The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66835   Message #1116190
Posted By: Felipa
15-Feb-04 - 03:11 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Pogue Mahone
Subject: an tSeanbhean Bhocht
an Púca wrote:
"Shanty < seantigh - a new one on me and I don't know: sean would come before tigh (that adjective always precedes the noun it qualifies) so your "teach sean" objection can be dismissed; however, the areas where the old dative tigh is retained as an independent nominative or accusative form also retain a final g sound in the phonetics which would give shantig in English if the derivation were true."

I've heard about shanty before (not the song, sea shanty or chantey, related to chant, 'chanson', etc). I think sean-tigh is a likely derivation because we also have bothy, reputedly from "bo" for cattle. In that case the word order is unusual, I think, but that does happen sometimes in placenames. Also think of the Irish word bóthar" which I read was originally a lane or road wide enough for cattle.

In Scottish Gaelic, the word for "teach" is "tigh" or "taigh" (usually pronounced something like tie). In Ulster and Connacht there are pubs known as "Tigh Jack", "Tigh Ruairí" etc. I haven't noticed people saying "tig" except in Munster; in Donegal it sounds rather like "tee", like the genitive "tí"

also, there is your point that sometimes people base their pronunciation on reading rather than on hearing, and I would also say that people mishear or change unfamiliar sounds (vowels seem to be very mutable tomayto, tomahto) I believe it was common for immigrants to America to speak their names, which were then written down by immigration officials and sometimes the surnames changed from that point on.

I've also heard "is math sin" = smashing, as in mavellous, said to be from Scottish Gaelic. I like this, but I don't know what the evidence or authority for that is. If you want "creative etymology", how about a reference to Greeks having a smashing time with the plates when they party?