An Pápa Proinsias agus an tAinm Proinsias/Proinséas Posted by róislín on Apr 8, 2013 in Irish Language
“Jeanne d’Arc” ach “An Mháthair Treasa“? It’s interesting to note whether the names of internationally recognized figures have Irish versions, or if they are left in the original. “Joan of Arc” and “Mother “Teresa” provide insightful examples. “Joan of Arc,” as she is known in English, retains her French name, “Jeanne d’Arc,” in Irish. Not that there’s any reason that she should become “Joan,” which would normally be rendered “Siobhán” in Irish. In fact, she should probably really be referred to as “Jehanette,” but we’ll nip that “iomlaoid chainte” in the “bachlóg,” In contrast, with the name “An Mháthair Treasa,” we see not only the use of the Irish word for “mother” (máthair [MAW-hirzh, silent “t”]) , but also the typical Irish spelling (Treasa) of the “ainm naoimh” that she chose. This is true even though she selected the variation “Teresa,” since there already was a “Thérèse” in her convent.
Similar issues abound. We have “Críostóir Colambas” but “Francisco Pizarro” (not ‘Proinsias Pizarro’). The Kennedy brothers, whose names could be easily gaelicized (Ó Cinnéide) remain, officially, “Kennedy” in Irish. “Shah Jahan” (tógálaí an “Taj Mahal”) stays as “Shah Jahan,” an English-based transliteration of the original Persian/Urdu, even though there is an Irish word for “shah,” which is “seá,” [pronounced, “shaw”]. “Trotsky,” anglicized from Russian Троцкий, becomes “Trotscaí” when gaelicized. The best approach when dealing with these types of names seems to be to research them, not to make assumption that they will or will not be gaelicized.
So what does all this tell us about ainmneacha pápaí? One of the interesting features of the names of the popes is that they all seem to get translated or adapted into the various languages of the world, at least as much as is feasible.
In this blog, we’ll look specifically at the name Proinsias [PRIN-shuss] used when referring to Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), who was elected to the office on March 13, 2013. Perhaps in future blogs we can look at the Irish versions of the names of other popes. Most of them have an Irish version (Eoin Pól, Beinidict, Greagóir, Clemeint, srl.), although there are some that stay the same as the Latin (e.g. Pius) and a few other interesting exceptions such as Zosimus and Zephyrinus. Regarding the last two, one might wonder if there is an Irish word for Zosimus, given the historical personage (Zosimas of Palestine) and Ireland’s own Zosimus (ca. 1794-1846, a blind street rhymer). But, creid é nó ná creid é, I can’t find Irish versions for either Pope Zosimus (pápacht: 417-18) or Pope Zephyrinus (pápacht: 199-217). For the latter, I’d love to take the word “steifir” (Irish for “zephyr”) and add the ‘-ín” diminutive suffix to it, creating “*Steifirín,” but for a subject like ainmneacha pápaí, I’d rather wait and see if there is any precedent for doing so.
And back now to the name “Proinsias” itself. Grammatically, it’s a fourth-decelsnion noun, which means that the ending doesn’t change, even when it’s possessive. For example, if we were talking about the hat of an ordinary fellow named “Proinsias,” the Irish phrase would be “hata Phroinsias” [HAH-tuh FRI-shuss]. In contrast, for most men’s names that end in t “-as,” there is a final change, as in “hata Shéamais” [… HAY-mish] or “hata Thomáis” [… HOM-awsh], where the endings change to rhyme with English words like “fish” or “wash.”
If you’re talking to an ordinary fellow named “Proinsias,” you would say “a Phroinsias” [uh FRIN-shuss], using lenition to change the “p” to “ph,” just as we would with “Pól,” which becomes “a Phóil” [uh FOW-il] in direct address. Of course, if you’re actually talking to the Pope, the term of direct address would be “a Naofacht” (Your Holiness, lit. more like “O Holiness”).
In summary, then, we have “Proinsias” for “Francis.” It doesn’t follow the ordinary pattern for men’s names ending in “-as” but instead has the following forms:
direct address: A Phroinsias (Tar anseo, a Phroinsias!)
possessive: Phroinsias (Seo hata Phroinsias)
Once again, if you’re actually talking to the Pope, you’d follow the rules for talking to popes, not for ordinary folks named “Proinsias.”
At any rate, it’s interesting to see that “Proinsias” joins the ranks of versions of the name “Francis” that can be found for the current Pope in languages around the world, including Frangan, Ffransis, François, Francesco, Ferenc, and, of course, Francisco.
The feminine version of “Proinsias” is “Proinséas” (Frances). It has no change at the ending, following the ordinary practice for women’s names ending in broad consonants (e.g. Siobhán; hata Shiobhán; Tar anseo, a Shiobhán!). “Proinséas” would get lenited, though, for direct address and to show possession:
direct address: A Phroinséas (Tar anseo, a Phroinséas!)
possessive: Phroinséas (Seo hata Phroinséas)
Getting back to our original point, discussing Mother Teresa and other international figures, it has never seemed to me completely predictable as to whether a non-Irish name is fully or partially gaelicized, or whether it remains in its original language. For the Popes, though, at least, it seems that we can safely say that the Irish version of their name is used where applicable, in keeping with the general practice of localizing the Pope’s name according to the language.
Sin é go dtí an chéad uair eile. Just remember, if you actually do have an “éisteacht” with the Pope, follow the comhghnásanna for such formal occasions, as outlined in sites such as http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/d003rpHowToAddressClergy.html. That site, btw, will even tell you what to do with the “caipín cúil” that you might bring for the Pope. Cén Béarla atá ar “chaipín cúil”? Freagra thíos. SGF, Róislín
Freagra: caipín cúil, probably best translated into Italian, which would be “zucchetto,” which, yes, is related to gourd, pumpkin, and zucchini, from its shape. Alternate names would be pilus, subbiretum, berettino, and calotte. In other words, a skull cap.
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