What with the close connections over centuries between England and Ireland, most Irish Christian names and surnames have Anglicised forms. Bridget and Dierdre and so forth.
Almost no Englishmen speak Irish Gaelic. Nor, I believe, do many citizens of the Republic, either. But at least they can decipher the language sufficient to make out how names should be pronounced.

For instance, what is an Englishman (or American or other non-speaker of Irish) to make of
'Daithí Ó hAnluain'
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050310ohanluain /
if not to ask whether Joe Smith is available? (It's not even clear whether the individual named is male or female!)
It comes across (YMMV, natch) as a capsule form of the language fascism that used, at least, to be prominent in the country in pre-Celtic Tiger days (for instance, though there have been no monolingual Gaelic speakers for decades, for the most part, one could not get a teaching job in the Republic without a qualification in the language). Or a minor act of Semtex-less Fenianism.

The pronunciation is virtually unguessable for the uninitiated. Compare the relative ease of busking Hungarian surnames (I chose Hungarian as a non-Indo-European language):
http://www.bogardi.com/gen/g023.htm
with the absolute necessity of a crib for the Irish:

http://www.daire.org/names/irishsurs.html
It's fascinating, perhaps, from a linguistics angle: a name like the one quoted above - unpronounceable; in context, appearing to be used deliberately to exclude the uninitiated - does not, in significant ways, function in the way that names normally do.
(Quick question: at which place in the alphabetical order would you look it up in the telephone directory? The lower-case 'h' is, I surmise
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish initial mutations

a 'prothetic onset 'h'' - do those count in placing the name alphabetically?)
To a non-Gaelic speaker, the name's 'meta' (to use the word not in any technical sense) significance - as an act of cultural celebration or bird-flipping or whatever - will be at least as great as its (necessarily limited) significance as a name.
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What with the close connections over centuries between England and Ireland, most Irish Christian names and surnames have Anglicised forms. ... the Republic, either. But at least they can decipher the language sufficient to make out how names should be pronounced.

I can fairly confidently state that few English would have much of an idea how to pronounce Irish, beyond odd words like "Dáil"; and even then they'd do better reading what had been written, rather than trying to spell what had been said.
(ramblings snipped)
The pronunciation is virtually unguessable for the uninitiated. Compare the relative ease of busking Hungarian surnames (I chose Hungarian as a non-Indo-European language): http://www.bogardi.com/gen/g023.htm

That page tells you nothing about Hungarian pronunciation. Care to tell me how you think "a", "cs", "cz", "j", "s", or "sz" should be pronounced?

I'm no Magyarist, but I doubt that any Hungarian actually uses the letter "ô" either. Possibly a munged double acute?

My understanding is that modern Irish spelling is fairly regular. Older spelling (cf. Scottish Gaelic) is a bit tougher, but there are definitely rules there. I believe that "vowel" symbols are used to reflect the quality of adjacent consonants, not unlike the use of different vowel symbols in Russian to reflect palatalization.
It's not as if English spelling is without odd rules either. Consider the use of final "e" to change vowel sounds:
hop ~ hope
grip ~ gripe

Andrew Gwilliam
To email me, replace "bottomless pit" with "silverhelm"
For instance, what is an Englishman (or American or other non-speaker of Irish) to make of 'Daithí Ó hAnluain'

Di O'Hanlon?
Ida Goode-Johnson
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Thu, 14 Apr 2005 00:15:58 +0100: Andrew Gwilliam
: in sci.lang:
That page tells you nothing about Hungarian pronunciation. Care to tell me how you think "a", "cs", "cz", "j", "s", or "sz" should be pronounced?

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/hungaria.htm
I doubt that any Hungarian actually uses the letter "ô" either. Possibly a munged double acute?

Yes. A quite common convention, in cases where the real thing is technically difficult. (But it needn't be, nowadays). http://rudhar.com/sfreview/unigglen.htm
http://rudhar.com/sfreview/ungglutf.htm

Ruud Harmsen - http://rudhar.com /
That page tells you nothing about Hungarian pronunciation. Care to tell me how you think "a", "cs", "cz", "j", "s", or "sz" should be pronounced?

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/hungaria.htm

I'm sure you realised why I asked the question of the OP. However, that's a useful-looking page; thank-you.
I'm not au fait with SAMPA, could you tell me what (F) and (h\) would be in Kirshenbaum IPA (or the real thing)? They didn't seem to be explained.

It was also interesting to see that there are a few false friends in SAMPA if you're used to the other system!
I doubt that any Hungarian actually uses the letter "ô" either. Possibly a munged double acute?

Yes. A quite common convention, in cases where the real thing is technically difficult. (But it needn't be, nowadays). http://rudhar.com/sfreview/unigglen.htm http://rudhar.com/sfreview/ungglutf.htm

Thanks for that, too. I guess this use of the circumflex goes into the same category as or for Esperanto, and omitting diacritics in Romanian. Hurrah for Unicode!

Andrew Gwilliam
To email me, replace "bottomless pit" with "silverhelm"
Thu, 14 Apr 2005 14:35:22 +0100: Andrew Gwilliam
: in sci.lang:
I'm sure you realised why I asked the question of the OP.

Yes, rhetorical question. But I thought others might benefit.
However, that's a useful-looking page; thank-you. I'm not au fait with SAMPA, could you tell me what (F) and (h\) would be in Kirshenbaum IPA (or the real thing)? They didn't seem to be explained.

F = labiodental nasal
h\ = glottal fricative, voiced
http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/x-sampa.htm
http://www.blahedo.org/ascii-ipa.html
http://rudhar.com/foneport/en/noteport.htm#Note2
http://rudhar.com/foneport/en/lingglos.htm
It was also interesting to see that there are a few false friends in SAMPA if you're used to the other system!

Yes, that confuses me all the time too.
Yes. A quite common convention, in cases where the real thing is technically difficult. (But it needn't be, nowadays). http://rudhar.com/sfreview/unigglen.htm http://rudhar.com/sfreview/ungglutf.htm

Thanks for that, too. I guess this use of the circumflex goes into the same category as or for Esperanto, /

Exactly. And ue in German etc.
Hurrah for Unicode!

Hear hear.

Ruud Harmsen - http://rudhar.com /
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Welsh w and y with tô-bach (circumflex accent) confuse most character sets. Are these in Unicode? Mi parolas Esperanton kiel naciano - and I absolutely hate those ^ accents on the consonants.

Paul Townsend
Pair them off into threes
Interchange the alphabetic letter groups to reply
Welsh w and y with tô-bach (circumflex accent) confuse most character sets. Are these in Unicode?

Por supuesto! Unicode Latin Extended-A, glyph nos. 0175 and 0177 (0174 and
0176 respectively for the capitals).(http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0100.pdf )
If you're using Windows XP, you'll need to scroll down one screen in the Character Map accessory program to see them.
Mi parolas Esperanton kiel naciano - and I absolutely hate those[/nq]^ accents on the consonants.

Well I don't speak a word of Esperanto, but that business with the circumflexes on consonants is quite bizarre.

Andrew Gwilliam
To email me, replace "bottomless pit" with "silverhelm"
For instance, what is an Englishman (or American or other non-speaker of Irish) to make of 'Daithí Ó hAnluain' http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050310ohanluain / if not to ask whether Joe Smith is available? (It's not even clear whether the individual named is male or female!)

The English language analogue is "David O'Hanlon". An approximate Irish pronunciation is
Da-hee Oh Hanlon (stress accent on first syllables)
It comes across (YMMV, natch) as a capsule form of the language fascism that used, at least, to be prominent in the country in pre-Celtic Tiger days

There are of course Irish language fascists but there are very few and they are relatively harmless. English (but not always as you might know it in England or anywhere else) is the by far the dominant language of Ireland. The use of Irish is a cultural choice, not the majority except in a few far-away places in the West and Southwest but many people use the Irish forms of their names. Why not?
The pronunciation is virtually unguessable for the uninitiated. Compare the relative ease of busking Hungarian surnames (I chose Hungarian as a non-Indo-European language):

Irish spelling uses different conventions to English is much more regular. Once you know the rules, you can read accurately. Just like English, it's a little more challenging going from sound to writing, but with less irregularity.
(Quick question: at which place in the alphabetical order would you look it up in the telephone directory?

In an Irish telephone directory, under A for Anluain, Ó means "grandson", (this was Ua in the older language and spelling). The h is inserted after Ó when it precedes a vowel. Elsewhere...who knows?

Niall
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