Costello.

My wife asked me “How come Costello is an Irish name? It doesn’t sound Irish.” I had to agree that it didn’t, so I checked my go-to book for surnames, Rybakin’s Словарь английских фамилий = A Dictionary of English Surnames (Moscow, 1986), where I found that it represented an Irish MacOisdealbhaigh, pronounced something vaguely like mc-ISH-dalwa, and you can sort of see how that could wind up as Costello, especially after a few pints. She raised an eyebrow when I reported this but didn’t object. Then I made the fatal decision to check Wikipedia, which said “Oistealb or Osdealv was the Gaelic rendering of Jocelyn,” referring me to this webpage:

The origin of the surname Costello provides a perfect illustration of the way the native Irish absorbed the invading Normans. Soon after the invasion, the de Angulo family, also known as “Nangle” settled in Connacht, where they rapidly became powerful. After only three generations, they had begun to give themselves a surname formed in the Irish manner, with the clan taking Jocelyn de Angulo as their eponymous forebear. Jocelyn was rendered Goisdealbh in Irish, and the surname adopted Mac Goisdealbhaigh, later given the phonetic English equivalent “Costello”.

This time my wife said “I’m sorry, that makes no sense,” and I find it hard to disagree. How on earth do you get Goisdealbh out of Jocelyn? But I’m not the explainer here, just the bearer of odd news. I report, you decide.

(Wikipedia also says: “Although it is not of Italian origin, the name Costello has a misleading Italian appearance. It occasionally has been adopted as a pseudonym or stage name by famous people of Italian descent […], which creates further confusion about the origin of this Norman-French surname.” It sure does!)

Comments

  1. This is so absolutely fascinating. Even more so, the fact that you consulted a Russian book for an Irish surname. What a great blog. I guess we are just missing a Gaelic scholar here?

  2. “and I find it hard to disagree. How on earth do you get Goisdealbh out of Jocelyn?”

    Yeah. There’s a lot of strecth in Irish but not quite that much. “Proinsias” for “Francis” is weird but obvious once you look at it. “Gearoid” for “Gerald”? – well maybe the Normans hadn’t palatalized their Norse personal names for whatever reason.

    ” I had to agree that it didn’t, so I checked my go-to book for surnames, Rybakin’s Словарь английских фамилий = A Dictionary of English Surnames (Moscow, 1986),”

    There has to be a story behind a book on Englsh surnames lisitng Irish names.

  3. Other Latinate-seeming British Isles names: Pattillo and Omohundro. I once had a list of these in my head, but that list was replaced by something equally useless.

  4. In addition, I once had a strange conversation with my father-in-law that hinged on his misconception that Shapiro was an Italian name. Since then I hear it as Sciappiro.

  5. j>g
    o>oi
    s>st>sd
    e
    l
    y>w>v
    n>∅

    In Ireland the stress is usually on the first syllable COStello, which at least is consistent with Jocelyn. Elvis CosTELLo is of Irish stock; not sure whether he intended his stage name to be stressed thus.

    Among other Irish names which change stress abroad are those ending -ín/-een (Maureen, Eileen), which in America seem to get analogised with French names in -ine (Nadine, Celine).

  6. Among other Irish names which change stress abroad are those ending -ín/-een

    But in some Irish dialects these are pronounced with end-stress (because of the long vowel).

  7. How is de Angulo originally a Norman name?
    The California linguist Jaime de Angulo was born to Spanish parents.

  8. marie-lucie says:

    Y : I was wondering about that too. It seems that Nangle was a variant of the name. Could it be that de Angulo is a Latin translation of a Norman French name (perhaps Delangle/de l’Angle?

  9. Makes sense to me.

  10. David Eddyshaw says:

    Another Irish name which looks as if it really, really ought to be Italian: Tincello.

    My relatives of that name have given up correcting everyone and now just go with the flow and say “Tinchello.” They’ve been known to accept the plural “Tincelli.”

  11. marie-lucie says:

    DE: How do the Irish in Ireland pronounce Tincello?

  12. Ben,
    “Other Latinate-seeming British Isles names: Pattillo and Omohundro.”

    It’s funny what sounds like what to people. Pattillo doesn’t sound at all Latinate to me. It sounds like a Finnish lumberjack in the Upper Peninsula. Omohundro sounds like an exchange student from Madagascar.

    As close to Latinate as they get is like those Sicilian surnames that look Italian but aren’t quite because they aren’t really Italian.

  13. David Eddyshaw says:

    @marie-lucie:

    Tinsello.

  14. Y: The original Jocelyn de Angulo wasn’t exactly a Norman, he was Anglo-Norman. “Jocelyn is believed to have derived his surname from his homeplace of Angle, Pembrokeshire.” So it looks like a Latinization.

    I don’t know about de Angulo, but it would not be unusual to find Irish names in Spain. On two major occasions large numbers of Irish aristocrats and their followers departed for Spain, the Flight of the Earls in 1607 and the Flight of the Wild Geese in 1691. The Spanish army had three Irish regiments up to Napoleonic times. Irish priests were commonly trained in Salamanca, since Catholic education was forbidden in Ireland, and there was an Irish colony there. One well-known example of the Spanish-Irish is Don Juan O’Donojú, who played a large role in Mexican independence.

    But since the de Angulo family in Ireland changed their surname to Mac Coisdealbhaigh, the Spanish name probably has a different origin.

  15. LH: “in some Irish dialects these are pronounced with end-stress (because of the long vowel)”

    Names like Kathleen / Caitlín always have a long vowel in the final syllable, but I don’t recall ever hearing it stressed, either in Irish or Irish English, not that that proves anything. It’s originally a diminutive suffix, so stress would be unexpected.

    David Eddyshaw: I have my doubts about Tincello as an Irish name. Given Costello and indeed Kinsella (KIN-sella), it’s not unthinkable, but your comment is the first time I’ve ever encountered it (again, not that that settles it). And I can’t find it in the Irish phonebook or the 1901 or 1911 census. Then there’s Pasquale Tincello who seems to have immigrated to the US from Italy. I wondered whether it might be a doublet with Tinsley (maybe from *Ó Tinsealdheabha or something like that), but that doesn’t seem to be the case if this site is at all reliable.

  16. “But in some Irish dialects these are pronounced with end-stress (because of the long vowel).”

    Indeed. See also Moran, Mahoney.

  17. mollymooly: I’ve submitted a comment, which is apparently ‘in moderation’ (too many links?), that says “Names like Kathleen / Caitlín always have a long vowel in the final syllable, but I don’t recall ever hearing it stressed, either in Irish or Irish English, not that that proves anything. It’s originally a diminutive suffix, so stress would be unexpected.” We’ve obviously had different experiences (or I just haven’t paid enough attention). Where in Ireland would you hear KathLEEN, etc.? Or MorAN or MaHOney?

  18. marie-lucie says:

    maidhc: fascinating Irish-Spanish history! Great name, “O’Donojú”!

    About de Angulo, could it be that one member of the family (or more) went and settled in Spain, while the rest of it in Ireland (or coming back home) changed its name to a more obviously Irish one?

  19. J.W. Brewer says:

    Wikipedia confirms my own intuition that for whatever reasons “Costello” has been used as an alias or “stage name” on several occasions by persons whose real surnames were Italian, e.g. the mobster Frank Costello (born Castiglia) and the comic actor Lou Costello (born Cristillo). Whether this is sheer coincidence, or whether the name’s Janus-like character as one which was both Italianish-sounding but also Irishness-evoking (at a time when the Irish were perhaps a bit more assimilated toward the American mainstream than the Italians?) was driving the choices is unclear to me.

    Declan MacManus p/k/a Elvis Costello supposedly picked the surname because his dad (a jazz musician also surnamed MacManus) had at one point used “Costello” for a stage name. But wikipedia offers no information on why his dad made that choice . . .

  20. Names like Kathleen / Caitlín always have a long vowel in the final syllable, but I don’t recall ever hearing it stressed

    To quote T. F. O’Rahilly’s Irish Dialects Past and Present: “Southern Irish throws forward the stress to the second syllable of a word whenever that syllable is long, e.g. cuileá·n, arú·r (< arbhar), ógá·nach, díomhaoi·n.” I learned Connemara Irish, so it sounds funny to me too, but there it is.

    O’Rahilly says, “The first impulse towards the accent-shifting which took place in Southern Irish came, I have little doubt, as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion, which affected Leinster and Munster more intensely than it did the other provinces,” for what that’s worth.

  21. Gearóid is a perfectly regular reflex, or looks like it, of *Gerontios, Welsh Geraint. Maybe it was borrowed long long ago and then (as often happens) arbitrarily equated with Gerald?

  22. Breffni, your comment is in moderation because you have a Latinate-sounding name. Hat is very strict about that sort of thing.

  23. A perusal of Spanish language sites (here and here) discussing the surname (de) Angulo yields two common theories. One connects the Spanish Angulo to an 8th century Scottish prince who came to Spain to help with the Reconquista. By another version, he was Anglo-Norman. The other theory suggests a natural placename, Ángulo, i.e. ‘angle’—perhaps a sharp bend in a river? The first theory is wanting, unless the Scottish/Norman/English prince or whatever is clearly identified. Whether it’s plausible or not that the valley of Angulo in Burgos was named after the family, I can’t say. The second theory is simpler, but doesn’t explain the stress shift to what I assume is Angúlo. The homonymy parallels that of the English Angle and angle.

  24. what I assume is Angúlo.

    Why would you assume that? I’ve been assuming the stress is on the first syllable; note “also known as ‘Nangle.’”

  25. It’s spelled without an accent. A check of YouTube yields a Florida politician, pronounced Mateo de Ángulo by an English-speaking newscaster, and a boxer, Alfredo Angúlo, as pronounced by a Spanish speaker, so… inconclusive.

    Meanwhile, the Spanish legend of the “Lodovico Angulo, the son of the Scottish king Angulo”, is ridiculous on its face, but may contain a grain of truth, as far as some foreigner bringing the name to Spain. I don’t know.

  26. It’s spelled without an accent.

    Doesn’t mean anything. Accents are often omitted on capital letters, and of course you wouldn’t expect them in medieval documents anyway.

    a boxer, Alfredo Angúlo, as pronounced by a Spanish speaker

    Interesting. Maybe a different name?

  27. …and another video, by a Colombian introducing himself as Santiago de Angúlo; and a soccer player from Valencia, whose name is spelled Miguel Ángel Angulo.

  28. per incuriam says:

    Names like Kathleen / Caitlín always have a long vowel in the final syllable, but I don’t recall ever hearing it stressed, either in Irish or Irish English, not that that proves anything. It’s originally a diminutive suffix, so stress would be unexpected

    Boreen, shebeen, smithereen, spalpeen…

    Dimunitive suffixes also receive the stress in Spanish, Italian etc. (e.g. spaghetti, tortilla).

    To quote T. F. O’Rahilly’s Irish Dialects Past and Present: “Southern Irish throws forward the stress to the second syllable of a word whenever that syllable is long, e.g. cuileá·n, arú·r (< arbhar), ógá·nach, díomhaoi·n.” I learned Connemara Irish, so it sounds funny to me too, but there it is

    That stress pattern is still the norm in Munster Irish today.

    Final stress in Eileen, Kathleen etc. is common in Ireland in my experience. Perhaps that’s been mainly in Munster though.

    Like Breffni I have doubts as to Tincello being an Irish name and I too am curious to know where in Ireland you would hear MaHOney (certainly not in the O’Mahony heartland of West Cork).

  29. MaHOney fits English default penultimate stress (with many lexical exceptions, especially in native words), of course, but that will not account for MorAN.

    Speaking of native words, last month I attempted to count how many remain in English, using the OED’s advanced search to get a list of words first used in Old English that are still current. As I reported on Lameen’s blog:

    That gave me about 7000 words. The OED’s notion of “current” involves a lot of rare, archaic, poetic, and dialectal words, plus forms that have gone out of use since OED1, so I intersected that with a list of about 120,000 current English words (in OED spelling) to bring it down to about 3800 words. I then hand-filtered that list to remove inflectional forms and obvious derivatives and compounds (but not opaque ones like outlandish and goshawk), plus OE and proto-Germanic borrowings from Latin and French and Norse, and got it down to 1800 words. That’s the whole inherited vocabulary of Modern English.

  30. John, that is indeed not that big of a number, but in comparison to all the words in a person’s vocabulary filtered by the same criteria, it’s not tiny. For example Williams’ Origins of the English Language, p. 67, counts 83% inherited vocabulary among the thousand commonest words; for less common ones the numbers converge on 25% English, 42% French and 18% Latin 9,000–10,000 frequency range. Next to 33% native vocabulary in Japanese (Wikipedia, by unclear criteria), or the 3000 or so basic words reconstructed for Proto-Basque (Trask’s dictionary, which includes obsolete and local forms), English does not seem too wild.

  31. Breifnín says:

    per incuriam: smithereen is the only one of those that would definitely take final stress in my speech. I think I could go either way with shebeen, but I doubt I’ve ever said it aloud. Not being a native speaker of Irish nor even a decent non-native speaker, I won’t go any further than suggesting that initial stress is at least acceptable in the Irish version of each of them (there’s An Spailpín Fánach, for one thing), and I would have thought more common. But my intuitions about Irish aren’t worth much. I didn’t mean, incidentally, that diminutive suffixes don’t get stressed in any language, only that they don’t in Irish. But if there are dialects where spailpín, boithrín etc. do take final stress, then that observation doesn’t stand up.

    I asked a native speaker of Munster Irish (from Kerry) about the pronunciation of the Caitlín class of names, and he insisted it’s always initial stress (he has a daughter with one of those names). As for English, I’ve lived several years in each of Munster, Connacht and Leinster (Dublin), and I’ve never noticed the final-stress variant of the Kathleen names. But if you have, then I accept it must be out there.

    Walt: “your comment is in moderation because you have a Latinate-sounding name. Hat is very strict about that sort of thing”. That must be it. I’ve adjusted my name to remove any ambiguity.

  32. per incuriam says:

    smithereen is the only one of those that would definitely take final stress in my speech. I think I could go either way with shebeen, but I doubt I’ve ever said it aloud

    The OED has all of them with final stress.

    I didn’t mean, incidentally, that diminutive suffixes don’t get stressed in any language, only that they don’t in Irish. But if there are dialects where spailpín, boithrín etc. do take final stress, then that observation doesn’t stand up

    The An Gúm Engish-Irish dictionary that gives phonetic spellings indicates final stress for these words (double primary stress in the case of síbín/shebeen).

    I asked a native speaker of Munster Irish (from Kerry) about the pronunciation of the Caitlín class of names, and he insisted it’s always initial stress (he has a daughter with one of those names)

    According to the An Teanga Bheo booklet on Kerry Irish (Corca Dhuibhne) the stress falls on the final syllable in all such words (e.g. cailín, gairdín). Fear of moderation precludes me from posting links to sound files.

  33. Oh, go ahead and post them; now that I’m awake, it won’t take more than a few minutes for me to approve the comment. Moderation isn’t a moral judgment!

  34. Authority and the evidence are against me then: forvo.com has final-stress (as well as initial-stress) pronunciations for Róisín and Eibhlín, and also one for Cáitlín (but not Caitlín without the a-fada). And I guess if that’s true of Irish, it’s likely to be true of the anglicisations too. Clearly I need to pay more attention. Mind you, I’m slow to take OED as an authority for the pronunciations of Irish English speakers.

    FWIW, the abair.ie synthesiser (which so far only has Gaoth Dobhair and Connemara dialects) has unstressed -ín in all cases that I’ve tried, proper and common nouns.

  35. per incuriam says:
  36. The Munster pronunciations are certainly very clear.

    I don’t see McCourt as a reliable model for the pronunciation of Kathleen: he lived most of his life in the US, and it’s audible in his accent. Note that he also uses the anglicised pronunciation of Caitlín.

  37. Backing up a bit, we watched the 1962 musican “The Music Man” the other night – great reputation, but not holding up too well – I hadn’t seen it since I was 10 or 11 – and re-noticed the local librarian’s family (Irish) being named “Peru” which I thought odd at the time, when I was little. This time, I read the credits and I see that it is written “Paroo”. That doesn’t sound Irish to me, either. It scarcely sounds like an actual name. Is there a rational explanation for that as well? (Of course, it is a work of fiction, so maybe it’s made up?)

  38. Paroo is a known Indian surname, and a place in Western Australia, but both seem irrelevant to The Music Man.

  39. “Where in Ireland would you hear KathLEEN, etc.? Or MorAN or MaHOney?”
    My naive Munster anglophone impression of ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Eileen’ is that they are stress-shifting à la ‘fourteen’, ‘princess’, etc. I too have never heard MorAN or MaHOney in English in Ireland, but I have heard both in English elsewhere, and I have heard analogous stress in Irish in Ireland for ‘(Ó) Móráin’ and ‘(Ó) Mathúna’. (Of course ‘Móráin’ has two long vowels, which muddies the waters somewhat.)

    Assuming the default pronunciation of the anglicised form is indeed different within and without Ireland, why should that be so? My initial flippant hypothesis was that analogy from French, Italian, etc. influenced foreign preference. Other possibilities: maybe the relative prevalence or prestige of Munster v Connacht Irish differs between the home and diaspora communities; or maybe it’s just chance.

  40. Stress-shifting – I was starting to think that too. There must be evidence out there bearing on it (i.e., -ín names/nouns in different prosodic contexts), but I can’t think how to get at it. Anyway, the Munster pronunciations in Per incuriam’s link are pretty unambiguous.

    As for why stress-final wins out elsewhere – well, first of all, where else? The US certainly; also Canada? How about Australia? I don’t think it happens in the UK: see the pronunciation of ‘Maureen Lipman’ 17 seconds into this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFUG8khlWBU. If it’s just a US thing, then I think it fits with a general US pattern of giving final stress to bisyllabic foreign(-seeming) words. That’s an overgeneralisation, but I can’t come up with the nuances just now. Maybe it’s only closed and/or heavy final syllables? I think it’s been discussed here before. Also, spelling could be a factor: I can intuitively see how ‘-een’ might look the most salient syllable in such names, in roughly the way the first syllable somehow attracts attention in Vladimir.

  41. As chance would have it, in an ancient thread that’s just sprung back to life (Habanero), Hat wrote (re stress in ‘Hezbollah’), “I’m not sure why the former [final-stress / Persian] pattern is so widespread except it has that ‘foreign-sounding’ air so satisfying to English speakers.” Again, I wonder if spelling has something to do with it. I bet that, shown the word ‘Hezbolla’, most anglophones unfamiliar with the word would give it penultimate stress, while ‘Hezbollah’ would more often elicit final stress. That would make a nice little pseudoword experiment.

  42. For whatever eason, princess does not undergo iambic reversal (as this stress-shift is called) in AmE; it’s always PRINcess. Fourteen certainly does, though: to “How many plates are on the table?” the answer may be “FOURteen plates” or “Just fourTEEN”. I would certainly expect MAUReen LIPman even from people who consistently say MaurEEN in isolation. More at Lynneguist’s blog. Note that various Americans there disagree on whether Berlin Wall stress-shifts from berLIN (normal for the German city) to BERlin or not. (For me it does not.)

  43. I would certainly expect MAUReen LIPman even from people who consistently say MaurEEN in isolation.

    You would certainly be wrong in my case; it sounds weird to me. MaurEEN, for me, is immutable.

  44. per incuriam says:

    My naive Munster anglophone impression of ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Eileen’ is that they are stress-shifting à la ‘fourteen’

    Yes. I think the way Frank McCourt says “Kathleen” is a decent illustration of this. It also reflects the way words with this ending are stressed in Munster Irish (compare for example cailín and cailín aimsire).

    As for why stress-final wins out elsewhere – well, first of all, where else? The US certainly

    Is it so clear-cut? Kathleen Turner for example seems to be KATH-leen (even in isolation).

  45. Again, for me it’s always Kath-LEEN. But I am not representative.

  46. Right enough, on the first YouTube interview I found she’s introduced as KATHleen Turner. I would have thought Maureen Dowd would be a candidate for stress shift in the context of her full name, but she seems to be mostly MaurEEN. Even there there’s an exception: in this interview with Donald Rumsfeld – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZMXwconALU – the interviewer says MAUReen (Rumsfeld doesn’t).

  47. whether Berlin Wall stress-shifts from berLIN (normal for the German city) to BERlin or not. (For me it does not.)

    For me it does, except in the case of Facebook’s Irving Berlin wall. Interesting, thanks. I now see I’ve been living a lie.

  48. Alon Lischinsky says:

    @languagehat:

    I’ve been assuming the stress is on the first syllable

    Not in the typical version of the Spanish surname. I wouldn’t know about the Anglo-Norman, but none of the Spanish Angulos I know of are pronounced /’aŋ.gu.lo/; all have stress in the penultimate syllable, which pretty much rules out an etymology in La. angulus.

    It’s true, as you write, that sometimes accents are omitted in capital letters, but the first site Y linked in writes “Álava” with an accented capital A. The lack of an accent in “Angulo” does indicate a paroxytone pronunciation.

  49. Well, the Spanish name is apparently different and unrelated, then.

  50. zythophile says:

    One to add to the surnames that are Irish but sound Italian (to be exact, it can be an Irish-origin surname OR an Italian-origin surname) – my mother’s maiden name, Donno, comes from an ancestor the spelling of whose surname changed from Dunnough (or Donohough) when he arrived in London from Ireland around 1790. Where the Italian Donnos come from, I dunno.

  51. dainichi says:

    Is there really a full consensus about what “stress” means in English? I mean, primary stress, secondary stress, reduced and unreduced vowels, it’s a bit of a mess if you ask me.

    Hat, when you say Kath-LEEN, do you consider first syllable to have secondary stress? Do you reduce the vowel to a schwa (or some other reduced vowel)?

    per incuriam, when you say KATH-leen, do you consider the second syllable to have secondary stress? Do you reduce the vowel to a schwa (or some other reduced vowel)?

  52. marie-lucie says:

    dainichi : A stressed vowel in English – primary or secondary – does not reduce.

    In the 1950’s some linguists recognized four levels of stress in English (including “unstressed”), but that number has been reduced to three. One could do with two (either stressed or unstressed), but when there is more than one stress in a word a difference needs to be made between primary (strongest) and secondary stress. This happens when a word is longer than three syllables, and also in some cases where a word of two syllables stresses them both.

    Compare fourteen and forty: fourteen has two stresses, forty only one. Which one of four and teen have primary stress may depends on the rest of the phrase, as in JC’s example above.

    Seventeen has two stresses (on the vowels of sev and teen, while seventy has only one (the en in the middle does not have a vowel in normal speech: it represents a “syllabic n“). Hippopotamus has primary stress on pot and secondary stress on hip, and the other vowels are unstressed and reduced. Tradition and traditionally both have primary stress on the “diti” (pronounced like “dish”).

    Apart from -teen words, which are clearly composed of numeral + teen, other …een words (many of which are borrowings) tend to be stressed on the last syllable, as in the names Maureen and Colleen. Kathleen seems to vary according to speakers, but that is probably because of the influence of Katherine, which is always stressed on the first syllable.

    There are even more subtleties (or complications) in the treatment of English stress. Google “stressed vowel” for more explanations and examples.

  53. Kathleen seems to vary according to speakers, but that is probably because of the influence of Katherine, which is always stressed on the first syllable.

    But as Molly Mooly and others mentioned, in Ireland & Britain Maureen, Irene, Eileen, Doreen etc. have all been stressed on the first syllable.

  54. Hat, when you say Kath-LEEN, do you consider first syllable to have secondary stress?

    Yes.

    Do you reduce the vowel to a schwa (or some other reduced vowel)?

    No.

    One does not need a detailed theory about what “stress” means in English to know which syllable of a word one is stressing.

  55. J. W. Brewer says:

    As deployed in the lyrics of “Come On Eileen,” the name “Eileen” primarily has second-syllable stress, but occasionally first-syllable stress. Maybe this is “poetic license” with the immediate rhythmic needs of the song overcoming ordinary pronunciation, but how confident are we that the singer (wikipedia says born/raised in Wolverhampton to/by Irish parents from Co. Mayo) would uniformly use first-syllable stress in ordinary conversation?

  56. marie-lucie says:

    LH: One does not need a detailed theory about what “stress” means in English to know which syllable of a word one is stressing.

    True if one is a native English speaker, unless one is teaching ESL

    I was not writing for the benefit of anglophones, who would not even think of asking dainichi’s questions. English stress, its placement and its influence on vowel quality are a major difficulty for non-native speakers, especially those in whose languages stress is either fully predictable or does not play a major part in word formation and identification: French and Japanese are well-known cases.

    Linguists usually classify stress and tone together in a separate category of “suprasegmentals”, as opposed to the consonants and vowels which constitute the indispensable “segments” of speech. I am sure that Chinese speakers know how to use tone, but even identifying tones can be very hard for speakers of structurally toneless languages (those in which tone does not affect word identification). Stress is also difficult for speakers of structurally stressless languages.

    JAP: But as Molly Mooly and others mentioned, in Ireland & Britain Maureen, Irene, Eileen, Doreen etc. have all been stressed on the first syllable.

    I was quoting words according to what I am used to hearing in English Canada (where stress is generally as in the US), but as I mentioned, two-syllable, two-stress words are not necessarily stressed the same way in every English-speaking region, or even in every sentence, even by the same speaker). Historically, there has been a tendency to shift stress to the first syllable in a large number of English words (eg REsearch competing with earlier reSEARCH), and this shift is still going on. Whether KATHleen (perhaps helped by KATHerine) results from this shift, while KathLEEN is following an older pattern, I am not in a position to say.

  57. I don’t see any need for a secondary-stress phoneme in English. What are called secondarily stressed syllables are simply unstressed syllables without vowel reduction. Here are a few examples: I will use an acute accent for stressed syllables, a grave accent for unstressed syllables without vowel reduction, and no accent for vowel-reduced unstressed syllables. So we have fòurtéen, which becomes fóurtèen with iambic reversal and contrasts with fórty; sèventéen, or under iambic reversal séventèen; príncess with no possibility of reversal in AmE but prìncéss ~ príncèss in BrE; Berlín for some Americans but Bèrlín ~ Bérlìn for others; Máhony, Móran (or Móràn?) in Ireland, Mahóny, Morán in the U.S. (Whether you write -y or -ỳ in Mahony is a question of theoretical interpretation: it depends on whether you prefer to think that happY-tensing has changed the reduced pronunciation of final reduced /i/ from /ɪ/ to /i/, the same as the unreduced pronunciation, or that it has changed final syllables consisting of /i/ from reduced to unreduced.)

    On the other hand, if you are doing prosody you do need four abstract kinds of syllables: plain stresses, stresses that can be demoted to slacks, slacks that can be promoted to stresses, and plain slacks. Which of these is what depends on the meter, if any: iambic pentameters traditionally allow a lot of promotion, typically one per line, whereas four-stress native verse neither has nor requires promotion, but demotion is quite common.

  58. I was not writing for the benefit of anglophones

    Right, but I wasn’t responding to you but to dainichi; it may be that I misunderstood their comment, but I was answering according to my understanding of it.

  59. John,

    I don’t see any need for a secondary-stress phoneme in English. What are called secondarily stressed syllables are simply unstressed syllables without vowel reduction.

    But is it any more natural to posit two flavours of unstressed vowel, reduced and unreduced, than it is to posit three grades of stress? Wouldn’t words would have to carry the same amount of information in the lexicon anyway? For example, under your analysis, it’s true that each of the syllables of sèventéen would have to carry only a binary label for stress (‘1. unstressed 2. unstressed 3. stressed’), which is simpler than marie-lucie’s three-value variable (‘1. secondary stress 2. unstressed 3. primary stress’); but your analysis requires another tier of (binary) information for the vowels: ‘1. unreduced 2. reduced [3. N/A]’. Whereas in marie-lucie’s analysis the vowel reduction follows from the degree of stress on the syllable, and doesn’t need to be separately specified. Or are there independent reasons for preferring to dispense with the secondary-stress notion?

    Re: Móran vs. Móràn in Ireland – definitely the former: reduced vowel on the second syllable. Unless I’ve missed something again.

    Incidentally, it’s been well established by now anyway, but a native-speaker colleague in our Irish department agrees with LH and per incuriam that second-syllable stress is the norm in ‘-ín’ names as pronounced in Munster Irish. I don’t know where that leaves my Kerry informant.

  60. Whether KATHleen (perhaps helped by KATHerine) results from this shift, while KathLEEN is following an older pattern, I am not in a position to say.

    No, I don’t think so. RE-search is a pronunciation that came to Britain in the 60s from the US, followed (less successfully) by DE-fence in the 70s, whereas KATH-leen is an older Anglo-Irish pronunciation that has nothing to do with the US. And as I said, Katherine is moot: Kathleen’s pronunciation in (parts of) Ireland & Britain is similar to all the other -een names in having the emphasis at the start of the word.

  61. But is it any more natural to posit two flavours of unstressed vowel, reduced and unreduced, than it is to posit three grades of stress?

    It depends on how surface-y your analysis is. If you think that speakers maintain each word in the lexicon separately, then “reduced vowel” is a purely historical notion: the anglophone mind remembers that the phonological shape of organize is [ˈɔrgənaɪz] and of organization is [ɔrgənɪˈzeɪʃən] (details vary according to accent), and that’s that. No need for any talk of reduced or unreduced vowels. But if you think that the root has the same phonological shape in each case, be it [organaɪz] or [organize] (SPE) or whatever, and that it is transformed on the way out according to the suffixes added, then you have to posit an internal representation of which vowels will become reduced when they are unstressed and which will not. You can call that “secondary stress” if you want to, it’s purely abstract.

    Your use of “posit” suggests that you think in the latter terms.

  62. “Your use of “posit” suggests that you think in the latter terms.”

    Just a habit from way back; I didn’t intend it as a Chomskian dog-whistle (but perhaps that’s not what you meant?). On the representations question, I think I think that we develop deeper representations through experience. I don’t think kids can intuit an underlying unreduced vowel from a schwa (like /E/ from the final schwa of experience, but in many cases I imagine we find out the (historically, not mentally) ‘underlying’ vowel through exposure to spelling or related words, like experiential. I imagine that the surface-like representation with schwa and the later-acquired, more abstract or ‘underlying’ one with /E/ coexist. I don’t think the later understanding has to elbow out the earlier one, and in fact I assume they’re different kinds of mental entity.

  63. marie-lucie says:

    “My” analysis is hardly original, and I am not a specialist in English phonology. I agree that JC’s proposal of two kinds of unstressed vowel, although “observationally adequate” (as Chomsky would say), calls for a statement of under what conditions such a vowel reduces or not. Positing two degrees of stress (primary and secondary) is descriptively easier, whether or not it is considered theoretically sounder (and that would depend on the theory).

    A lot has been written about English stress. I am pretty sure there is also a more general volume called “Stress” in one of the Cambridge U series on linguistics, dealing with stress in a variety of languages.

  64. marie-lucie, by “your” analysis I just meant the analysis that you set out in your comment, with typical clarity.

  65. David Marjanović says:

    but that will not account for MorAN.

    In the US, the desire to keep it distinct from moron is probably enough to explain that.

    (Not that it always works. Remember?
    “Get A BRAIN!
    MORANS”)

  66. Moran with initial stress would not collapse with moron, for the latter has unreduced vowels.

  67. Jim Costello says:

    Is it possible that the de Angulos fled northern Spain to northern Fran (Normandy?) during the Islamic conquest. From there went to Englnd, settling in Pembrokshire Wales, and then participated in the invasion in Ireland?

  68. Mark Costello says:

    I agree that the shift from Angle (England) or Angulo (some source it in Tyrol, then Spain) to Coisdealbh is hard to believe. I wonder if ‘angle’ or angel was translated to statue (dealbh)? Might coisdealbh then be ‘beside statute’?

    [Online sources have few or lack citations of original sources and seem to have a lot of unattributed copying so it would be easy for a suggestion from one source to become stated as a fact later.]

  69. January First-of-May says:

    It’s funny what sounds like what to people. Pattillo doesn’t sound at all Latinate to me. It sounds like a Finnish lumberjack in the Upper Peninsula. Omohundro sounds like an exchange student from Madagascar.

    I agree fully with the latter, and I think I’m somewhat ambivalent on the former (it could really be either).

    About a decade back I collected a list of fictional names in -lla, which I thought were apparently generally regarded as euphonious and feminine-sounding.
    I abandoned that list when I realized that it should include Valhalla, Caracalla and Sulla (which are somewhat euphonious but don’t sound very feminine), as well as Sybilla (which is feminine but not very euphonious).

  70. One of the perennial sins of space opera is giving female aliens names that end in -a.

  71. @Mark Costello, in the second paragraph it’s mentioned that Goisdealbh is supposed to be for Jocelyn. At least the first syllable isn’t too far off and there is an L too, maybe it was a pre-existing name that got co-opted as the nearest equivalent.

  72. @Lars: Yes, like Gearóid (Gerontius) for Gerald and Ruairí (Ruddy-king) for Roger.

  73. Mark Costello says:

    Thanks Lars and Roger C: I see what you mean but it seems more hypothetical than supported by evidence (e.g. a person’s name changing on documents over time). I could see names being abbreviated or simplified more likely.

  74. This is in fact documented.

    According to this, Mac Oisdealbh(aigh) is found in an annal from 1193. The main text (citing a footnote in John O’Donovans 1856 edition of the 1630’s compilation Annála na gCeithre Máistrí ) claims a different derivation and a form without initial C/G, but the raw citations a little lower down almost all have Mac Goisdealbh and similar.

    Siginificantly, a historical person is called Gillibert Mac Goisdealbh in one source and Gilbert de Nangle in another.

    The part about Goisdealbh standing in for Jocelyn is not in the Annals, though, I don’t know where the surname history site got that information.

  75. Mark Costello says:

    Thanks Lars. That is more convincing and appreciated.

    So the Costello’s are either descended from a 12th century William, brother of Gilbert de Nangle who ‘plundered the island of Inish Cothrann” (I assume this was in Ireland but cannot find trace of it online) with English followers, and changed his name to Mac(C/G)oisdealbh for some reason. And whose father was Anglo-Norman Jocelyn De Angulo who founded the town Navan, County Meath, in Ireland; following the Norman invasion via England. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jocelyn_de_Angulo) Seems Gilbert was killed and left no heirs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_de_Angulo
    OR
    Interesting some new info has popped up on wikipedia which contradicts that Costello came from Jocelyn. Rather it says Costello came from a brother of Gilbert called Hostilo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costello_(surname) and that Gilbert was Joceyln’s father!
    Certainly, Costello is more like Hostilo, which gets us back to the first post on this page.

  76. Mark Costello says:

    this seems more convincing still:
    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Norman_invasion_of_Ireland
    “A baron of Hugh de Lacy, the MacCostellos (Mac Oisdealbhaigh) were one of the first Norman families in Connacht, settling in Mayo in what became the Barony of Costello, which originally included part of neighboring County Roscommon (their sixteenth-century seat was near Ballaghadereen, now in Roscommon). They were the first of the Norman invaders to adopt a Gaelic name, which marks their descent from Oisdealbh, son of the famous Gilbert de Nangle (Latin: de Angulo), who was one of the first Cambro-Norman invaders. His family, the de Angulos, obtained vast estates in Meath, where they were Barons of Navan. The family thence spread into Leinster and Connacht, where the leading family adopted the Gaelic patronymic Mac Oisdealbhaigh, as we have seen. Those in Leinster, and those in Connacht that did not adopt this form, became Nangles (de Nogla); while those in Cork became Nagles. The Waldrons (Mac Bhaildrin) are a branch of the MacCostellos in Mayo.”

  77. If you ask me, I’ll take the New World Encyclopedia over the Irish Times. The new info on Wikipedia is festooned with ‘citation needed’ because somebody just pasted in the link to the NWE in the middle of the text instead of referencing it properly.

    It is still strange that Hostilo’s father Gilbert is called ‘Son of Hostilo’ — and it must be the Gilbert de Nangle who came over from England in 1192 who is called Gillibert Mac Goisdealbh if his sons plundered Inish Clothrann in 1193, not for instance a grandson. Of course this can be a later redaction of the annals in question, the source is from the 17th century.

    (I was a little worried that the dating of this event from 1193 originated with my jumping to assumptions in the post above, but the Wikipedia article on Inchcleraun has the same information (added June 2016)).

  78. dainichi says:

    @hat:

    >One does not need a detailed theory about what “stress” means in English to know which syllable of a word one is stressing.

    Which syllable, sure. Which syllables, I’m not sure it’s so clear-cut. For “KathLEEN”, I was trying to determine whether “Kath” has secondary stress, or is unreduced-but-unstressed, and whether that distinction even makes sense. Breffni used the word “stressed” in:

    >Names like Kathleen / Caitlín always have a long vowel in the final syllable, but I don’t recall ever hearing it stressed

    and I realize that probably meant “bear primary stress”, but I was just trying to clarify, since for me, it would need to bear secondary stress, if not primary.

    @marie-lucie:

    > In the 1950’s some linguists recognized four levels of stress in English (including “unstressed”), but that number has been reduced to three.

    Thanks for the explanation. That coincides with my understanding. My train of thought was that “leen” in “KATHleen” has to have (secondary) stress, since it’s not reduced, but I do realize that there are unstressed full vowels in English. I’d like to see a secondary stress/unstressed full vowel minimal pair if that exists, though.

  79. This Wikipedia paragraph:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_and_vowel_reduction_in_English#Descriptions_with_primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_stress

    explains what I called “a mess” in my first comment. It also states:

    >[…] some of them treat all syllables with unreduced vowels as having at least secondary stress.

    I think this is the analysis which I’ve internalized, and by which “leen” in Kathleen would necessarily be stressed, given that it’s unreduced.

  80. I understand your point, but in ordinary usage “stressed syllable” means “carrying the main stress,” not “carrying some degree of secondary stress that keeps the vowel from being reduced.”

  81. I think I do distinguish secondary stress and unstress in full vowels, albeit subtly. Ketchup [ˈˈkʰɛtʃʌp] feels slightly different from catch-up [ˈˈkʰætʃˌʌp] and pickup [ˈˈpʰɪkˌʌp] (but nor does it use the [ǝ] of wallop) – or for some contrived true minimal pairs, Brando vs. bran dough and impact vs. imp act.

  82. (Huh, looks like I accidentally doubled those primary stress marks while using the X-SAMPA-to-IPA converter – don’t mind them.)

  83. I think it is all one whether you say “secondarily stressed” or “unstressed but unreduced” in English. I prefer the latter formulation, although it does mean that certain alternations have to be explained by a higher level rather than being pure phonology, because you have to tag each unstressed vowel as reduced or not. Phonologists, of course, don’t like to concede that phonology can’t or shouldn’t do it all.

    In Irish, there is both stress and length to consider. Stressed vowels have a length distinction, whereas unstressed short vowels are reduced to schwa and unstressed long vowels are not reduced (but may be shortened, depending on dialect).

  84. @Lazar, thanks for the great examples. I wonder if that means you have a 4-way distinction.

    I’m not a native speaker, but it is my impression that in General American (which is the version of English I understand the best), ketchup has ǝ, and impact and imp act both have secondary stress on the second syllable. As for Brando and bran dough, I think at least some speakers do distinguish, but you could still fit it into the 3-way system by treating unstressed GOAT as reduced morpheme-finally (similar to HAPPY).

    @John Cowan:
    ‘I think it is all one whether you say “secondarily stressed” or “unstressed but unreduced” in English.’

    I guess the question would be what other cues usually associated with primary stress these secondarily stressed syllables bear, such as intensity, pitch, length, beats in the stress-time rhythm etc. I’d be particularly interested in knowing how primary and secondary stress interplay in the stress-time rhythm.

  85. impact and imp act both have secondary stress on the second syllable

    That’s true, but a much more fundamental distinction is the aspirated /p/ in impact, whereas imp act is unaspirated or even unreleased if pronounced slowly enough.

  86. Hey, I also own a copy of Rybakin’s Словарь — the same 1986 edition (22 700 entries). I found it in a second-hand bookshop in Poznań years ago. It’s a small world!

    The preface explains that the Dictionary includes assimilated Celtic names (alongside Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman ones) but not those imported recently from overseas, such as Eisenhower or Rockefeller.

  87. Valhalla, Caracalla and Sulla (which are somewhat euphonious but don’t sound very feminine)

    Oh, I don’t know. From the induction of Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R.:

    Helena: […] Why . . . why did you give her [a robot] the name ‘Sulla’?

    Domin: Don’t you like that name?

    Helena: It’s a man’s name. Sulla was a Roman general.

    Domin: Was he? We thought Marius [the name of another robot] and Sulla were lovers.

    Helena: No, Marius and Sulla were generals who fought against each other in . . . oh I forget when.

    The robots of the play are humanoid artificial life forms, androids in modern English.

  88. SFReader says:

    This is a classical Chukchi joke.

    A Chukchi returns home after studying Marxism-Leninism in the Moscow Higher Party School and explains his people that “Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels aren’t a husband and a wife as we thought erroneously. Actually, it’s four different people…”

  89. January First-of-May says:

    Oh, I don’t know. From the induction of Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R…

    This scene was basically why Sulla even showed up on my list in the first place, actually.

    In retrospect, that name was probably extraneous to the argument. The original statement was along the lines of “on one hand, Lintilla, Luvilla*, Soella**… on the other hand, Valhalla, Caracalla, Sybilla”. I didn’t add Sulla until later.

    Actually, it’s four different people…

    …and Slava KPSS is not a person at all.

    There’s a scene in Tuf Voyaging (which I’m paraphrasing from memory) where Tuf and Mune are compared to “the famous romantic pairs of antiquity – Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet, Sodom and Gomorrah, Marx and Engels”.
    When recaling (or recounting) that scene, I kept introducing other pairs into it (both plausible and not) – one of the first to be added was Marius and Sulla.

    *) actually Llewella, as I just found out
    **) actually the name of an alien planet – I misremembered the fanfic it came from

  90. I’m glad this thread came back to life; the Chukchi jokes have improved my day!

  91. marie-lucie says:

    “the famous romantic pairs of antiquity – Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet, Sodom and Gomorrah, Marx and Engels”

    Great! I would add Abbott and Costello.

  92. Trond Engen says:

    “the famous romantic pairs of antiquity – Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet, Sodom and Gomorrah, Marx and Engels”

    Something from years ago:

    I believe in Engels

    Ein kleiner Traum, ein kleines Lied,
    das macht einen grossen Unterschied.
    Marx schenkt uns ein Wunder mit dem “Kapital”,
    und für die Arbeiter gibt es keine Wahl.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    ein Zeichen ist in jedem Ding ich seh.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    und ich meine Zeit dafür versteh.
    Ein kleiner Traum gibt Hoffnung Raum.

    Ein alter Traum, eine neue Zeit,
    viel besser als die Wirklichkeit.
    Das Ziel ist in der Ferne, ich hab sein Wort derweil.
    ich gehe wie im Dunkeln, jetzt denk ich mir mein Teil.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    ein Zeichen ist in jedem Ding ich seh.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    und ich meine Zeit dafür versteh.
    Ein kleiner Traum gibt Hoffnung Raum.
    Ein kleiner Traum gibt Hoffnung Raum.

    Ein kleiner Traum, ein kleines Lied,
    das macht einen grossen Unterschied.
    Marx schenkt uns ein Wunder mit dem “Kapital”,
    und für die Arbeiter gibt es keine Wahl.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    ein Zeichen ist in jedem Ding ich seh.
    Ich vertrau in Engels,
    und ich meine Zeit dafür versteh.
    Ein kleiner Traum gibt Hoffnung Raum.
    Ein kleiner Traum gibt Hoffnung Raum.

    (2009-12-13 Andersson, Ulväus, Engen)

  93. David Marjanović says:

    That’s the first time I see vertrauen in; I only knew vertrauen auf.

    Nice ambiguity: “the workers have no choice = election”.

  94. Trond Engen says:

    Thanks. I all but had to teach myself German for that, so there’s no doubt several mistakes, even after a couple of rounds of domestic & internet copyediting. But I have to think about vertrauen auf — it would change the line that set it all off.

  95. The only time I ever heard of Chukchi jokes was during the Chernenko years. The joke was something about how you weren’t supposed to make Chukchi jokes around him, because he looked Chukchi.

    (What’s a good abbreviation for “General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR”?)

  96. “General Secretary (of the CPSU)” is probably as short as you can get. Of course there are useful short words like “dictator” and “tsar”.

  97. SFReader says:

    gensec

  98. Возвращаются два чукчи с охоты, волокут за хвост моржа, тот упирается клыками в снег, тащить мешает.
    Попался им навстречу геолог:
    – Вы лучше за клыки тащите – легче будет!
    Так чукчи и сделали. Идут дальше, впечатлениями делятся:
    – Слышь, – говорит один, – гораздо легче стало. Однако умный тот геолог.
    – Нет, – говорит другой, – однако дурак геолог. Смотри, опять к морю пришли!

  99. “Vozhd” was a quasi-official designation for a while.

  100. SFReader is correct: генсек [gensek] was the standard Soviet short form. Brett’s вождь [vozhd’] ‘leader, boss’ (one is tempted to render it Führer) was applied only to Stalin.

  101. juha’s joke:

    Two Chukchis were dragging a walrus by the tail back from the hunt, but its tusks were catching in the snow and impeding progress. A geologist they met said “You should drag it by its tusks; it’ll be easier.” After a while one Chukchi said “Hey, it’s a lot easier; that geologist was a smart guy.” The other Chukchi said “No, that geologist was a dummy. Look, here we are back at the sea!”

  102. January First-of-May says:

    The second instance of “tail” in the translation should be “tusks”.

  103. D’oh! How did I do that? Thanks very much.

  104. Costello was originally named Hostillio, he was brother to Jocelyn and son of Gilbert de Angulo, who were Barons in Meath and Dublin during the Norman conquests of late 12th Century. The name de Angulo is a contraction of St Germain de Angulo( in latinised norman french) from the town of the same name at a 90 degree (angle) bend in the river Eure north of Evreaux in Upper Normandy. The de Angulos accompanied the de Lassy(de Lacy) chevaliers along with the Bishop of Bayeux (of the tapestyr fame) in the Norman invasion of England via the Battle of Hastings. The de Lacy became Marcher barons( i.e. they built and maintained the forts along the Welsh border) and then invaded Wales subsequently the de Angulo family of knights were granted their first titled estate west of pembrokeshire guarding the southern approach to Milford Haven, the town Angle is named in that memory. Many de Angulo went off with Gilbert de Lacy to become Templar Knights and took up residencies in the County of Tripoli. The last to hold the title of baron and a seat in the House of Lords had by then assumed the anglicised name of Nangle.
    It was of Costello de Angulo that the Welsh Chronicler of the 12th n early 13th century Gerald Cambriensis referred to those Normans who lived “Beyond the Pale” as being:
    Hiberniores Hibernis ipsis (“more Irish than the Irish”)
    note the de Angulo/Nangle coat of arms is very similar to that of the Costello

  105. @jude, thanks. That was also the conclusion we reached last year based on the entry in the New World Encyclopedia, and basically what Wikipedia says right now, but in 2014 things were more confusing.

    However, WP now says that Gilbert d’Angulo came to Ireland in 1172 which opens the possibility that the Gillibert Mac Goisdealbh who is attested in 1194 is in fact the son of Hostilio and thus a grandson of the former, in which case his surname makes more sense.

  106. within the de Angulo clan the names Gilbert , Hugo, Milo, and Richard become very repetitious, so it is difficult to know whether the sire, grandsire, or son, grandson is being referred to in many texts.
    those of the clan who went across with William (the bastard) in the conquests have had many devolutions , and in the case of costello- evolutions, of the original name,
    the stay at homes in Comte de Evreaux’s Upper Normandy progressed into the southern Frank states and thence into Iberia and onto the New World. There are many de Angulo in Cuba, Mexico and California.
    as Abbot & Costello, like Marx & Engels started a comedy team it is apt to note that Marx (Groucho to his friends) was right after all when he proposed that Opium hath become the Religion of the Masses.
    in 1215 both the original norman barons who accompanied Strongbow into Ireland , Gilbert and Jocelyn(his son) were at Runnymede, it is no great leap of possibility that the same Hostilio, (son of Gilbert and brother to Jocelyn) is the same attested to in the 1194 reference.
    The Chronicler Gerald of Wales, who is the primary source for much of this period of time, spent an early part of his clerical career in Angle Pembrokeshire and would have known the de Angulo family on a daily basis being deacon of the local parish church.

  107. does anybody know the present whereabouts of Guimar (Gui) de Angulo, daughter of jaime ?

  108. Jaime’s papers are at UC Santa Cruz. Maybe someone there (at Special Collections) has contact information for his daughter?

  109. Our family’s name is Kiernan from county cork, Ireland, a Costello married into the family a couple hundred years past, do you know if they were Jewish or just Irish?

  110. No way of knowing.

  111. Sean Costello Jnr says:

    King Henry 2 gave Moenmagh in Galway near Loghrea to Gilbert MacOisdealbh 1197, confirmed by King John in 1205′ first Norman settlers in Connacht. My dads family live there still, near Leitrim more beside Kylebrack. trying to find out if we are Costelloes or mercenarys for them, as they were for the OConnors!! And the Burkes! We did build many of the Castles up and down the Shannon river system, including CaelUsice near Beleek, Athanchip, Castlemore, Urlaur Abbey, St Mary’s in Ballahadereen , St Mary’s in Navan, St Mary’s in Angle Pembrokeshire, and the masonry was staebofbthe art and some of the first of its kind in Ireland, Gothic precursor in transition from Romanesque!! Boyle abbey shows both styles laid up beside each other. No one had built that high prior!!

  112. SFReader says:

    Castlemore

    Another placename like Newtonmore.

    It seems clear now that *more in placenames is English, not Gaelic.

    Castlemore = Castle on the moor.

  113. Nope, it’s An Caisleán Mór in Irish.

  114. SFReader says:

    OK. it’s more complex than I thought.

    Maybe the rule should be – *more is English if the preceding part doesn’t make sense in Gaelic.

  115. John Cowan says:

    Then again, the folks who give Irish names to Englishly named places are no more immune to folk etymologies than the rest of us.

  116. An Gort an Mor
    the great hunger, as the famine is called in Irish
    More means great, Baltimore, Kylemore, all words that end in More are Irish!
    If Jude is lurking here I would love the info on Tripoli and DeAngulos with De Lassi!
    It was Hugh de Lacy Jnrs daughter Eleanor that Miles deAngulo married , that started the MacOisdealbh clan, 1250 approx!! The name was used prior, but genealogically it is Miles that was considered the patriarch , and Castlemore Was his home area in the still named Barony of Costello til this day.

  117. AJP Crown says:

    “We”, arf.

    the masonry was state of the art …No one had built that high prior!!
    Seriously? Do you mean “in Ireland”? Because if you had built something as big & state of the art in the masonry dept. as Hagia Sophia (completed a.d. 537), I’m pretty sure I’d have heard. 🙂

  118. PlasticPaddy says:

    @sfr
    I cannot find a single good online resource for principles of irish place naming. This link gives some of the elements of Irish place names:
    https://www.logainm.ie/en/gls/
    If you enter the English name it will also give you the official Irish version.
    This link is good for generating wildcard lists like *more
    https://www.johngrenham.com/places/
    Here are some example *more places
    Allaghee More = rocky place + big
    Aghanashanamore = field of the (fox?) + big
    Ballynaskeha More = town of the (hawthorn) bushes + big
    Cahirguillamore = city of the slave + big
    Cloonyconry More = O’connor’s meadow + big
    Fahanlunaghta More = (changeable gusty winds?) + big
    Whilst I suppose it is possible that the last one is some English-Irish chimera with “moor” as the last element, the other examples show the typical pattern noun+adjective, noun1+noun2 (genitive) (+ adjective) which is quite common in a large number of other examples, where the more element is big. There are a few mooretown placenames (almost exclusively in Co. Dublin) which have the Irish name Baile na Mona. As Jen said, the name in Irish has probably been reinvented there. I do not know if Scottish Gaelic place names follow a similar pattern.

  119. per incuriam says:

    Castlemore = Castle on the moor

    Ireland has neither moors nor snakes.

  120. John Cowan says:

    I take “we” to mean Sean’s family: are they actually descended from The Family, or are they retainers who took The Family’s name, as so many did at the end of what Joyce called “the presurnames period”.

    Do you mean “in Ireland”?

    Surely. The bogs, y’know, tend to undermine the foundations. (I recall Ravenna as being called “the city of fogs, bogs, and frogs”, but I don’t suppose that works in Italian.)

  121. The frogs are on the other side of the Alps, arf.

  122. AJP Crown says:

    or are they retainers who took The Family’s name

    I can’t remember the numbers; it’s something like 50% of all western Europeans are descendants of Charlemagne (I do remember at the time deciding that I, for some reason, wasn’t). It makes me wonder whether, as an Irishperson, being related to any one 13C Irishperson is statistically that remarkable.

  123. Thanks John Cowan, being vague is another trait of Irish people, as well as answering a question with a question. Vaulted Arches carrying big loads was certainly new to the West of Ireland in the late 12thc.
    Along with this new style of masonry, there was a well known School of the West which referred to the carvings being done to highlight the designs with these Large Motte and Baileys, which evolved into the massive Castles. You can follow the Architecture back from the Crusades, where the Arabs had taught the Crusaders how to build with masonry. Hagia Sophia is a wonder to behold! But they used metal poured into keys aka cramps to support the columns and lintels that carry’s the Domes load, Romanesques Architecture, wheras structures like Chartes Cathedral in France, knights Templar built circa 1150’s, is a mind blowing example of Gothic Masonry, all loads carried by the masonry units!!The KT brought this style of building first to France, then England, then Wales(marcher lords) then Scotland and eventually 1172 Ireland. de Lacys were the top Castle builders at first, the De Angulos (Costelloes) were their Lead hands for building and for battles, same as all armed forces even today working on their fort or camp first, and also between battles!! 1180 +- Gilbert de Lacy gave the De Angulos Navan and Ardbraccan in Meath, 3 gens later they gave Miles MacCostelloe the part of Connacht that Castlemore is in, as part of Eleanor De Lacys Dowry for marrying Milo!!
    In the early 1600’s these Costelloes also set up shop in Cadiz, Spain, where they were Hidalgos!! Mayors! Heavily involved in the wine , sheep and new world spices trade network between Galway City, Cadiz and Cuba/ West Indies.

  124. Nail of the Nine Hostages, patriarch of the Oneill clans, supposedly has over 3million Irish descendants!
    12 sons, all very busy obviously!!

  125. @Sean Costello Jnr: Over three million is true, but a huge understatement. Based on Y chromosome haplotype, there are probably at least two million direct male line descendants of Niall Noigiallach.

    As a matter of fact, just about anybody who was alive in Niall’s time (about fifteen hundred years ago) will fall into one of two categories. There are those with no living descendants, and those with millions. Going back forty or more generations, the exponential growth means that unless a line became extinct relatively early on, a progenitor’s total number descendants is necessarily going to be very large. Niall Noigiallach is actually probably an ancestor (several times over) of everyone today living with Irish ancestry.

  126. Ok, so now we have Timujin, Charlemagne, and Niall Noigiallach as fathers of the whole nations and even continents. But I have a simpleton’s question. How do we know that it is their Y chromosomes that produced all this incredible multitude of males. For this to be true, we have to distinguish between at least them and their brothers or even other close male relatives in the same generation?

  127. AJP Crown says:
  128. David Eddyshaw says:
  129. @D.O.: We don’t. We know there is a common Y chromosomal line, which we can trace to a general region of origin (by comparison with the full spatial distribution of Y chromosomes). However, we cannot tie those to specific individuals without some guesswork. It’s mainly a matter of probabilities. With Temujin and Niall, we have two people who we know emerged from (relative) obscurity to become powerful kings and the sires of many children. However, there is no real way to tell if a person with the Temujin Y haplotype is really a patrilineal descendant of Genghis Khan. They could be descended along a different male line from Khabul Khan or an even earlier Borjigin. With Charlemagne, this could be even more problematic, since Big Charlie‘s grandfather Charlie the Hammer was himself a major ruler with many sons, legitimate and otherwise. So there are probably many people with the Charlemagne Y hapolotype that are actually patrilineally descended from one of his cousins.

  130. John Cowan says:

    D.O.: The argument is not from genetics, but from the pigeonhole principle. When we divide the 2^40 ancestors that I would have had 1200 years ago if they were all distinct by the few million Europeans that actually existed then, the chance that any one of them is excluded from my ancestry is minimal. Unless, of course, that one has no descendants living today. So I am descended from Charlemagne, because he is known to have descendants, whereas (as far as I know) nobody has bothered to trace their ancestry to Carloman, his brother, so that line of descent is uncertain.

  131. AJP Crown says:

    I haven’t attempted it aloud yet but I feel sure that “related to” Charlemagne is as good as “descended from…” However, if anyone on the bus enquires further, I’ll say “Sorry, this is my stop”.

  132. SFReader says:

    pigeonhole principle

    Doesn’t work for direct male descent. You’ll have to be an aristocrat and all your ancestors too.

    However, if you were to claim that you have Charlemagne somewhere in the ancestry via any possible genealogical line (eg, your maternal grandfather’s grandmother’s father’s mother was a daughter of an impoverished English lord whose family’s Norman ancestor in 10th century married a French aristocrat’s daughter who was descendant of Charlemagne) then that would be quite likely.

    Nowadays there is so much genealogical data online that it can even be proven in a matter of hours.

  133. The pigeonhole principle, stricto sensu, can’t be use to show descent from any particular person

  134. Yes, I did mean the direct male line.

    I do not dispute all or none principle, but the pigeonhole approach (I prefer to think about it as a random walk, if you amble aimlessly in a closed room, you are about to hit a wall) doesn’t convince me. First, backward direction is not quite good, inbreeding is not confined to Hapsburgs, and you have to count all currently living “Europeans” (of course, you can set up some other cut off if there was a recent population explosion). Second, how this “pigeonholing” working if there are occasional bouts of large scale deaths, you know, famines, plagues, wars? Someone ought to have modeled that and again, maybe answer is basically that it doesn’t matter, but it would take more to convince me than a single large number.

  135. John Cowan says:

    your maternal grandfather’s grandmother’s father’s mother was a daughter of an impoverished English lord whose family’s Norman ancestor in 10th century married a French aristocrat’s daughter who was descendant of Charlemagne

    My own case precisely! (No, not really; the paths from me to Karl der Große have to lead through Germany and/or Ireland, not England, at least not recently.)

    pigeonhole principle

    It’s true that unlike most pigeonhole/Dirichlet arguments, this one is only statistically true, but the likelihood is beyond overwhelming. Looking up the actual numbers, there were 2^25 Europeans in the year 1000, whereas there are about 2^35 pathways from me to each of my putative ancestors of that time. Consequently, on average each pigeonhole contains 2^10 = 1024 pigeons, not even counting the many pigeonholes representing people with no descendants, which would push the average up. Unless the distribution is very very very far from normal, the chance of a pigeonhole without pigeons is simply not worth discussing.

    inbreeding is not confined to Hapsburgs

    Inbreeding among the legitimate heirs. Bastards blended into the regular population.

    occasional bouts of large scale deaths

    The Black Death wiped out 50% of Europeans, but on the log scale we need for exponential population growth, that’s nothing.

  136. Unless the distribution is very very very far from normal, the chance of a pigeonhole without pigeons is simply not worth discussing.

    I’m not totally convinced by that. In essence, the pigeonhole argument assumes that people mix randomly, but until quite recently, there was very little movement of people over large areas. People would stay put in fairly small areas for generations.

    To take an extreme hypothetical case: suppose there are two tribes who live on opposite sides of a river and don’t intermingle at all. Then no one on the west bank is a descendant of King Rightie of the East, and no one on the east bank is a descendant of King Leftie of the West. Now suppose at some point they build a bridge and start boinking indiscriminately. How many generations would it take for a random person on either side to have an equal chance of descending from King Rightie or King Leftie?

    I don’t know the answer and it’s too late in the evening to try figuring it out. But it ought to be possible to set some statistical limits on how inhomogeneous a distribution you need for there to be significant numbers of people who are not descended from Charlemagne.

    ETA: The reason the Black Death doesn’t matter has nothing to do with how many people it killed. It’s because it killed people randomly over a wide area.

  137. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    How many generations would it take for a random person on either side to have an equal chance of descending from King Rightie or King Leftie?

    I reckon just one, if the tribes are equally sized.

    Before the bridge, everyone on the east bank is a descendant of King Rightie and everyone on the west bank is a descendant of King Leftie. After the bridge, people “start boinking indiscriminately,” which I’ll take to mean every birth is to a randomly drawn pair of parents from the mixed pool.

    With equal tribe sizes (and gender ratios), that’s immediately 1/4 of children descended from either king alone, and 1/2 descended from both.

    At the next generation, you’re already down to 1/16 of grandchildren descended from either king alone and 7/8 descended from both. 99.2% of the bridge builders’ great-grandchildren are descended from both kings. This stuff is fast.

  138. John Cowan says:

    the pigeonhole argument assumes that people mix randomly

    Not necessarily, not if the network of ancestors (actual ones this time) are a small-world network.

  139. @Giacomo P: You’re right, thanks. I guess a more appropriate situation to think about is when you have two populations that are geographically far apart, with very infrequent contact. Suppose a visitor from one group fathers a child in the other. Then that child’s offspring (if there are any) would all be descended from Charlemagne, so to speak. But depending on the size of the group and mortality rates and so on, it might be a while before all members of the group have some reasonable probability of having Charlemagne as an ancestor. And it’s also possible that the visitor’s descendants would flourish for a few generations and die out. It would take detailed models to come to any definite conclusions, I think.

    I would guess that there would have to be some minimum frequency of contact between the two groups for both of them in combination to approximate a small-world network.

    Maybe someone has done this kind of modeling. I’d be interested to see it.

  140. John Cowan says:

    I don’t think there was ever a time when migration stopped, even if most people did stand still. In 1920s Appalachia, there were many people who had never left their home holler (mountain valley) or known anyone who had other than preachers and peddlers, and yet their ancestors, or almost all of them, had crossed the sea within the last three centuries. And where there’s even transient movement, there are children whose social and biological fathers are different: estimates of this range from 10-30%.

  141. And where there’s even transient movement, there are children whose social and biological fathers are different: estimates of this range from 10-30%.
    You don’t need transient movement for that, you just need people who covet their neighbours’ spouses.

  142. David Marjanović says:

    there were many people who had never left their home holler (mountain valley) or known anyone who had other than preachers and peddlers, and yet their ancestors, or almost all of them, had crossed the sea within the last three centuries.

    See, all the halfway montaneous parts of Europe used to be like that into living memory, except without any episode of migration in the last 1500 years.

    (And there are still old people in Sardinia who have never seen the sea.)

  143. John Cowan says:

    you just need people who covet their neighbours’ spouses

    But if they are all in the same village, that doesn’t change anything, like the people who “eked out [supplemented] a precarious livelihood by taking in one another’s washing” (Anon.) You need travel to put them in the same gene pool with everyone else. The MRCA of humans, after living about 40,000 years ago until the last five centuries, now lived only about 5000 years ago, though with a caveat that uncontacted peoples like the North Sentinelese are excluded.

    See, all the halfway montaneous parts of Europe used to be like that into living memory, except without any episode of migration in the last 1500 years.

    Sure, although the Walsers have been in place for a mere 800 years despite their surviving ObHat OHG traits like 2-3 classes of weak verbs and wier machu, ir machut, schi machun morphosyntax. But that such a thing could be re-created in the New World in two centuries or less within a literate (at least Bible-reading) population with no great linguistic divergence is remarkable.

  144. David Marjanović says:

    Ah yes, I overgeneralized.

  145. Rodger C says:

    In 1920s Appalachia, there were many people who had never left their home holler (mountain valley) or known anyone who had other than preachers and peddlers

    Many of them would have been to the county seat once a month on market day.

  146. I once run into a local forum of a town somewhere thereabouts.

    Content fit all my stereotypes about people in such towns until I hit a thread on military experiences. You see, astonishing number of these rednecks served in the US military.

    And they saw quite a lot while in the army.

    Page after page they listed most exotic places imaginable, all of them thousands of miles from their hometown in Appalachia – National Geographic would die of envy.

    They’ve seen them all thanks to the US military – the greatest travel agency in the world.

  147. Yes, it was mass military service in the world wars that turned the US from a complacently provincial country into at least a moderately cosmopolitan one.

  148. John Cowan says:

    Many of them would have been to the county seat

    I too overgeneralized. “”Always avoid absolute statements; they invariably lead to bad reasoning.”

    mass military service in the world wars

    “Join the Army: travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting unusual people, and kill them.”

  149. Speaking of provincialism. A lot of people in all countries live (or at lest used to live) in small, closed communities. Naturally, they developed peculiar views and manners, which can be viewed as charming and down-to-earthy or backward and narrow-minded depending on the weather. The best of us can view them as both at the same time. From my Russian perspective that doesn’t make them provincial. At least not in the negative sense. Provincialism requires false pretense on sophistication and universalism. We discussed it somewhere in the depths of this blog. It’s another type of mine. Blog mine.

  150. That reminds of a quote from Arlo Guthrie: “In those days, you were either in college, or visiting Asian nations all expenses paid.”

  151. Kipling wrote about similar experiences of common folk in provincial England who returned from the Boer war.

    Me that ’ave been what I’ve been—
    Me that ’ave gone where I’ve gone—
    Me that ’ave seen what I’ve seen—
    ’Ow can I ever take on
    With awful old England again,
    An’ ’ouses both sides of the street,
    And ’edges two sides of the lane,
    And the parson an’ gentry between,
    An’ touchin’ my ’at when we meet—
    Me that ’ave been what I’ve been?

  152. I remember people of my grandfather’s generation jokingly refering to the German Wehrmacht as Adolf Reisen “Adolf Travels”.
    My father was a social worker for a couple of years. He found an apprenticeship for a teenager, but his mother objected, because the work would have been a couple of kilometres away, on the other side of the river Leda: “Who knows what may happen to him among those strangers!”
    That was about 40 years ago; I don’t think that you still would find such small-scale provincialism today.

  153. David Eddyshaw says:

    I once met a lady of 80 or so in St Werburghs in Bristol.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Werburghs

    In her whole life she had never visited the centre of Bristol, let alone anywhere truly alien, like Bath.

  154. “Mina Road is St Werburghs’ ‘high street’, whose shops each have an imaginative figurehead protruding from their frontages indicating the type of trade on offer.”

  155. How do you pronounce St Werburghs anyway? I presume the gh is sighlent?

  156. David Eddyshaw says:

    [‘wɔ:bɜːgz], more or less, locally (at least forty years ago: who knows about the Young People of Today?)

    With hindsight I can understand the lady’s reluctance to venture to lands where the shops don’t even have protruding figureheads. I mean

  157. David Marjanović says:

    Judging from Warburton, yes…

  158. Heinrich Böll is answering a question about his ethnicity (it’s about as meaningful as asking Tolstoy about his ethnicity, but never mind). My translation from someone else’s Russian translation:

    “I am German. Rhinelander. Not Prussian. We didn’t like Prussia in Rhineland. That’s why separatism has been always strong. My farther dreamed about separate state on the Rhine. Father lived with the memories of Kulturkampf, with tales about Catholic children secretly taking communion in the sheds, hiding from the
    Prussian-Protestant officials. Adenauer was like that as well, for him on the right side of the Rhine was the beginning of Siberia.”

    And then concluded “But we, Rhinelanders, think that we are good Germans, not worse, even better than Prussians.”

  159. @David Eddyshaw: That lady from Bristol, was she loaded?

  160. Was she sharp as a pistol?

  161. It was at this time that the most famous story about Werburgh appeared, according to which she restored a dead goose to life

    But… but… why?

    From here, I should say.

    And a little further down: another tale in which she was said to have banished all the geese from the village

    C’mon, lady, make your mind up.

  162. >That lady from Bristol, was she loaded?

    I should think so. She was married to a man who was known as Daddy ‘Wɔ:bɜːgz.

    To go back to the ancient parts of this thread, long ago I heard the song Postcard from a Dream by Poi Dog Pondering, with the line “shimmeréen, shimmeréen, mirage-like vision of tranquility.”

    I was disappointed to realize somewhat later that they were taking liberties with the accent in the word shimmering, but I still like to think of shimmereen as an Irish word for a mirage-like vision of tranquility.

  163. John Cowan says:

    There’s nothing inconsistent in wanting geese to live and still not wanting to live with them. They are noisy and messy, and their droppings contain nasty parasites that get into the water supply (and in modern times damage concrete). NYC rounds up and kills hundreds of geese every summer. How much better if we could simply banish them with a word!

  164. It is a truism in my family that geese are assholes.

    (When we lived in Indiana, our condo was next to a state park where the beach seemed to be about 80% sand, 20% goose poop.)

  165. PlasticPaddy says:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guard_goose
    They are good watchdogs, however.

  166. Stu Clayton says:
  167. I was always an unrepentant Wrong-Time Reader and remain so to this day. Take that, watchbird!

  168. David Eddyshaw says:

    Hah! There are no Wrong-Time Readers! The concept is patently absurd, Ass-Bird.

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