It is currently Sat 18 May 2024 7:29 pm

All times are UTC


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2024 5:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu 11 Apr 2024 5:36 pm
Posts: 2
Hi! I unfortunately can't find the original source, but a few months ago I came across the Irish surname "Sídach", apparently meaning 'Wolf', or some diminutive of that. Does anybody happen to know if this is the correct translation? :-) I'm a writer, so I would just like to double check!

On a similar note, I'm a little confused about the pronunciation, would it be 'She-dach' ( with the 'ch' being the more of a 'hhh' than a 'cha' ) or 'She-thach' ?

Thank you!! :GRMA:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr 2024 9:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu 22 Dec 2011 6:28 am
Posts: 392
Location: Corcaigh
deir wrote:
Hi! I unfortunately can't find the original source, but a few months ago I came across the Irish surname "Sídach", apparently meaning 'Wolf', or some diminutive of that. Does anybody happen to know if this is the correct translation? :-) I'm a writer, so I would just like to double check!

On a similar note, I'm a little confused about the pronunciation, would it be 'She-dach' ( with the 'ch' being the more of a 'hhh' than a 'cha' ) or 'She-thach' ?

Thank you!! :GRMA:


So, there are a few problems with this. Firstly, sídach is clearly Old Irish (or Middle Irish) orthography (6th - 13th century), but not Modern Irish. In Modern Irish orthography you wouldn't expect the letter d to be preceded by a slender vowel (í) and followed by a broad vowel a. I suspect the modern Irish spelling would likely be síodhach, but I haven't been able to find this attested as a stand-alone word. In any case, the form sídach can't be an "Irish surname", because surnames weren't really a concept until more recently in Irish history, and modern Irish surnames tend to follow modern orthographic rules.

Aside from this, Irish surnames follow a limited number of formulae. You get names that are preceded by the words Ó "descendent" or Mac "son" for men, and "wife", "daughter of Ó", or Nic "daughter of Mac" for women. You can also get De, which is an Anglo-norman import meaning "of". A modern surname which clearly comes from the root sídach is Ó Síodhacháin, anglicised Sheehan. This has the (genitive) diminutive suffix -áin at the end, which I think might be what you were referring to in your opening post. It's important to note, however, that Sídach, Síodhach, or even Síodhachán, would not be Irish surnames as standalone words.

As to the meaning of sídach, in Old Irish it seems to have been used primarily as an adjective. It means something along the lines of "fairy-like" or "belonging to the fairies". Another common adjectival meaning could be translated as "peaceful", from which we get the Modern Irish noun síocháin, "peace". The word sídach is attested in Old/Middle Irish as a noun with the meaning "wolf", probably as an extension of the "fairy-like" adjective mentioned above. It's easy to understand how a wolf could be seen as having "fairy-like" qualities, perhaps being considered mysterious, cunning, deceptive or sly. What's important to note here, however, is that this is clearly a secondary meaning, based on the adjective. It's not as common as the adjectival usage, and many of its attestations are in glossaries rather than in texts like prose or poetry. As such, it seems unlikely to me that this noun would be the root of surnames like Ó Síodhacháin. Rather, this surname probably refers to someone being "fairy-like". I'd be inclined to translate Ó Síodhacháin literally as "descendent of (the) little fairy-like (one)" rather than "descendent of little wolf".

Finally, regarding the pronunciation of sídach, the lenited ch would be pronounced like the "ch" in loch or Bach. As sídach is orthographically Old Irish, the letter d should also be lenited in pronunciation (pronounced like the "th" in "that"). The lenited dh of Modern Irish síodhach would be pronounced differently (like the "y" of "you" as it is in medial position).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 8:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue 09 Jan 2024 8:15 pm
Posts: 35
Thank you for your very comprehensive and interesting reply Ade.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 8:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu 22 Dec 2011 6:28 am
Posts: 392
Location: Corcaigh
iambullivant wrote:
Thank you for your very comprehensive and interesting reply Ade.


I should add to my answer, on reflection, that an equally probable (if not more likely) root for the surname Ó Síodhacháin is the second adjectival meaning I mentioned.

I'm actually now inclined to think that a better literal translation for this name would be "descendent of (the) little peaceful one". This could either be a Christian reference, or a reference to a small child, though as many names were generated in Old Irish based around Christian themes (e.g. Mac Giolla Íosa lit. "son of (the) devotee of Jesus", Mac Giolla Phádraig, lit. "son of (the) devotee of Patrick", Máel Choluim lit. "Monk of Columba", and Máel Sechnaill lit. "monk of Seachnall"), I'm inclined to think the former is at play here.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 1:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat 03 May 2014 4:01 pm
Posts: 1717
In addition to Ade's answer:

There are a few common Irish surnames ending in -ach, e.g. Breathnach (Brannagh, Walsh), Muimhneach (Moynagh), Déiseach (Deasey), Cinnseallach (Kinsella), or Caomhánach (Kavanagh).
They were originally cognomina and replaced some patronymic surnames totally.

Furthermore, you can create (originally adjectival) by-forms ending in -ach from most Irish surnames with Ó or Mac (as long as they contain the first names of ancestors), e.g. Ó Cadhain -> an Cadhnach, Ó Néill -> an Niallach, Mac Cárthaigh -> an Cárthach, etc. Such forms are used as standalone forms without a first name. ([Mr.] Byrne did it. = Rinne an Branach é.)

There are the surnames Mac Síthigh and Ó Síthigh ("son/decendant of Sítheach", i.e. "son/decendant of the peaceful one", anglicized as O'Sheehy or MacSheehy) with their by-form an Sítheach which comes probably closest to your "Sídach"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 4:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat 31 Jul 2021 8:03 pm
Posts: 131
Hereditary surnames in Ireland mostly originated during the high middle ages (let’s say 1000 AD to 1200 AD).

Some surnames are occupational e.g. Mac Scolóige (scológ = farmer), Ó Scolaidhe (scolaidhe = student), Mac Gabhann (gabha = smith), and presumably Ó Ríoghbhardáin (ríoghbhardán = royal bard).

However, the vast majority of surnames are said to be patronymics i.e. being derived from the personal name, rather than from the occupation, of some patrilineal ancestor e.g. Mac Cárthaigh (son of Cárthach), Ó Conchobhair (grandson of Conchobhar), Ó Domhnaill (grandson of Domhnall), etc.

From observing surnames, it would seem that there were lots of personal names in the high middle ages that no longer exist in modern times e.g. Ó Séaghdha (dil.ie lists ‘Ségda’ as meaning lucky, happy, fortunate, favourable, propitious), Ó Cruadhlaoich (Cruadhlaoch = tough hero/warrior), Mac Conchatha (Conchatha = battlehound), Mac Tighearnáin (Tighearnán = little lord), Ó Tighearnaigh (Tighearnach = lordly), Ó Cionnfhaolaidh (Cionnfhaoladh = head of wolf i.e. wolf-head). (Some of these names are adjectives that are used as nouns.)

For instance, in modern times, you are unlikely to come across someone named Cionnfhaoladh or Conchatha, or indeed Sítheach. So it looks like a whole swathe of male personal names died out.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 6:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu 11 Apr 2024 5:36 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you all! I had a feeling it was older/middle Irish, ( simply because from my sleuthing I couldn't find any modern connection to 'wolf' ). If I'm being frank, I found the name on some obscure baby-name site that was probably full of a bunch of mistranslations :/ my native language is fairly small/lesser known and often gets the same treatment, and knowing how terrible those sites can be with name suggestions, you can see why I wanted to double check!
( Now that I'm going back and looking at it, it was actually from Behind The Name! https://www.behindthename.com/element/si10dach , Up until know I had thought they were a fairly reputable source, :cry: I hope I'll be able to find other forums similar to this one when it comes to name-hunting then! XD )

It is sad to hear that a lot of the more interesting names died out, however thank you for educating me on the modern formation of surnames! This does help a lot! Thank you Ade, for your help ( or aid ) in that! Furthermore, I'll probably end up using Labhrás' suggestion of Ó Síthigh / Sítheach as the character's surname! Even if its uncommon, and doesn't truly translate to 'wolf' anymore, I still like the ring it has to it! ( another shoutout to Ade for their help with the pronunciation! I'm trying my best to learn the phonetic rules, but it will probably take me a bit! :computer: )

This forum has been so helpful, and I hope everyone has a good day/night! I'll probably come back soon for further clarification on some other obscure name I pull from the depths from the internet...
:GRMA:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 10:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat 31 Jul 2021 8:03 pm
Posts: 131
deir wrote:
Thank you all! I had a feeling it was older/middle Irish, ( simply because from my sleuthing I couldn't find any modern connection to 'wolf' ). If I'm being frank, I found the name on some obscure baby-name site that was probably full of a bunch of mistranslations :/ my native language is fairly small/lesser known and often gets the same treatment, and knowing how terrible those sites can be with name suggestions, you can see why I wanted to double check!
( Now that I'm going back and looking at it, it was actually from Behind The Name! https://www.behindthename.com/element/si10dach , Up until know I had thought they were a fairly reputable source, :cry: I hope I'll be able to find other forums similar to this one when it comes to name-hunting then! XD )
:


I think that website's entry for Sídach is kind of correct, albeit incomplete.

The webpage https://dil.ie/search?q=s%C3%ADdach&search_in=headword gives three meanings of 'Sídach' from the Middle Irish period:

1. (adjective) Fairy-like
2. (adjective) (Variant spellings Sítach, Sítech) Peaceful
3. (noun) Wolf

Per Ade, the meaning 'wolf' likely derives from the meaning 'fairly-like', presumably since wolves, like fairies, can be considered stealthy or elusive.

Only the second meaning above ('peaceful') has survived into Modern Irish, with the modern spelling Sítheach, pronounced ['ʃi:həx]. See https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fgb/s%C3%ADtheach. (There is also the modern variant Síodhach (reformed spelling Síoch)).

I suspect, as per Labhrás, that the personal name Sídach came from the second meaning 'Peaceful'. At the start of the Modern Irish period (~1200 AD), the personal name Sídach would presumably also evolve into Sítheach. However in very modern times, this personal name no longer seems to be in use. However it survives in the modern surname Mac Síthigh (son of Sítheach, with Síthigh being the genitive case form of Sítheach).


Last edited by Caoilte on Fri 12 Apr 2024 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr 2024 10:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat 31 Jul 2021 8:03 pm
Posts: 131
Ade wrote:

So, there are a few problems with this. Firstly, sídach is clearly Old Irish (or Middle Irish) orthography (6th - 13th century), but not Modern Irish. In Modern Irish orthography you wouldn't expect the letter d to be preceded by a slender vowel (í) and followed by a broad vowel a. I suspect the modern Irish spelling would likely be síodhach, but I haven't been able to find this attested as a stand-alone word. In any case, the form sídach can't be an "Irish surname", because surnames weren't really a concept until more recently in Irish history, and modern Irish surnames tend to follow modern orthographic rules.


Since, the spelling rule 'slender with slender, broad with broad' hadn't fully taken shape until the beginning of the Early Modern Irish period, it's unclear to me if the 'd' in 'sídach' is slender or broad.

The letter 'i' before a consonant indicated that the consonant was slender, even as far back as Old and Middle Irish, as far as I know. I'm guessing that this also applied where the letter 'i' was long. Therefore this would mean that the 'd' in 'sídach' was slender. This would then fit with 'sítheach', the modern form of the word, where the 'th' is slender in the spelling.

Edit: Then again, I'm not sure. On second thoughts, it seems that Sídach became Síodhach in Modern Irish (as you suggested), but that the alternative form Sítach became Sítheach.

This then would suggest a contradiction: that the 'd' of 'Sídach' was broad, but that the 't' of 'Sítach' was slender.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat 13 Apr 2024 3:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu 22 Dec 2011 6:28 am
Posts: 392
Location: Corcaigh
Caoilte wrote:
I think that website's entry for Sídach is kind of correct, albeit incomplete.


I'm inclined to disagree. As it stands, the website states that the "name element", sídach from which the listed names are derived, comes from the 'Old Irish word meaning "wolf"', which is likely incorrect.

Saying it's "kind of correct, albeit incomplete" is a bit too forgiving for me. It suggests that whoever made this entry accidentally overlooked the adjectival forms, which would be difficult to do as they're more frequently attested, and appear first on eDIL. It seems more likely to me that whoever put up the definition on that website deliberately omitted the adjectival forms, having decided they weren't the root of the name, though one of them likely is.

Caoilte wrote:

Since, the spelling rule 'slender with slender, broad with broad' hadn't fully taken shape until the beginning of the Early Modern Irish period, it's unclear to me if the 'd' in 'sídach' is slender or broad.

The letter 'i' before a consonant indicated that the consonant was slender, even as far back as Old and Middle Irish, as far as I know. I'm guessing that this also applied where the letter 'i' was long. Therefore this would mean that the 'd' in 'sídach' was slender. This would then fit with 'sítheach', the modern form of the word, where the 'th' is slender in the spelling.


This is one of those things that are very difficult to tell without clear proof, like the word occurring as part of a rhyming couplet in a poem for example.

In some cases you can draw a reasonable conclusion by looking at modern Irish. For example, Old Irish fer became Modern Irish fear, so we can be fairly confident the final r of fer was never slender, except in vocative and genitive cases where the spelling changed to fir. As you suggest, though, there are a few added difficulties if trying to do this with sídach; it doesn't seem to be attested in Modern Irish with the meaning "fairy-like", so no direct comparison can be made for that variant, the d is lenited which diminishes the distinction between the slender and broad forms compared to non-lenited d, and for the variant with the "fairy-like" meaning, modern spelling reforms obscure the spelling by removing the "dh" in many resources.

It might be possible to draw some conclusions by making comparisons to surviving compounds in resources which do not use reformed spelling. Dineen, for example, lists only a slender form of the word sídh "fairy", but list several compounds in which the dh/th element is either broad or slender depending, apparently, on what follows:

sídh, g. -íthe and -e, pl. id. and -íodha, f., a fairy; a sprite; a fairy abode or mansion; a fairy hill or hillock (as containing such abodes); sídh-bhean, a fairy woman (also bean sídhe).

sídh-bhean, f., a fairy woman.
sídheog, -oige, -oga, f., a fay.
sídh-fhear, m., a fairy man.
sídh-lios, m., a fairy fort.
síth-bhinn, a., fairy -sweet (of music) (Kea.).

síodh-bhrat, m., a fairy covering or garment.
síodhbhróg, -óige, -óga, f., a fairy.
síodh-bhrugh, m., a fairy mansion.
síodh-bhruinneall, f., a fairy maiden.
síodhán, -áin, pl. id., m., a fairy, a goblin; a fairy abode; dim. of sídh.
síodh-ghaoth, f., fairy wind.

We might tentatively conclude from this, at least in the case of sídach meaning "fairy-like", that the lenited d was broad in Old Irish under the influence of the following broad consonant.

Caoilte wrote:
Edit: Then again, I'm not sure. On second thoughts, it seems that Sídach became Síodhach in Modern Irish (as you suggested), but that the alternative form Sítach became Sítheach.

This then would suggest a contradiction: that the 'd' of 'Sídach' was broad, but that the 't' of 'Sítach' was slender.


I was only guessing that sídach "fiary-like" would become modern Irish síodhach. As I mentioned, I can't find it attested anywhere. As for the version with the meaning "peaceful", eDIL actually gives three variations of the headword (sídach , síthach, and síthech) and both broad and slender versions of this seem to have survived into modern Irish. Dineen lists the following:

síothach, -aighe, a., peaceable, calm, agreeable; s. le, at peace with.
sítheach, -thighe, a., peaceful. See síothach.

Perhaps there was confusion whether the d/t element should be broad or slender from an early age because it's pronunciation would have been obscured by the lenition.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 27 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group