How do you pronounce your name ?

One of the most frequently asked questions of members of our Clan is "how do you pronounce your name ?"  That is a surprisingly difficult question, considering that the name is approximately 1300 years old. 
The clan name "Mhuintir Luinigh" is correctly pronounced "min-ter-luh-nee" in the modern Irish language.  During the late 1800’s, it was spelled "Munterloney" in English on a map of County Tyrone Northern Ireland, so it was probably pronounced "mun-ter-low-nee" in English at that time.
During the late 1500’s, correspondents of the court of Queen Elizabeth I spelled Turlough Luineach’s name as "Tirlagh Lennagh" in English, so I assume that they pronounced it "len-nah".
"Lunney" has been the accepted English spelling of "Luinigh" in County Tyrone since at least the early 1600’s.  In County Fermanagh, it is often spelled "Lunny" also.  My American Lunney family pronounces our surname as "lun-nee", but when I was in County Tyrone in 2004, the people there, when showed the name "Lunney" in writing, pronouned it as "law-neh".  Most Americans mispronounce my family name as "loo-nee" unless corrected… I usually don’t bother to correct them any more.
To further confuse matters, there are many variations on the original spelling, including "Luineach", "Luinech", "Luinigh" and "Luinin" in Irish, and "Lunney", "Lunny", "Luney", "Lunnie", "Lunnye", "Lunyn", "Lenagh", "Lennagh", "Lenney", "Leny", "Leynagh", "Leyning", "Lennen", "Lennan", "Lennon", "Leonard",  "Linney", "Lineen", "Linnen", "Lynnegar", "Linnegar", "Linacre", "Linan", "Lowney", "Loney", "Looney", "Loonyne", "Loonie", and "Launay" in English, and probably some others.  The reason for the wide variety of spellings and pronounciations dates back to the 1300’s, when King Edward III of England forbid the use of the Irish language, and ordered every Irish family to adopt an English-sounding and spelled surname.  Each household made up their own English-sounding surname and spelling, or had one made up for them by the English authorities.
I bet that you’re sorry that you asked ! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Muintir Luinigh Matters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s