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20-12-2016, 09:08   #1
edener
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Ó Riagáin, Ó Ríogáin or O Riegaine?

Hi everyone, so, I'm a little confused about how to spell my surname, or at least one half of my surname (it's double barreled), there seems to be a few Irish alternative spellings, if your name is "O'Regan", and you want to start using the Irish version, can you choose any of the varient spellings or does some convention dictate one spelling?

I think the last one is interesting, never saw or heard of it before, "O Riegaine" (no fadas it seems). How would that be pronouced in Irish? Stumbled across it here at: libraryireland.com/names/or/o-riagain.php Could I choose to use that spelling of "O'Regan" if I wanted to, is it "legitimate" and acceptable to do so?

Is "O Riegaine" even Irish actually?

By the way the second part of my surname isn't Irish, it's Slavic - can a Slavic surname have an Irish spelling I wonder? You know, how we Gaelicised some English surnames (at least I think we did/can), could we do the same with a Slavic surname?

Thanks.


P.S: my better half told me my posting history makes me look a bit mental (ha, what does she know! lol), if you check my profile you'll see my paranoid conspiracy nut side and my rather argumentative side but ignore all that, I go argumentative sometimes for the hell of it, lol. Not a troll, just, well, like a good 'aul back and forth But any replies on this specific question regarding my Irish surname would be appreciated. I was thinking if I give too much info away someone may recognise me, lol. What the hell, most people think I'm a nutcase anyway

Last edited by edener; 20-12-2016 at 10:56.
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20-12-2016, 13:39   #2
An gal gréine
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The "O Riegaine" you mention is one of the English translations given, that's why there's no fadas.
Ó Riagáin is the accepted written form for a long time.
The Slavic would be best left as it is. That's the current practice.
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21-12-2016, 10:06   #3
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Woulfe in his 1923 book has following:

Quote:
Ó RIAGÁIN—I—O Riegaine, O Regane, O'Regan, Regan; 'descendant of Riagán'; the name of two distinct families. one seated in ancient Meath, and the other in Thomond. The O'Regans of Meath were a branch of the southern Ui Neill and one of the four tribes of Tara. Before the Anglo-Norman invasion, they were lords of South Breagh in Meath and the north of the present Co. Dublin, and appparently a powerful family. They took a leading part in the wars against the Danes. The annalists, under the year 1029, record a notable triumph of Mathghamhain Ó Riagáin, King of Breagh, over the foreigners, when he made prisoner Amhlaoibh, son of Sitric, King of Dublin, and only released him on payment of an enormous ransom, including the celebrated sword of Carlus. The O'Regans were dispossessed soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion and dispersed through Ireland. The O'Regans of Thomond are a Dalcassian family said to be descended from Riagán, son of Donncuan, the brother of Brian Boru. The O'Regans are now numerous all over Ireland. The name is often pronounced Ó Réagáin.
Quote:
Ó RÉIGÍN—I—O Reggine, O Regin, O'Regan, Regan: a variant of Ó Riagáin, which see.
Quote:
Ó RÉAGÁIN—I—O Regaine, O'Regan, Regan; a common variant in the spoken language of Ó Riagáin, which see.
the mention that Ó Réagáin is common spoken variant, is interesting as it points towards origin of pronunciation used by Ronald Reagan.
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23-12-2016, 07:33   #4
edener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubhthach View Post
Woulfe in his 1923 book has following:







the mention that Ó Réagáin is common spoken variant, is interesting as it points towards origin of pronunciation used by Ronald Reagan.
Thanks. So, someone could opt to use: Ó Réagáin, Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin? I've seen all three I think, actually come to think of it I think way back when, at secondary school in Co.Cork, my Irish surname was, Ó Réagáin. Unless I'm mistaken. Perhaps it varies by location, as in being in Munster, Connacht, Ulster or Leinster?

There's no "standardisation" of the surname then?

Last edited by edener; 23-12-2016 at 07:41.
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23-12-2016, 07:52   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edener View Post
Thanks. So, someone could opt to use: Ó Réagáin, Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin? I've seen all three I think, actually come to think of it I think way back when, at secondary school in Co.Cork, my Irish surname was, Ó Réagáin. Unless I'm mistaken. Perhaps it varies by location, as in being in Munster, Connacht, Ulster or Leinster?

There's no "standardisation" of the surname then?
Just as a surname can have multiple spellings in English - Walsh, Walshe, Welsh; Stephenson, Stevenson; etc - so it can have multiple spellings in Irish. Generally speaking a bunch of people who share a surname because they are related to one another will tend to use the same spelling, but there's no rule about this, and it's a relatively recent phenomemon. In the nineteenth century and before, it wasn't at all unusual for father and son, or brother and brother, to use different spellings, and it wasn't unknown for the same individual to use different spellings on different occasions.

I don't know if there are regional preferences as to which is the preferred or commonest spelling. Conceivably, this could be the case for some names but nor for others.

As has already been pointed out, "O Riegaine" is an anglicised spelling, like Regan, Reagan or O'Regan. The conventions of Irish orthography wouldn't allow you to put an 'e' on one side of the central 'g' and an 'a' on the other. The 'a' is a broad vowel and must be paired with another broad vowel - 'a', 'o' or 'u'.
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23-12-2016, 10:42   #6
edener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Just as a surname can have multiple spellings in English - Walsh, Walshe, Welsh; Stephenson, Stevenson; etc - so it can have multiple spellings in Irish. Generally speaking a bunch of people who share a surname because they are related to one another will tend to use the same spelling, but there's no rule about this, and it's a relatively recent phenomemon.
Thanks. But I'm wondering, if I decided to use the Irish version of my surname instead of my English one, likewise with my first name, or maybe not, I could choose whichever variant I wanted? On official documents and so forth, no actual rule or convention, no "body" which decides what is what in Irish from English, this kind of thing?

If so think I'll go with Ó Réagáin, even though a close family member uses Ó Riagáin (they "gaelicised" their name years ago). Huh, guess I could even go with: Ó RÉIGÍN?

By the way, is it possible to "gaelicise" a Slavic surname, that would be pretty interesting.

Last edited by edener; 23-12-2016 at 10:50.
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23-12-2016, 12:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edener View Post
Thanks. So, someone could opt to use: Ó Réagáin, Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin? I've seen all three I think, actually come to think of it I think way back when, at secondary school in Co.Cork, my Irish surname was, Ó Réagáin. Unless I'm mistaken. Perhaps it varies by location, as in being in Munster, Connacht, Ulster or Leinster?

There's no "standardisation" of the surname then?
Annals of the four masters have:

M1029.6

Amhlaoibh, mac Sitriocca, tigherna Gall do ergabháil do Mathghamhain Ua Riagáin, tigherna Bregh, & do bhen da chéd décc bó d'fuasccladh ass, & secht fichit each m-Brethnach, & tri fichit uinge d'ór, & cloidhemh Carlusa, & aittire Gaidheal eittir Laighnibh, & Leth Cuind, & tri fichit uinge d'airget ghil ina unga geimhlech, & ceithre fichit bó fhocail, & impidhe, & ceithre h-eittire d'O Riagáin féin fri sith, & lán-lógh braghatt an treas aittire
Translation:
Amhlaeibh, son of Sitric, lord of the foreigners, was taken prisoner by Mathghamhain Ua Riagain, lord of Breagha, who exacted twelve hundred cows as his ransom, together with seven score British horses and three score ounces of gold, and the sword of Carlus, and the Irish hostages, both of Leinster and Leath-Chuinn, and sixty ounces of white silver, as his fetter-ounce, and eighty cows for word and supplication, and four hostages to Ua Riagain as a security for peace, and the full value of the life of the third hostage.
This ties in with Woulfe and points to the original version of name been Ó Riagáin (eg. descendant of man called Riagán)

The Ó Réagáin spelling appears to reflect at least some dialectical variation during the 19th/20th century.

End of day it might depend on how your prononunce the surname in English, if like the bould Ronald than Ó Réagáin makes sense, if however ye prononunce it like lot of Irish people do (Ree-gan) than Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin would do.
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25-12-2016, 14:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubhthach View Post
Annals of the four masters have:

M1029.6

Amhlaoibh, mac Sitriocca, tigherna Gall do ergabháil do Mathghamhain Ua Riagáin, tigherna Bregh, & do bhen da chéd décc bó d'fuasccladh ass, & secht fichit each m-Brethnach, & tri fichit uinge d'ór, & cloidhemh Carlusa, & aittire Gaidheal eittir Laighnibh, & Leth Cuind, & tri fichit uinge d'airget ghil ina unga geimhlech, & ceithre fichit bó fhocail, & impidhe, & ceithre h-eittire d'O Riagáin féin fri sith, & lán-lógh braghatt an treas aittire
Translation:
Amhlaeibh, son of Sitric, lord of the foreigners, was taken prisoner by Mathghamhain Ua Riagain, lord of Breagha, who exacted twelve hundred cows as his ransom, together with seven score British horses and three score ounces of gold, and the sword of Carlus, and the Irish hostages, both of Leinster and Leath-Chuinn, and sixty ounces of white silver, as his fetter-ounce, and eighty cows for word and supplication, and four hostages to Ua Riagain as a security for peace, and the full value of the life of the third hostage.
This ties in with Woulfe and points to the original version of name been Ó Riagáin (eg. descendant of man called Riagán)

The Ó Réagáin spelling appears to reflect at least some dialectical variation during the 19th/20th century.

End of day it might depend on how your prononunce the surname in English, if like the bould Ronald than Ó Réagáin makes sense, if however ye prononunce it like lot of Irish people do (Ree-gan) than Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin would do.
Thanks, so that would be first recorded mention of an "Ó Riagáin" and any variants of that wouldn't exactly be kosher? One thing that I'm wondering about: this "Ua" thing? Why not an "Ó", why an Ua? Could someone use an Ua instead of an Ó?
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26-12-2016, 19:47   #9
dubhthach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edener View Post
Thanks, so that would be first recorded mention of an "Ó Riagáin" and any variants of that wouldn't exactly be kosher? One thing that I'm wondering about: this "Ua" thing? Why not an "Ó", why an Ua? Could someone use an Ua instead of an Ó?
Ua == "Old/Middle/Early Modern Irish" form of Ó

It's really just a case that in modern written standard that we use Ó instead of Ua, they are same thing though.

ua = grandson
uí = plural of ua (or genitive singular )
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31-01-2017, 12:03   #10
An Riabhach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edener View Post

By the way, is it possible to "gaelicise" a Slavic surname, that would be pretty interesting.
Just out of curiosity,what is your Slavic surname?
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25-02-2017, 02:25   #11
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Just out of curiosity,what is your Slavic surname?
I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you
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03-11-2020, 01:10   #12
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Forgive me if this is obvious to everyone here, but can someone confirm how you pronounce the name Regan in Ireland? I'm from the U.S., and I really think we've messed it up!
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03-11-2020, 01:18   #13
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Forgive me if this is obvious to everyone here, but can someone confirm how you pronounce the name Regan in Ireland? I'm from the U.S., and I really think we've messed it up!
Usually "ray-g'n", sometimes "ree-g'n". It's an uncommon spelling; "Reagan" would be the more common form.

In Ireland it's nearly always a surname; it would be unusual to find it as a given name. But of course "Regan" is a given name to a character in Shakespeare's king Lear, so using it as a given name isn't just a recent thing.
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03-11-2020, 12:14   #14
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Usually "ray-g'n", sometimes "ree-g'n". It's an uncommon spelling; "Reagan" would be the more common form.

In Ireland it's nearly always a surname; it would be unusual to find it as a given name. But of course "Regan" is a given name to a character in Shakespeare's king Lear, so using it as a given name isn't just a recent thing.
"Reagan" would definitely be pronounced "Ray-gen" here (former U.S. president). If you were trying to pronounce it "Reegan," which spelling would make the most sense? I've looked up the pronunciation in King Lear performances, and they seem to go with "Reegan." (But do the Brits pronounce it differently?)
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03-11-2020, 20:50   #15
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Gabh mo leithscéal. Tógfaidh mé mo chóta...
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