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BS: Man's name or woman's name?

SharonA 10 Jan 03 - 01:46 PM
Schantieman 10 Jan 03 - 01:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 01:51 PM
*daylia* 10 Jan 03 - 01:52 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM
Schantieman 10 Jan 03 - 01:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 01:59 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM
Mrrzy 10 Jan 03 - 02:07 PM
SharonA 10 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM
allanwill 10 Jan 03 - 02:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 02:15 PM
gnomad 10 Jan 03 - 02:29 PM
winterchild 10 Jan 03 - 02:31 PM
treewind 10 Jan 03 - 02:40 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 02:41 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM
Amos 10 Jan 03 - 03:06 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 03:42 PM
sian, west wales 10 Jan 03 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 03:50 PM
Giac 10 Jan 03 - 03:54 PM
C-flat 10 Jan 03 - 03:54 PM
Sorcha 10 Jan 03 - 03:58 PM
MMario 10 Jan 03 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 10 Jan 03 - 04:31 PM
Sonnet 10 Jan 03 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,herc 10 Jan 03 - 04:54 PM
Uncle_DaveO 10 Jan 03 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,wdyat24 10 Jan 03 - 07:45 PM
Cluin 10 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 07:55 PM
greg stephens 10 Jan 03 - 08:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jan 03 - 08:14 PM
vindelis 10 Jan 03 - 08:22 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 10 Jan 03 - 09:23 PM
Sorcha 10 Jan 03 - 09:44 PM
Little Robyn 10 Jan 03 - 09:50 PM
katlaughing 10 Jan 03 - 11:35 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Jan 03 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,cookieless Genie 11 Jan 03 - 12:56 AM
GUEST 11 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Jan 03 - 06:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 03 - 07:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 03 - 07:29 AM
allanwill 11 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM

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Subject: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: SharonA
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:46 PM

This morning, I received a business email from the UK from someone with the first name of Shelagh. I didn't want to sound so familiar as to reply with the opening "Dear Shelagh" but I didn't know whether to type "Dear Mr...." or "Dear Ms...."

I ended up using the person's first name and surname (reluctantly) in my reply. He/she sent back another email that opened with "Dear Sharon" and was signed "Best regards, Shelagh", so at least we're on a first-name basis now and the pressure's off! :^)   But I'm still not brave enough to ask him/her if he/she is a he or a she...

Can anyone tell me whether Shelagh is a man's name or a woman's name?    A couple of folks over at the Annexe think it's a woman's name and should be pronounced like the name "Sheila" (or perhaps like "SHAY - lah") but does anyone know for sure?

What are some other names you've heard or read that have made you wonder if they're men's names or women's names?


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Schantieman
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:49 PM

Woman.

We've got a Shelagh in our club (so to speak). Pronounced Sheila.

Enjoy.

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:51 PM

It's just another spelling for Sheila, and pronounced the same way.

It can get confusing wth Irish names - my son's called Ciaran, and he's had people thinking that's a girl's name. And men called Enda have it happen all the time.

One thing is that women keep on taking over men's names - Evelyn, Carol, Robin, Joyce, Shirley... Doesn't seem to happen the other way round.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:52 PM

I worked for a woman named "Shelagh" one summer. It was pronounced "Sheila", and I vaguely remember being told it was an old Gaelic spelling of the name. Pardon me if I'm wrong ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM

Definately female. I've always heard the playwright Shelagh Delaney pronounced as "Shay-lah" though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Schantieman
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:57 PM

Hilary


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:59 PM

GUEST


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM

McGrath


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM

Don't know if Chris, Sam, Jo etc count...


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:07 PM

When that happens to me, I always use Dear Title, like if someone who is the Akond of Swat writes I reply Dear Akond, and that gets around it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: SharonA
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM

Mrrzy: But what kond of swat? :^)

Thanks, all, for the clarification on Shelagh. Keep those other names coming!

Speaking of male names "taken over" by women, how about Beverly and Leslie?


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: allanwill
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:14 PM

We've got about 9 million "sheilas" in Oz.

Allan


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:15 PM

We had this thread Dear Sir or Madam about the problem of how to write to officials when you don't know their name or their sex.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: gnomad
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:29 PM

I knew an elderly man called Allison, he told me that was the tradtional name for the eldest son in his family over numerous generaions.

Sam seems to be moving over to the distaff side, but other than my old friend I cannot think of any coming the other way, no boy called Sue just yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: winterchild
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:31 PM

My mother thought it would be original to give her daughter a boy's name. I was one of the first female Tracys. I never minded - turned out to be a tomboy anyway - but I keep getting _highly_ inappropriate spam for _Mr_ Tracy soandso!

;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: treewind
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:40 PM

Allison is spelt differently from Alison - is that a consistent way to distinguish the sexes?

Likewise Leslie(m) and Lesley (f) but I'm not sure that's reliable either.

Peta and Peter, Frances and Francis...

Anahata
(male but you couldn't possbily tell from the name, and Osho was completely indiscriminate about gender when giving his people names)


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:41 PM

Jody


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM

Moon Unit


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM

I weasel, by addressing the sender as Dear Leslie (Jones or whatever).
I have made mistakes several times in posts here, getting the sex wrong. Leslie is one that occurs often and percentages of males and females are high. I think male because of a childhood friend with that name.
On names like Shirley, I go with the percentages. Here (US and Canada) there are hundreds of female Shirleys to every male, so I go with Ms. If the addressee happens to be male, he will be used to the mistake.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM

Dylan


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:06 PM

Flaming Eejit...Space Cadet...Airhead....Dumdum....Entity ... Sentient Spot ... Neurological Byproduct ... Shit-for-Brains... Gaseous One... Meatball... "Correspondent" ... "Unknown Variable"
... you got LOTS of options!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:42 PM

Actually, I believe "Sile" is the most common Gaelic spelling of the name we in the US know most commonly as "Sheila". "Shelagh" is one of those versions of a Gaelic name that has anglicised the spelling, like Enya/Aine or Eavan/Aoibheann.

Connie is another name used in Ireland for males that is essentially a female name the other side of the pond.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:46 PM

I've never heard of Dylan as a girl's name .. !

Seems people think Sian is a male moniker.   (Sion is.)

Lyn gives some grief. Lindsay. And wasn't 'mother Walton' a Michael?

And, in North Wales, Eirian tends to be a girl's name and in the South (or at least in the West) it's a guy's.

sian (f.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:50 PM

Sian, I think Dylan as a girl's name is a US thing. I have a friend who named one of her daughter's Keaton, another Hayden. She says she didn't want them to have female sounding names. It didn't make sense to me either. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Giac
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:54 PM

Ethel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: C-flat
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:54 PM

I've come across my first name - Merrick- as both male and female.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:58 PM

I know women named Robin and Michael. Also, a Billie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: MMario
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:00 PM

I have a (female) cousin named 'Stephen'


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:31 PM

I once worked in an area with a large Sikh population. Sikh forenames are not gender specific. If you don't get the middle name you are stuck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Sonnet
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:46 PM

Jay can be either female or male. Jay's the name I chose for myself, rather than my given name, Janet, which I loathe with a passion!

Jay


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST,herc
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:54 PM

I know a transexual who goes by "Karel." I thought that was well done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:56 PM

"Dear Sir or Madam, as the case may be:"........


Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST,wdyat24
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:45 PM

Aunt Peter would have been enthralled with this thread.

wdyat24


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Cluin
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM

What about Sean Young (of Bladerunner fame)? Last time I saw her on anything though, she was sporting a healthy batch of underarm hair that sure put mine to shame.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:55 PM

Enya is surely Eithna, and wasn't she a different goddess from Áine?

At one time anyway it was quite frequent for boys to have Mary as a second name in some Catholic countries - plenty of Jean-Marie's in France for example; and in Ireland one of the poets shot after the Easter Rising in 1916 was Joseph Mary Plunkett.

Tracy a boys name? That must be American. This side it's always a girl's name, a version of Teresa, though people don't normally think of it that way.

Abbreviations always tend to be unisex. Bill, Pat, Sam etc. - that's because the names behind them come in gender pairs, and shortening them takes away the distinctive ending.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 08:06 PM

DL Menard's first name is Doris


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 08:14 PM

I suppose there's no reason why geographical names such as Chelsea and Brooklyn shouldn't be given to boys. But somehow they never seem to be. Maybe Shankill?

There's a mystery to all this. Harry Enfield's Slobs got it about right when discussing anmes for their baby:

Waynetta: What about a middle name?
Wayne: 'ow about "Ashtray"?
Waynetta: ASHTRAY'S A BOY'S NAME!


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: vindelis
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 08:22 PM

how about Poirl - pronounced Pworel. It belonged to my boyfriend's great-grandfather; and his before that. I've never heard of it before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:23 PM

A neighbor-lady when I was young was named Leon, and I've yet to meet another female with that name.

Speaking of Ashtray being a boy's name.... My wife tells the story of friends of hers who had a baby in the 70's. They wanted to let the child choose his own name when he got old enough, but the hospital required that a name be on the birth certificate before they would release the baby to go home. The father gave the kid the name "Oil Can Son of Dan" to appease the authorities. Later, when the kid was old enough, he did choose his own name and it was legally changed.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:44 PM

Lots of this is too funny, but it is still common for Hispanics to name boys Maria. As in Jesus Maria........but I can't see an Anglo boy being named Mary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 09:50 PM

Here in New Zealand (and in Oz too, I think) Robyn with a 'y' is a girls name but Robin with an 'i' is for boys. And there are lots of us too!


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:35 PM

Connie is also a nickname for Conrad among French descended people, as in my late father-in-law who was French-Canadian.

Our Mudcat Aine pronounces hers awn-ya, whereas Enya is pronounced as written, from what I've heard. Two different names as far as I've heard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM

So in addition to your great knowledge of the American Indian, now you are going to pontificate on Gaelic for us katlaughing?

God, you are so bloody ignorant.

They aren't two different names. The differences in pronounciation are regional. The "Enya" spelling is a phonetic one, and it isn't one used in Ireland--my guess is, it was a marketing decision, so English speakers would be better able to pronounce the name.

Aine is the most common Gaelic spelling. Gaelic spellings can also vary, as it wasn't until very recently that the spelling was standardized, and even still, often the older spellings are used by many native speakers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 12:39 AM

I'm not defending this last post of yours, Guest! Civility never is wasted, if you have a choice between that and being rude. Settle down.

Woody Allen named his youngest daughter "Dylan." I haven't heard it as a girl's name often, but before that I hadn't heard of it at all. I named my son Dylan almost 11 years ago, not realizing that American popular television had made the name a household word (Beverly Hills 90210). I chose the name because my son was born with premature lungs and spent two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I was torn between a couple of names, but decided to tip my hat to Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Quietly Into That Goodnight." (Rage, rage against the dying of the light.) My son survived, and is named Dylan. He's a normal healthy 10-year-old, so the name seems to have been a good choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST,cookieless Genie
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 12:56 AM

sian, there is a current sitcom in the US that features a female lead character named "Dylan"  (or "Dillon" -- I haven't seen it spelled).

Another relatively common man's name (nickname) in the UK that is almost exclusively female in the US is "Laurie," (although in Louisa May Alcott's time,  I guess, it wasn't all that unusual a nickname for "Laurence" in the US).

Funny thing:  I heard young folks on a talk show not long ago referring to "Ashley" as an exclusively female (or at least decidedly feminine sounding) name, apparently unaware that that was the given name of the object of Scarlett O'Hara's longing in "Gone With The Wind"  (played, interestingly enough, given this thread, by Leslie Howard).

McGrath, the male receptionist at a convalescent home in Seattle is named "Brooklyn."

I usually think of "Gene" as a man's name, short for "Eugene," but then there was the Hollywood actress "Gene Tierney" in the '40s and '50s.

And what about "Sidney" or "Sydney?"  Tom Sawyer's cousin(?) was a boy named "Sid(ney" and there have been many well known male Sidneys (Poitier, Greenstreet, Vicious, etc.), but is "Sydney" usually used for females?

"Jordan" is a pretty popular boy's name in the US these days, but there is a woman, about 90 years old,  in one of the nursing homes where I play music, whose given name is "Jordan," too.

Kat, we had a famous male "Connie" here in the US a while back: Connie Mack (Cornelius MacGillicuddy, IIRC).

And Robyn, I know a lot of females named "Robin," too.  (My brothers, FWIW, are Robin and Terry [NOT "Terrence"], and both have gotten volumes of junk mail or even business mail addressed to them as "Miss."

Other cross-gender names, historically, at least:  Hilary (or Hillary) and Carol (Carroll) [which is, I think, a variant on "Karl," "Charles," "Carlos," "Caryl," etc.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM

Lilias is another.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 06:55 AM

The Irish-Australian singer-songwriter Enda Kenny, had his CDs displayed in the HMV shop under a neat label saying Edna Kenny!

I have 2 male friends named Kerry (both born 1950s) - the second sends me e-mails from his work address, with a signature of (Mr) Kerry surname, whatever section, Dept of ....

I did have a male collague named Jade several years ago (born late 70's or early 80's years old)

I also know a woman named Peta who was in a meeting which also included a man named Peter. When the Chair asked Peta to speak, Peter took the floor, to great laughter from those who saw where she was looking. Peter joined in & we all had a good laugh.

At work when I receive calls from anyone named Chris, Lee/Leigh, Robin/Robyn, etc I always tick the appropriate title, the same as I do when I receive calls from people with first names from cultures that I don't recognise. This helps my colleagues when returning the call.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:18 AM


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:29 AM

Sydney, as in Sydney Carter, is never a woman's name over here that I've neard. Mind you, no name is safe from being appropriated.

I imagine in Canada there must be a lot of confusion about people called Jean. I remember a friends of mind enthsuiing about this booke they had found by this great woman called Jean Vanier. I had to tactfully get aross the message that whiole totally agreeing about Jean Vanier being great as a writer and in other ways, he's a man.

It seems pretty clear that Áine and Enya are two different names.

Áine - (AN-yuh or AW-ne) from Old Irish aine "brilliance, wit, splendor, glory"; "joy", "brightness", "fasting", "praise", or "radiance". In legend, Aine was the daughter of Fer I (Man of the Yew) and the traditional name of the queen of fairies of south Munster, an important and varied role in Celtic mythology; was believed to dwell at the place now called Knockany (Cnoc Aine, "Aine's Hill"). Also used as an Irish form of Aina, Anne.

Eithne - (AY-he-ne or ETH-nuh) "kernel or seed."

And Enya is a version of Eithne.


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Subject: RE: BS: Man's name or woman's name?
From: allanwill
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM

So shove that up your left nostril, GUEST.

Allan


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