Friday, November 1, 2013

Regarding the Pronunciation of my Name


 Morgen le Fay by Mari-Na
When I first decided to change my name, I chose the spelling as M-O-R-G-A-I-N-E  because I wanted the numerology to work with my birth name.  I decided to pronounce it "MOR-gun" however.  Over the years many people have pronounced it "mor-GANE" with a long 'A.' I have recently stopped correcting them, figuring that they were probably right.
I recently came across some validation though, that my way of pronouncing it is correct. The following is from an article by SCA-dian Heather Rose Jones. In short, Morgaine is how the French spelled 'Morgen' (as in 'Morgen Le Fey') and they pronounced it "Mor-gen." It has no connection to the male name 'Morgan.'
Morgen And Geoffrey Of Monmouth
Now we come to the Great Confusion. Geoffrey of Monmouth was a historical writer in the 12th century. He took a number of traditional historical tales and "dressed them up" for new audiences. One of the things he did was to provide names for a large number of characters that apparently had been left unnamed in previous versions of the stories. Without going into the details, we can determine that Geoffrey took these names from a variety of sources. Sometimes he used names that were being used in Britain at that time. Other times, he borrowed names from written sources that had once been used, but which he didn't recognize. And there are a number of clear examples where he mangled those names, either through ignorance or indifference to their original form and meaning. A characteristic case is that of the name Guendoleu, a man's name from early Welsh poetry. Geoffrey not only misread it as Guendolen but used it for a female character. [Hutson]
Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the first stories that describe the Arthurian character we now call "Morgen le Fay", who first appears in his "Vita Merlini" ("The Life of Merlin,") written in the 12th century. Geoffrey calls the character Morgen, and identifies her as the chief of nine sisters who preside over the "isle of apples", i.e., Avalon. [Bromwich] Although it is possible to see a motivation for using this name in the "sea/Mor" connection, there is no reason to assume -- based on many of his other choices -- that he had any particular motivation at all. And while it is possible to extrapolate from the fact that the Irish cognate Muirgen was used for both men and women, and hypothesize that the Welsh Morgen may also have been in ordinary use for both men and women, we have no direct evidence of this. Given the example of Guendoleu/Guendolen we have no reason to believe that such a consideration would have been important to Geoffrey.
It is almost certain that Geoffrey knew the name Morgen from written sources rather than from hearing it used. At his time, the pronunciation would have been "MO:R-yen" and based on other examples in his work, the names he was likely to have heard spoken are rendered more phonetically, rather than retaining the conservative Old Welsh spellings. (A typical example of this is the name of a local saint, which Geoffrey renders phonetically as Duvianus, but which would have been Dubianus in the written sources he was using. [Hutson])
Geoffrey's work became the source for virtually all following Arthurian material, so the names he used -- for whatever reason - - were widely perpetuated.
Morgain(e)When Geoffrey's stories and the names within them made their way to France, any possible connection with the original Welsh pronunciation was lost entirely. The French saw the name Morgen and guessed that it would be best represented by Morgain (pronounced "mo:r-ge:n"). This became the standard French spelling of the characters name. [Bromwich] Later, the form Morgaine evolved by analogy with other French women's names ending in -e.

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