Friday, June 24, 2011

Bringing Brythonic Back

Once upon a time, the British Isles had several languages, all descended from Celtic.
If you think of a language tree like a family tree, Celtic was the grandmother (her sisters were Latin and ancient Greek); Celtic's "daughters" were Gaelic & Brythonic, who each had a few "daughters" of their own. When the Anglo-Saxons and other peoples repeatedly migrated to Britain, the Celtic languages were phased out, quite forcibly in some cases; and English, the descendant of Anglo-Saxon, became the primary language. While two Gaelic "daughter" languages--Irish & Scottish--survived to modern times fairly well, two Brythonic languages--Welsh & Breton--were quickly dying, and several languages had been lost.

Over the past decade, there have been movements to preserve and celebrate the history of the British Isles, and part of that is preserving and reviving the pre-invasion languages. Part of that is using original names from those languages, and inventing new ones! If you claim some British blood, or just love the idea of being part of a revival, one of these names may be for you.

  • Boys:
    • Addaon ("ah-THAH-on")
    • Adeon ("ah-DEY-on")--"wing"
    • Aeddon ("EYE-thon")--"fire"
    • Alawn ("AH-loun")--"melody"
    • Arthen ("AR-then")
    • Awen ("OW-en")
    • Bergam ("BER-gam")--an early Welsh poet
    • Cadell ("KAD-ehl")
    • Cadoc ("KAD-ock")
    • Cadwgan ("kad-OOG-an")--also spelled Cadogan
    • Cei ("KYE")--also spelled Cai; King Arthur's foster brother
    • Coel ("KOYL")--"trust"
    • Dai ("DYE")
    • Dylan ("DUL-an")
    • Elidir ("el-IH-dir")
    • Gareth ("GAR-eth")
    • Gethin ("GETH-in")
    • Gruffydd ("GRIF-ith")--anglicized as Griffith or Griffin
    • Heulyn ("HAY-lun")--"ray of sun"
    • Hywel ("HUE-el")--anglicized as Howell
    • Iorweth ("EEOR-weth")--"handsome lord"
    • Mabon ("MAHB-on")--Celtic god of youth
    • Madoc ("MAHD-oc")
    • Meilyr ("MY-lir")
    • Meredydd ("meh-REHD-ith")--anglicized as Meredith
    • Morien ("MOR-yen")
    • Pryderi ("prid-EY-ree")
    • Pwyll ("PU-il")--"wisdom"
    • Rhodri ("HROH-dree")
    • Sulien ("SIL-yen")
  • Girls:
    • Aderyn ("ah-DER-in")
    • Aerona ("eye-ROE-na")--"berry"
    • Aneira ("an-AY-ra")
    • Afanan ("a-VAHN-an")
    • Anwen ("AN-wen")
    • Briallen ("bree-AHL-en")
    • Bronwen ("BRON-wen")
    • Calan ("CAHL-an")--"new year's day"
    • Carys ("CAHR-iss")--"love"
    • Ceridwen ("kerr-EED-wen")--goddess of poetry
    • Eigra ("EY-gra")
    • Eilir ("EY-leer")--"butterfly"
    • Eirian ("ey-REE-an")
    • Eluned ("el-EE-ned")--anglicized as Lynette
    • Ffion ("FEE-on")--"rose"
    • Glenys ("GLEN-is")--"pure"
    • Gwenfrewi ("gwen-vree-OO-ee")
    • Gwenllian ("gwen-HLEE-an")
    • Gwenydd ("GWEN-ith")--"morning star"
    • Gwylan ("GWEE-lan")
    • Gwyneth ("GWIN-eth")--"joy"
    • Hedydd ("HEY-dith")--"skylark"
    • Lluan ("HLEE-an")
    • Lynfa ("LIN-va")
    • Manon ("MAH-non")--"queen"
    • Meinir ("MY-nir")--"tall and slender"
    • Meleri ("mel-EYR-ee")
    • Mwynen ("MWEE-nen")
    • Nerys ("NEH-ris")
    • Olwen ("OHL-wen")
    • Rhiain ("HREE-an"
    • Rhiannon ("hree-AN-on")
    • Rhunedd ("HREE-neth")
    • Seirion ("SAYR-yon")--"sparkling"
    • Seren ("SEHR-en")--"star"
    • Surwen ("SEER-wen")
    • Tegan ("TEG-an")
    • Telyn ("TEL-in")--"harp"
    • Tesni ("TESS-nee")

Cornish (almost all "new" names, very few historical names survive)
  • Boys:
    • Arrans ("AHR-ranz")--"silver"
    • Bideven ("bih-DEV-en")--"hawk"
    • Cador ("CADH-or")
    • Cuilliok ("CUIL-yok")
    • Glewas ("GLOO-as")
    • Golvan ("GALL-van")--"sparrow"
    • Gwynek ("GWEE-nek")
    • Marrek ("MAHR-rek")--"horseman"
    • Zethar ("ZETH-ahr")--"seagull"
  • Girls:
    • Ailla (EYE-la)--"most beautiful"
    • Blejan ("BLEH-jan")--"flower"
    • Bryluen ("bree-LOO-en")--"rose"
    • Elestren ("el-LESS-tren")--"iris"
    • Elowen ("el-OH-en")--"elm"
    • Kelyn ("KELL-in")
    • Kerensa ("kehr-EN-sa")--"love"
    • Kerra ("KEHR-ra")--"dearest"
    • Newlyna ("new-LEE-na")
    • Sevi ("SEV-ee")--"strawberry"
    • Steren ("STEHR-en")--"star"

Breton (technically, a Gallic/French Brythonic language, but it's still undergoing revival!):
  • Boys:
    • Bleiz ("BLAYS", "BLAY")--"wolf"
    • Corentin ("kor-EN-tin")--"hurricane"
    • Judoc ("ZHUD-ohk")
    • Judokael ("zhud-OH-kel")
    • Mael ("MEL")
    • Tanet ("TEY-net")--"afire"
  • Girls:
    • Elara ("ey-LAR-ah")
    • Helori ("hey-LOH-ree")
    • Levenez ("lay-VAY-nayz")--"happiness"
    • Loana ("LOW-na")
    • Maëlys (mah-EL-iss")
    • Melle ("MEY-leh")--"lightning"
  • Unisex:
    • Gwenaël ("gwen-AH-ell")


  1. For a very long time now, I have been wanting to use Cadoc as a short nickname for the longer form Caradoc. I love both options. Great post!

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