Vol. 69 No. 1 (2021)
Articles

Developing the Gaois Linguistic Database of Irish-language Surnames

Brian Ó Raghallaigh
Dublin City University
Bio
Michal Boleslav Měchura
Dublin City University
Aengus Ó Fionnagáin
University of Limerick
Sophie Osborne
Dublin City University

Published 2021-02-15

Keywords

  • anthroponymy,
  • surnames,
  • database,
  • Irish,
  • Celtic,
  • Gaelic
  • ...More
    Less

How to Cite

Ó Raghallaigh, B., Měchura, M. B. ., Ó Fionnagáin, A., & Osborne, S. (2021). Developing the Gaois Linguistic Database of Irish-language Surnames. Names, 69(1), 10–19. https://doi.org/10.5195/names.2021.2251

Abstract

It is now commonplace to see surnames written in the Irish language in Ireland, yet there is no online resource for checking the standard spelling and grammar of Irish-language surnames. We propose a data structure for handling Irish-language surnames which comprises bilingual (Irish–English) clusters of surname forms. We present the first open, data-driven linguistic database of common Irish-language surnames, containing 664 surname clusters, and a method for deriving Irish-language inflected forms. Unlike other Irish surname dictionaries, our aim is not to list variants or explain origins, but rather to provide standard Irish-language surname forms via the web for use in the educational, cultural, and public spheres, as well as in the library and information sciences. The database can be queried via a web application, and the dataset is available to download under an open licence. The web application uses a comprehensive list of surname forms for query expansion. We envisage the database being applied to name authority control in Irish libraries to provide for bilingual access points.

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