As you all know, I rarely ask questions as I can usually find what I need to know on the forum in a thread where the subject has already been discussed, and I often feel I have reached a stage in my Welsh journey where I seem to know the answers already, and where I don’t, there’s always someone who does, and their feedback is always appreciated.
But today, I actually have a question!
We all know that Town names in Welsh usually mutates where grammar requires it to, but does this still apply to personal names??
For example, if I were to name my daughter Cariad and my son Tudur, should we talk about “Tudur a Chariad” or “Cariad a Thudur”? Or could there be an exception from grammar for personal names??
See, in my mind, how those names appear on the birth certificate is how it should remain spelt. They may well have short names or nicknames as well, but can Cariad really be referred to as “Gariad”, “Chariad” and “Nghariad” too? And Tudur as “Dudur”, “Thudur” and “Nhudur”?? Is it even appropriate to mutate a personal name??
I was thinking about this earlier and I’m now intrigued as to which is true!
From my personal view, I surely wouldn’t be happy with calling me “Datjana”, “Thatjana” where required. I wouldn’t even know I’m the person one’s talking about or calling for … so this for I have the same belief as you have, that names should not be mutated, but is it actually correct or not … good question which you made me aware of just right now.
Yeah I’ve read that in Gareth King’s too! But the other day funny enough I noticed personal names can have mutations in place names. I think it might be just an exception to the rule or maybe an example from older Welsh.
Eg. Ynysforgan: Ynys Morgan
Llandeilo: Llan Teilo
Llanfair: Llan Mair
My experience is that you mutate people’s names if you’re writing formal poetry. In other situations, and especially speech, if you mutate people’s names you sound like you’re trying to write formal poetry.
Yes, I’ve noticed this too! I’ve figured that words like Llan, Tre(f) and even Ffordd in some cases (examples of which I can’t recall, but I’m sure I’ll remember when I see it again!) causes a soft mutation in the next word - including personal names. Llanfair being the obvious one, but here in Cardiff we have a small town called Morganstown, just outside Radyr. It has 2 names - some road signs call it ‘Pentre - poeth’, and others call it ‘Treforgan’.
Another example of Llan causing a soft mutation (albeit not a personal name) is Llandaff (Taff - after the river).
That said, Llantysilio - should that be Llandysilio??
The idea of anyone being called “Fargaret” made me smile! Glad to know everyone gets to keep their names intact. “Anna” wouldn’t mutate anyway (although, when I was a child, I was sometimes called Anna Banana, but that’s a different sort of mutation! )
Also in a bit of a sidenote, has anyone noticed that sometimes place names don’t seem to follow the word order you’d expect?
Eg. Hirwaun instead of Gwaunhir
Llwydcoed instead of Coedllwyd
Gwendraeth instead of Traethwen
Brithdir instead of Tirbrith etc
Is it just in the past more adjectives preceeded the noun than in the spoken language today like with ‘hen’? Or is it poetic/emphasises the adjective? Or something else! Obviously don’t need to know this for a conversation but it’s just curiosity!
In Scottish Gaelic, “Seumas” (corresponding to English “James”) becomes “Sheumais”, pronounced something like “Hamish” in the Vocative Case, i.e. when addressing someone.
It could be quite confusing when growing up as a James, for everyone to call you “Hamish” to your face but talk about you in the third person as James. It might be easier just to be called “Hamish”. Indeed, it is believed that this is how the name “Hamish” came about, Wikipedia Entry for Hamish
Without Mutation of personal names (in Scottish Gaelic) at least one new name would not have happened!
Diddorol iawn, Bob. I have rarely seen the vocative referred to since I stopped doing Latin at school. Something like this actually happens in Welsh, although not for personal names.
e.g. “annwyl bawb” or “helo bawb” at the beginning of informal group emails. And Gareth King, in his Comprehensive Grammar (section 11 in the 1993 edition ) says [SM occurs ] "…where a noun is used in addressing or calling someone. e.g. “Dewch fan hyn, blant!” - “Come here, children!”