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Primitive Irish

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  • anthonyappleyard
    Sorry if I am off-topic here, but does anyone know the Primitive Irish (i.e. as spoken about Julius Caesar s time) forms of the Irish surnames Niall and
    Message 1 of 3 , May 3, 2014
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      Sorry if I am off-topic here, but does anyone know the Primitive Irish (i.e. as spoken about Julius Caesar's time) forms of the Irish surnames Niall and Néill? (Similar to, e.g., the old Irish king name Laoghaire looks like it came from *Loigarjos" or similar, and the river name Boyne / Bóinn is recorded in Ancient Greek as Βουουινδα = Buwinda.
    • Brian M. Scott
      At 3:29:31 AM on Saturday, May 3, 2014, ... Neither of those is a surname: is an Old Irish forename, and is its genitive. (There were no
      Message 2 of 3 , May 7, 2014
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        At 3:29:31 AM on Saturday, May 3, 2014,
        anthonyappleyard@... wrote:

        > Sorry if I am off-topic here, but does anyone know the
        > Primitive Irish (i.e. as spoken about Julius Caesar's
        > time) forms of the Irish surnames Niall and Néill?

        Neither of those is a surname: <Níall> is an Old Irish
        forename, and <Néill> is its genitive. (There were no
        surnames that early.) My resources are limited, but so far
        as I can tell, the etymology of the name <Níall> is unknown,
        and no attested ogam name can be definitely identified with
        it, so any Prim. Irish version would be highly conjectural.

        Since no one else has said anything, I’ll have a go, but you
        should take it with a large dose of salt.

        There is one possible early instance. The ogam inscription
        KNICK/1/1 in the CISP database, dated by Ziegler to 400-550,
        has been expanded as MAQI NILI. According to Ziegler, NILI
        must be the genitive of an o-stem, corresponding either to
        OIr. <Níall> or to OIr. <Nél> (gen. <Níuil>), from <nél>
        'cloud'. In the former case it must be a mistake for *NELI,
        a mistake that is easy to make in ogam. If this ogam name
        does correspond to OIr. <Néill>, my best guess is that the
        Prim. Ir. nominative and genitive are /nēlah/ and /nēli/,
        respectively, though it may be that the /l/ ought to be
        geminated. Note, though, that this is based on a pretty
        cursory look at the declensions in David Stifter’s
        _Sengoídelc: Old Irish for Beginners_ and the discussion of
        phonology in Thurneysen.

        Brian
      • anthonyappleyard
        At 3:29:31 AM on Saturday, May 3, 2014, ... The doubled l in the historic spellings seem to point to a double consonant in the Primitive Irish form,
        Message 3 of 3 , May 19, 2014
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          At 3:29:31 AM on Saturday, May 3, 2014,
          anthonyappleyard@... wrote:

          > Sorry if I am off-topic here, but does anyone know the
          > Primitive Irish (i.e. as spoken about Julius Caesar's
          > time) forms of the Irish surnames Niall and Néill?

          The doubled 'l' in the historic spellings seem to point to a double consonant in the Primitive Irish form, "/nēll-/, with a suspicion to me that this may be a result of contraction from a 'w' dropping: "Newillos" or similar? Compare the river name Boyne, Irish Bóinn , which Claudius Ptolemaeus in Roman times recorded as Bουουινδα, i.e. Buwinda.
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