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Sos Beag ón tSraith Nollag: An Sloinne “Ó Murchú” (Ó Murchadha) Posted by on Dec 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

Tuigim gur chuir Pamela ceist ar an ngrúpa faoin sloinne “Murphy” agus gur scríobh Tiomóid freagra di.  Go raibh maith agat, a Thiomóid, as ceist Pamela a fhreagairt.  Tá an ceart agat, a Pamela, gurb é “Ó Murchadha” an litriú i nGaeilge, ach sin an seanlitriú.  Úsáideann roinnt daoine an litriú sin inniu, ach úsáideann daoine eile an litriú nua, “Ó Murchú.”

Maidir leis an bhfuaimniú, mar atá soiléir ó nóta Thiomóid, tá an “-dha” ag deireadh an fhocail “Murchadha” ciúin.  Is é sin a rá, níl sé cosúil leis an “dh” leathan i bhfocal mar “dhá” nó “a Dhónail.”  Níl mé ag caint anseo faoin “dh” leathan i nGaeilge thraidisiúnta Uladh, mar sin scéal eile ar fad, “dhá shú” and all that. 

Agus níl an “-dha” san fhocal “Murchadha” cosúil leis an “dh” san fhocal “dhéag,” mar shampla, mar san fhocal “dhéag,” tá an “dh” caol, cosúil le “y” i mBéarla.  

Shíl mé go gcuirfinn cúpla pointe le freagra Thiomóid. 

Ní Mhurchú, lit. daughter of Murchú, with the “Mh” sounding like “w” or “v,” depending on canúint (dialect).  Used for unmarried women and also by women who choose not to change their name upon marriage, a Gaeltacht tradition which is surprisingly similar to the choice many women outside the Gaeltacht have started making in recent years. 

Uí Mhurchú, wife of Murchú, very literally, simply “of Murchú”

Bean Uí Mhurchú, a fuller-fledged form of saying “wife of Murchú,” including the word “bean” which means “woman” or “wife.”

A couple points for really new newcomers: the “bean” just referred to sounds like the “ban” of “banshee” (which is, in fact, “bean sí”).  Also, there’s not really any “gender thing” going on with the word for “wife” being the same as the word for “woman,” although it often strikes people that way.  It’s true for men also, with “fear” meaning both “man” and “husband.”  Since “fear” also happens to look like an English word, I’ll just note here, that the vowel sound is more like American English “bat” or “family” or “Faraday,” not like “seer” or “ear.”  There is a way to specify “woman-spouse” and “man-spouse,” using “céile,” but that’s a subject for blag eile.  .  

And, ar son foghlaimeoirí nua, seo bunús (gist) na nótaí thíos:

Thank you, Timothy, for answering Pamela’s question.  As you indicated, the name is often spelled “Ó Murchú” these days, since that’s how it sounds. 

The spelling doesn’t indicate the middle syllable, the “uh” sound in the middle, but that’s a common enough phenomenon in Irish, with other words like “orm,” “gorm,” and “feilm” having the extra syllable as well.   So “Murchú” is a three-syllable word.  I wanted to add that the name changes slightly for women, with the forms you see above.

For anyone chomping (or champing) at the bit, for the rest of Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag, tá sé ag teacht.  But I wanted to finish up ceist Pamela before too much more time elapsed.

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