I have say that it was an Anglo-Saxon name. Still, a possible Celtic origin can't be ruled out entirely, because more and more is being discovered about how Celtic languages influenced Old English.

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar 2018 6:21 am 
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Thank you very much, CaoimhínSF.

Are Cobhaintín and Coibheantín male or female forms of the name, and if they are male, what would the female form be? And how do you pronounce those names?

And would Co(i)bha be the female form to the male Co(i)bhan?


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PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar 2018 6:43 am 
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Using Google, I did find a Gaelic name and a word cobh(a):

1. Cobha appears to be part of the name of an Irish tribe, the Uíbh Eachach Cobha, as explained in the Wikipedia entry for Iveagh.

2. Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaelige-Béarla gives the meaning of a word cobha as "mistiness of vision (from hardening of eyeballs)".

3. Robert Archibald Armstrong's Gaelic Dictionary in Two Parts as well as Norman Macleod's and Daniel Dewar's Dictionary of the Gaelic Language list an obsolete noun cobh "victory, triumph, conquest" as well as some other words beginning with "cobh-".

None of these are related to the name Coventina, I suppose, but those homophones could, if such a name had been in use, certainly influence the formation of that name and lead to a folk etymology.


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PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar 2018 8:25 pm 
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Quote:
Are Cobhaintín and Coibheantín male or female forms of the name, and if they are male, what would the female form be? And how do you pronounce those names?

And would Co(i)bha be the female form to the male Co(i)bhan?

Gaelic and Irish do not really have male and female forms of names, in the sense of endings or other indications which make them male or female. The suffix -ín (or the older suffix -án) is a diminutive which can be used with almost any word where it seems logical.

Also, you could have Cobha or Cobhan, but never Coibha or Coibhan, because the "i" would violate the orthographic rules of the language(s). Without getting all technical, often, an "i" or an "e" in spelling has no sound itself, but indicates the sound of the consonant next to it. Once again, though, it has nothing to do with gender.

Quote:
Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaelige-Béarla gives the meaning of a word cobha as "mistiness of vision (from hardening of eyeballs)".

Yes, I saw that, but I didn't see it as likely to be related to the name you asked about, but who knows? Maybe Coventina was the god or goddess of mists, or of vision or eye problems. Most of what is "known" about Celtic gods and goddesses is speculation anyway, since the myths and legends are full of contradictions and were written down by monks who were often trying to prove something (there's a lot of scholarship about that these days).

Quote:
Robert Archibald Armstrong's Gaelic Dictionary in Two Parts as well as Norman Macleod's and Daniel Dewar's Dictionary of the Gaelic Language list an obsolete noun cobh "victory, triumph, conquest" as well as some other words beginning with "cobh-"


Cobh is also in Dewelley's Gaelic dictionary, but once again there's nothing to indicate the origin, or that it was ever a name. The word is not found in MacBain's etymological dictionary of Gaelic. For purposes of fiction or fantasy, I suppose you can create whatever etymology you want.

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar 2018 8:59 pm 
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Wonderful! Thank you very much for your kind help, CaoimhínSF :-)


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