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"Cowan" and patronymics generally



Andrew Ferreir yscrifef:

> I have been heroically resisting it until now but 'Ioan Cowan' keeps on
> coming to mind, or should that be Iewan Cowan, John has explained his
> surname on Conlang, but I can't remember his correct pronunciation off
> hand.

"Cow-" as in English "cow", but that pronunciation is of the last
three generations only.  Historically it is "Mac Eoghain", Irish for
"son Eoghan-GEN" where "Eoghan" is an Irish version of "John",
so I am "John son of John".

What's the story with patronymic surnames?  My somewhat half-arsed
notion is that the Brithenig patronymic prefix is "eil" < "ffeil",
tracking the Welsh use of "ap" < "map".  In which case I am
"Iewan Llewan", I think, with "lie" > "lle" and the initial
vowels dropped, parallel to the dropping of "Ma-" from "Macowan".
I hope this makes the punsters among you happy.

Or did the Romano-British simply scuttle their naming system
in toto in favor of the Latin one?  (I hope not.)

As a first name, I definitely prefer "Iewan" (parallel to Irish
"Eoghan") rather than "GiŰn" (parallel to Irish "SeŠn").

> Dewi    David

"Dewidd" in the on-line dictionary.

> Garfan  German

This seems oddball.  Why the shift to "a" and preservation of the
plosive "g"?  Note that it got into Spanish twice, as "HernŠn"
and "Ferdinando".

> Sort of a mishmash of Latinate names and other borrowings.

But it looks good!  Onomasty is always full of oddities.

-- 
John Cowan	http://www.ccil.org/~cowan		cowan@ccil.org
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (FW 16.5)