Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Welsh -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna and Lillia de Vaux

- Welsh -

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September 2011 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

As I talked about Gaelic and Anglicized Irish names back in October of 2010, we're ready to move on to Welsh. The most important thing you need to know about what we know about Welsh names in the SCA is a name: Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn. Tangwystyl has been doing research on Welsh names since the 1980s. And if you go to the section on Welsh, Breton, and Brythonic Names at the Academy of Saint Gabriel Library (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/pceltic.shtml), you'll discover that she's written more articles about the names of this area than every other writer combined. A few of her print articles are now considered outdated (even by her; especially by her), such as the articles appearing in A Welsh Miscellany, CA 66. It was published nearly 20 years ago, and should not be used as documentation. The reason is simple: it combines legendary early names with late period names, all written using 20th century spellings. This matters for two reasons. While we'll register an early Welsh name, we will not register it in spellings found only in the 20th century. In fact, we will not register names in spellings that aren't found in period from any language. Second, we require names to follow certain rules for temporal compatibility, so we need to know whether a name is used in the 6th century or the 16th century.

So, what do you need to know about Welsh, other than those articles? First, the biggest issue about Welsh is the issue of orthography, how names are written down. Modern Welsh spelling (keep thinking orthography, for us technical folks) is very different from medieval Welsh spellings; for most of the Middle Ages, dd and rh do not appear. Their sounds are represented in writing by d and r. By the sixteenth century, something like modern Welsh spelling is beginning to appear. So, names that appear today as Dafydd and Rhys appear in Welsh contexts during the Middle Ages as David (or Davyd) and Res (or Rys/Ris). It's only very close to 1600 that spellings like the modern ones become at all common. One good source to look at medieval Welsh spellings is "Welsh Prose: 1350-1425" (http://www.rhyddiaithganoloesol.caerdydd.ac.uk/en/). So if you want a name that looks like modern Welsh names, you need to aim for late period. Authenticity requests for the 13th century will create names that look very different than modern Welsh. Names that had fallen out of use by the 16th century (even if they were revived in modern times) often simply cannot be registered in their modern spellings.

The situation of reconstructing spellings is made more complicated by the fact that some of our best records for Welsh names are created by English writers, who often are unfamiliar with the Welsh language and so wind up mangling Welsh names. Others are Latinized, and so use Latin spelling conventions to render names. Thus, sometimes the documentary forms we have for names do not reflect the Welsh of that time. Of course, we'll register the Anglicized or Latinized forms of Welsh names, even in combination or combined with Welsh spellings (though we require each given name or byname to match internally). If you want to create Welsh forms of names only documented in English or Latinized forms, we can accept evidence of Welsh spellings of words with similar sounds from the same time period to reconstruct Welsh spellings from that time. But this is tricky and probably should only be done with the help of an expert.

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