Is Aoibhe a step too far in the UK?

(257 Posts)
mika2 Thu 09-May-13 23:09:36

I'm Irish, living in the UK and due DD1 in 4 mths. I really want to give the baby an irish name - DH has reluctantly agreed - and had come up with an extensive list of boys names i liked (and was convinced it was a boy!) but now i know it's a girl I'm still struggling. Not helped by the fact that a lot of them (Ciara, Tara, Niamh, Beibhinn, Saoirse, Siun) have already been taken by my very extended family. At the moment this is the best we can come up with;

Clodagh (klo-da) - but DH is insisting on nn chloe (which defeats the purpose of giving the baby an Irish name IMO)
Aoife (ee-fa) - pretty, but v v common in ireland and getting more so here?
Caoimhe (quee-va) - I love, but DH isn't so keen
Aoibhe (eva) - alternative to aoife, but a bit more "out there" than the others as even Irish ppl seem v confused on how to pronounce. And with such an obvious english alternative, can see DH/DD giving up and spelling it Eva eventually

Thoughts on the above for a baby growing up in the uk? And any other suggesions gratefully received!

LeoandBoosmum Tue 21-May-13 04:57:30

I don't like the name pronounced Quee-va. Maeve is also nice but Orla would be my first choice, then Aoife. smile

LeoandBoosmum Tue 21-May-13 04:53:02

OOooh, Orla is pretty! I do like Aoife though...not too common here, I don't think. I heard the name for the first time when the singer from The Saturdays named her baby Aoife.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:43:52

(Stands in applause for Biggles)

This.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Tue 21-May-13 00:34:59

Ha ha, I remember Sorcha-gate too, Irish name threads never go well. grin

Look, unless your name is Anna or Jack, you might as well get used to the fact that you will have to spell your name out to people. My name is Isobel, and I always, always have to spell my name out to people. Always. Without exception. It's not that big a deal...?

And I absolutely adore the utter irony from MummyBurrows offering up Penelope as an example of a simple name. grin A Greek name, which absolutely does not follow English phonetic rules at all. If we can all get used to Penelope to the point where it's touted as a simple, easy name - then surely people can use Irish spellings for their own children with gay abandon, if they so wish.

CounselorTroi Mon 20-May-13 23:16:21

vividly remember sorchagate mentallyslapsyerwan shorshamyarse

CounselorTroi Mon 20-May-13 23:11:33

squoosh no, my mother is not a fan of her name, handed down as it was from her aunt, an elderly nun. Same elderly nun not impressed when I decided not to lumber DD with the name, not even as a middle name. I have lumbered her with an apparent chav-Irish name though, according to this thread smile

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 23:21:50

Yes that is how I hear Fionnuala in my head.. (It's really hard to convey the sounds using the Latin alphabet when you try to type it blush)

Irish is very phonetically consistent, and even within the different accents/dialects the consistency remains. And actually the grammar is very like Latin, I have been told by DS who never learned any Irish either (school in the US). I think most children attending school in Ireland pick up a bastardised hybrid of the accents their teachers speak. I learned Kerry Irish in junior school and then Connemara Irish in secondary. My mother's national school teachers (two room school, only two teachers from junior infants to 6th class) were from The Rower, Leinster's last Gaeltacht, and her Irish is more like the dialect of An Rinn in Waterford. Dad never learned any as he was home schooled and then went to boarding school where they focused on Latin and Greek. (I speak French godawfully with a Waterford accent thanks to Miss H).

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 22:30:14

I can't quite work out Fionnuala, but I think I'm saying Mairéad properly, so that's good. I know exactly what you mean about the "rzh" sound, and the French D smile Thanks!

I've only known 2 Fionnualas in my time but I've just called them both Fyun-oo-ala but with the ooala more... subtle? Like instead of it being 3 syllables it's oo and la but with a schwa in the middle. Or something. The Fionn part I would just pronounce the same as I'd pronounce Fionn - fyun.

God, Irish is weird. I never even did it at school (I want to a proddy school and they taught Latin instead!) so I think the kind of Irish I've started picking up on is some bastardised hybrid of different dialects.

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 22:25:15

Murzhade would be the closest I can render it (the R runs into a ZH sound as it is made with tip of tongue against the middle of the alveolar ridge. The D at the end is more of a French D than an English D. The sound is made with tip of tongue at the back of the top teeth, right at the front of the alveolar ridge. The only non-Irish people I have ever heard pronouncing the name Mairead correctly (sorry, have sticky juice dried into my number pad and fadas are impossible at the moment) are Russians.

And Fyun-OO-uh-la. The proper Irish F sound is created with the lips and not with lips and teeth. A lot of Irish people use an echo of this sound when they say the consonant digraph WH, where the WH sound is made with the lips -- most English accents do not distinguish between WH and W at the start of a word. Many Victorian writers used 'fwhat', 'fwhere', 'fwhy' when including speech by the peasants in their novels set in Ireland. Flann O'Brien also did this iirc as a device to ridicule a Garda character but I can't remember exactly which book he did it in. The UH sound is a schwa, barely audible. The L is broad - the tongue doesn't really touch the top of the mouth and it's almost a Wah sound as a result.

But 'Marade' and 'Finnoola' work fine..

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 21:52:39

mathanxiety, could you spell out Mairéad and Fionnuala for me phonetically in English? I'm now starting to worry I don't say them properly...

mathanxiety Sun 19-May-13 21:28:46

It's a bit like Mairead pronounced without the narrow R or Fionnuala with the English F sound. Or all those Neev's and names with an E at the end sounding like names with an A at the end. I think they fall into the category of sturdy indefensibles. (I think En(y)eh is a much nicer pronunciation and of course it is correct. Eth-neh is too close to Edna for my liking).

sorchatallulah Sun 19-May-13 21:23:40

I too am late to the party but I love the Irish name threads :D I like Aoibhe, as long as it's pronounced properly. I vaguely remember a thread (perhaps on a different board) where a guy asked for advice on whether or not he should pronounce it as ay-va then raged when he was met with a resounding no.

Surely Eithne can't be eth-nyeh? When is a th in Irish ever pronounced as a th is in English? I would say Eithne phonetically as eh-n(y)eh with the subtle y, and maybe the first syllable between an eh and an ey... if that makes sense. I can't work out why it would be just an English "th".

And I remember Sorchagate - as that's my name I thought it was brilliant. It was good to see a lot of people sticking up for the right pronunciation, thanks guys!

JohnSnowsTie Fri 17-May-13 21:41:41

I'd love to use Enya but DH's cousin loves it so will leave it for her.

Penny don't feel down - it's just people's opinions and they're bound to clash sometimes. flowers

KatyDid02 Fri 17-May-13 20:16:35

Enya/Eithne - I think both spellings and pronunciations are lovely.

hollyisalovelyname Fri 17-May-13 07:58:09

Just checked wiki- Enya (the singer) was born Eithne

hollyisalovelyname Fri 17-May-13 07:56:24

I thought Enya was Aine pronounced by Donegal people.

PerfumedPonce Thu 16-May-13 19:07:59

Fwiw, Penny, I also think Aoibhe is a very lovely name. Always have. Don't let any of the guff on this thread get you down. You chose a great name for your dd and if there are many more threads like this it will soon become a very well-known name in the UK which will help counter some of the current opposition to it!! grin

SJisontheway Thu 16-May-13 18:44:07

I'm not suprised there aren't too many Irish names turning up on the old census. Previous generations were beaten for speaking Irish, so giving your child a traditional name probably wouldn't have done them any favours. I think its wonderful a lot of the old names have been revived. Including Éabha which incidently is an ancient name and not a modern gaelic version of Ava.

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 17:42:26

That's what I'd thought, but I'd heard another pronunication which is probably closer to what maryz was suggesting - was surprised because I didn't know there was more than one.

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 17:31:27

Yes indeed, that was the one, Maryz. I don't know if it can be mentioned on MN..

I think Enya is the northern pronunciation. A girl I knew in school whose parents were from Donegal pronounced her name Enya while all the other Eithnes were Eth-neh.

squoosh Thu 16-May-13 17:09:33

Is Eithne pronounce as Enya in the North??

forgetmenots Thu 16-May-13 16:58:08

Thanks maryz!

Penny, don't be disheartened, I like the name and any general statements about Irish names being a bad idea I'm just ignoring now to be honest, have only ever heard comments like that about Irish and Scottish names on here which really winds me up. I'm sure your Aoibhe loves her name smile

Maryz Thu 16-May-13 16:55:17

The only Eithne I knew was when I lived in Galway, and she was Eth (as in rhyming with Beth) nyeh, as in nyer without the r, iyswim.

So pronounced Eh-ne, both e's sounding the same, with a little y before the second one.

ds is looking at me as though I have three heads as I'm pronouncing all of these grin

math, I remember Sorchagate - wasn't that the op who wanted to spell it Sorcha, but pronounce it Shorsha, with a "sh" sound? And dismissed all the detailed advice about Shorsha actually being Seoirse and the Irish for George.

iirc, she wasn't interested in actually using an Irish name, though.

Sorry if you are upset, Penny.

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 16:46:32

Sometimes I wish I was.. grin

Penny6Pence Thu 16-May-13 16:46:13

Coming to the party a little late but youngest dd is named Aoibhe. Dh wanted to call her Aoife and I wanted Aoibhinn...so we landed on Aoibhe instead. So it was a bit of a compromise for us both but we absolutely love it and it suits her perfectly. Bit sad to read some of the comments about it on here. We also live in UK (though we are Irish) but we don't know if we are going to be here forever so didn't let that put us off using Irish names for the kids. We would definitely have used Irish names if we had been at home anyway and you don't know what the future may hold. Little bit gutted to read that some people think we might have done dd a disservice. We adore her and love her name. Oh, well... sad

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