Author Topic: St Nicholas' day  (Read 8144 times)

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Offline Sunny

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St Nicholas' day
« on: December 06, 2010, 08:31:52 AM »
Maybe this is a odd reason to start a new topic, but today it's S. Nicholas day (Santa Claus in North Europe), either in Catholic calendar (i think of this 'cause i'm Catholic) and in the Ortodox one, so i was thinking of Nicholas today, going to work... 
Just a little moment to think to him, 'cause it would be his name day - a very important day in Ortodox calendar, as you maybe already know.
Just to wish him a happy nameday  :)
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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 04:39:35 PM »
Interesting that's it was on this day in 1917 that Finland declared independence from Russia. But of course by then Nicholas II, Grand Duke of Finland, was already dead. It's celebrated as Independence Day in Finland.

Maybe this is a odd reason to start a new topic, but today it's S. Nicholas day (Santa Claus in North Europe), either in Catholic calendar (i think of this 'cause i'm Catholic) and in the Ortodox one [..]
a very important day in Ortodox calendar, as you maybe already know.
As you too might know the Orthodox will celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas on the 19th of December, as the Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar. But Finland followed the Julian calendar, so it was really Niklasdagen / Niklaspäivä there.

Speaking of the name Nicholas, so odd it's written with an "h" in English as a way of transliterating the tonic diacritic on the "o" of the original Greek Νικόλαος!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 05:01:25 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 05:23:35 PM »
But of course by then Nicholas II, Grand Duke of Finland, was already dead.
Uff da, not dead, just no longer reigning.

Offline matushka

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 04:33:21 AM »
Actually the civil calendar is the Gregorian one; part of the Orthodox Church follow the Julian calendar. In fact, some orthodox churches (the Greek, for example) will celebrate st Nicholas the 6th december, some other (the Russian for example) the 19 th december...

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2011, 04:53:53 AM »
You are quite right, matushka, I can't believe I mixed up the Julian and Gregorian calendars! Stupid me connects the Gregorian one with the Middle Ages because of Pope Gregory the Great and the Julian with the Renaissance because of Pope Julius II.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 05:00:26 AM by Фёдор Петрович »

Offline Sunny

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 11:05:47 AM »
Interesting that's it was on this day in 1917 that Finland declared independence from Russia. But of course by then Nicholas II, Grand Duke of Finland, was already dead. It's celebrated as Independence Day in Finland.

Maybe this is a odd reason to start a new topic, but today it's S. Nicholas day (Santa Claus in North Europe), either in Catholic calendar (i think of this 'cause i'm Catholic) and in the Ortodox one [..]
a very important day in Ortodox calendar, as you maybe already know.
As you too might know the Orthodox will celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas on the 19th of December, as the Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar. But Finland followed the Julian calendar, so it was really Niklasdagen / Niklaspäivä there.

Speaking of the name Nicholas, so odd it's written with an "h" in English as a way of transliterating the tonic diacritic on the "o" of the original Greek Νικόλαος!

I must confess i have nerver studied greek, but of course, in russian is obviously much more similar to greek than to english... I think the english version comes from the latin one, "Nicolaus" so the "h" would be explained: Nicolaus ---> Nicholas   to better pronounce it. I'm thinking of course...
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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 08:48:52 PM »
I think the english version comes from the latin one, "Nicolaus" so the "h" would be explained: Nicolaus ---> Nicholas   to better pronounce it. I'm thinking of course...

It is true that some Greek words are spelled with "ch" in Latin and in English even though they are pronounced with a /k/ sound, e.g. "psychologia" / "psychology". But then the "ch" usually represents Greek χ, "kh". The English spelling Nicholas is probably influenced by this pattern ("ch" pronounced, quite illogically as /k/) and as you suggest, probably entered English as a variety from Latin. But the correct Latin form is Nicolaus. The Greek form Νικόλαος transliterates as Nikólaos.

Offline TimM

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 02:26:46 AM »
So many different ways to spell that name :)
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Offline Sunny

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 12:01:33 PM »
I think the english version comes from the latin one, "Nicolaus" so the "h" would be explained: Nicolaus ---> Nicholas   to better pronounce it. I'm thinking of course...

It is true that some Greek words are spelled with "ch" in Latin and in English even though they are pronounced with a /k/ sound, e.g. "psychologia" / "psychology". But then the "ch" usually represents Greek χ, "kh". The English spelling Nicholas is probably influenced by this pattern ("ch" pronounced, quite illogically as /k/) and as you suggest, probably entered English as a variety from Latin. But the correct Latin form is Nicolaus. The Greek form Νικόλαος transliterates as Nikólaos.

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Offline Naslednik

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 09:59:32 PM »
Fyodor Petrovich, what is the 'tonic diacritic' that you mention:
Quote
"a way of transliterating the tonic diacritic on the "o" of the original Greek Νικόλαος!
"

It occurs to me that if you pronounce the "i" in Nicholas as a long "ee" the way so many cultures do, it makes it easier for the "ch" to have the flavor of a Greek or Russian "X" as you mentioned.  In other words, the h is no longer gratuitous. The tongue has already compressed the air in "ee" and the glottal X follows easily.  But Russians just pronounce the K as it is, anyway.

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 06:04:01 PM »
Fyodor Petrovich, what is the 'tonic diacritic' that you mention
The acute accent in Νικόλαος. Like Chinese and Norwegian, Ancient Greek was a tonal (or pitch) language.

But it turns out I was wrong. The many h's you see in words with Greek origin are there either because of the letter X/χ (e.g. in psychology) or because of the so-called "rough breathing" (e.g. in hero). Neither of these are written with a separate letter representing the sound /h/ in Greek, the h is added when it's Romanized.

But neither of these cases apply to Νικόλαος, which is written with a simple kappa in Greek, representing the sound /k/.

When I asked the question of where the h came from here, I got this good answer:
"The original form of the name used in English was "Nicol": it was established before the Norman conquest, usually for monks. Withycombe says the intrusive "h" is found as early as 12C, and goes along with the idea that it probably appeared in the confusion arising from Latinizing of Greek words with the aspirated single letters -- theta, rho, phi, and chi."

So it originally was a mistake, etymologically speaking. Obviously the Normans didnt't always read ch as [tʃ] or [c], but also as [kʰ], since they quite often wrote Nicole (i.e. Lincoln) as Nichole, according to the Anglo-Norman Online Hub.  
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 06:10:07 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Alixz

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2011, 02:43:53 PM »
Interestingly, there are many Nicholas's in my husband's family tree.  They are all Italian

My husband is first generation American, but he is totally Italian as most of his ancestors, including his father, were born in Italy.

The spelling is usually Nicole but pronounced Neegoll with the accent on the "goll".  Nee GOLL. The "o" is not a long o but more like aw.  Nee GAWL.

The name Nicholas, according to most information, is a Greek name that comes from  'nike' = 'victory', 'laus' = 'to the people'

I wonder how it came to be in the Russian Royal family with Nicholas I?

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2011, 03:27:44 PM »
The spelling is usually Nicole but pronounced Neegoll with the accent on the "goll".  Nee GOLL. The "o" is not a long o but more like aw.  Nee GAWL.
Nicole is not a usual Italian spelling of the boy's name, which usually is Niccolò or Nicola. Perhaps Nicole is a regional variety? Especially since in standard Italian, all three syllables would be pronounced.

Quote
I wonder how it came to be in the Russian Royal family with Nicholas I?
Good question. Since his imperious grandmother still was alive at his birth and for a few months afterwards, I presume she decided the name, just like she did with his siblings? But it didn't have much of a royal tradition, except in the houses of Lorraine and Mecklenburg*, she must have chosen it for its Orthodoxity.

Or perhaps she named him after an author who must have been closer to her mind than the Enlightenment authors she claimed to have taken to her heart: Niccolò Machiavelli..... !?

* Interestingly the Slavic founder of the House of Mecklenburg was called Niklot. Catherine the Great undoubtedly descended from him through multiple lines and perhaps the Slavic-German mix appealed to her?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 03:39:32 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Alixz

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Re: St Nicholas' day
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2011, 04:12:15 PM »
You are right - it is Nicola, but it might be a regional pronunciation because my father in law always calls my son Nee GAWL.  We spelled it Nicholas.