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michael in irish is?

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Post February 16 2008, 17:34 PM
new mom
New Arrival
 
Posts: 1
help! must register my son's birth asap. we're naming him after my father, who anglicized his name to michael when he came to north america but we want to use the irish pronounciation. my father used miceal (he died over thirty years ago) with a fada over the "a" sometimes, but i'm getting several different spellings. if we use micheal with or without a fada he's going to be called michael so we're thinking miceal with one fada and no dot over the "c" but is this used now? the family in ireland suggest micheal.

my husband (who has no irish blood whatsoever) is of the opinion there are several different ways to spell it and we can do whatever we want. i suspect that the spelling has changed over the years and while we can do whatever we want i would first like to know how it is done in ireland today and why it seems to be different than how my dad spelt it.

thanks for any help

 
Post February 16 2008, 17:39 PM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
The correct spelling of "Michael" in Irish is "Mícheál." The main difference between it and the English spelling is that the "e" and the "a" reverse positions, and the "i" and the "e" are both accented. It's pronounced MEE-hal.

Redwolf

Post February 16 2008, 17:47 PM
Brian O'Cathain
Gaeilgeoir
 
Posts: 474
It is pronounced no differently now than it was in your father's time. Michael
is Mícheál (Me-hall). If you spell it Miceal it would be pronounced MICHAEL or MICKLE in Irish. However, your husband is quite correct. Your son will spend the rest of his life correcting the pronunciation of his name. It might be better to call him Mihall. It would be pronounced correctly but you would also know that he was
named after his grandfather. You could also call him Maidhc (Mike).

Post February 16 2008, 17:52 PM
Redwolf
Ard-Banríon na Ráiméise
 
Posts: 57599
I bet your father didn't actually spell it differently. In the older Irish script, what is now written as an "h" after a consonant was represented by placing a dot over the consonant instead. So there's a good chance that your dad was actually writing what we now spell "Mícheál", but used a dot over the "c" instead of the "h."

It would be incorrect without either the "h" or the dot. One or the other is required. Otherwise, as Brian said, it would be pronounced something like "MIK-al," and would not be recognized by an Irish speaker as "Micheál."

Brian is right, though, in that if you're not living in Ireland, the name is likely to get mispronounced (most people would probably think it's just a "creative" spelling of "Michael" and pronounce it that way, or perhaps like the Russian "Mikhail"). This might be one case where it's better to phoneticize it (if you do, for the most likely correct pronunciation, I'd go with "Meehall) as Brian suggested, or just go with the English spelling and pronunciation of "Michael."

Redwolf



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