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Re: "Cowan" and patronymics generally
On Fri, 3 Apr 1998, John Cowan wrote:
> Andrew Ferreir yscrifef:
I like that!
> 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.
Patronymics are definately in. The current king is HMS King Gereint XIII
mab Padarn. Padarn is a fifth century British Latin the royal dynasty is
descended from originally Paternus. It is still found in Welsh placenames
(Llanbadarn). Paternus actually did exist, he was the ancestor of the
princes of Gwynedd.
I tend to favour mab(boy) over ffeil(son/daughter), although ffeil is more
correct. I do like Iewan Llewan though, it appeals to me. I like
"ffeil/eil/ll-". It works for me.
> Or did the Romano-British simply scuttle their naming system
> in toto in favor of the Latin one? (I hope not.)
Patronymics are popular (read common). I am not familiar with the
practice among romance cultures of surnaming. Traditionally children are
named after family members. I read at one site on the net the first son
is named for his paternal grandfather, the next for his maternal
grandfather, then the eldest uncle and so forth. The first daughter is
named for her maternal grandmother, and so forth.
> "Dewidd" in the on-line dictionary.
Dewidd is probably more common but the national saint is always referred
to as Dewi Saeth.
> > Garfan German
> This seems oddball. Why the shift to "a" and preservation of the
> plosive "g"? Note that it got into Spanish twice, as "Hernán"
> and "Ferdinando".
Welsh had a rule for its Romance vocabulary that er -> ar. It exists in
Brithenig mostly in unstressed syllables. The Cornish saint Germanus is
also known as Garmon, which influenced the pronunciation of this name.
Probably I should change it to Gerfan.
Andrew Smith <email@example.com>
Life is short, so am I...