Plé:Contae Chill Chainnigh

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Hi there,

im author in the german wiktionary and i have a litte problem with the names of Kilkenny (City) and Kilkenny Co.

I have had thougt that Kilkenny is Cill Chainnigh in Irish an Kilkenny Co. is CHill Chainnigh.

What is about Cathair Chill Chainnigh. I thougt it is like Kilkenny City while Cill Chainnigh is only Kilkenny (which is the same in fact).

An it seems to be the same with Cill Chainnigh (as County) and Contae Chill Chainnigh.

Why is it once whritten with ch and once with only c

Many thanks,

Thorsten.alge 21:14, 30 Bealtaine 2008 (UTC)

Hi. Consider reading this article.
What you are referring to there is "lenition". "Lenierung" auf Deutsch(?).
Put very simply, depending on context, some consonants in Irish are softened by the addition of what is called a séimhú in Irish. The "séimhú" is represented by the extra "h" that you are referring to above.
One of the siuations in which a séimhú is used is when certain nouns are in the genetic case. (Specifically, in the "possessive" where one noun "belongs" to another noun. "The church window", "Daniel's car", etc. Or other cases where it's "The car of Daniel", etc.)
"Cill Chainnigh" does indeed simply translate as "Kilkenny".
The séimhú (the extra "h") is added in the cases you mention because the object is in the genitive case.
  • "The city of Killkenny" = "Cathair Chill Chainnigh".
  • "The county of Kilkenny" = "Contae Chill Chainnigh".
Make sense?
I expect it might be easier for me to explain if I could think of a similar occurrence of this kind of German, but I can't think of any.
Anyway, I think the main basis of your question is around what the REAL Irish names for Kilkenny City and Kilkenny County actually are. Most people would understand the "Kilkenny" (no qualifier) to mean the city. However, for the sake of clarity, if you are asking so that you can update the German language project accurately, it might be best to add a qualifier to both. That way there can be no ambiguity:
  • "Cathair Chill Chainnigh" = Kilkenny City (City of Kilkenny)
  • "Contae Chill Chainnigh" = County Kilkenny (County of Kilkenny)
Let me know if you need any more explanation.
(Oh, and FYI, not to confuse matters even further, but "Cill Chainnigh" itself has another genetive/posessive séimhú in it. The "h" in "Chainnigh" derives from the fact that it is the "Church of Canice". ("Cill" means church in this context).
Tschüs. Guliolopez 22:12, 30 Bealtaine 2008 (UTC)


Actually. I just thought of an example that might help. It's not an example involving lenition. But it's an example of the "mutation" of a noun in German that is brought about by the genitive case:
Das Auto meines Bruders
Normally it's just "mein Bruder". And "das Auto". But because it's "the car of my brother", you get the mutation.
Again, it's not exactly the same, but I think you get the point.
Bis bald. (Auf wieder schreiben? Is "auf wieder schreiben" correct? Ah well...) Guliolopez 22:23, 30 Bealtaine 2008 (UTC)


Tá an t-alt seo glanta - ní raibh an ghramadach ar fheabhas. Colin Ryan 00:25, 29 Aibreán 2009 (UTC)