I am entirely fascinated by the Irish name Siobhan, ever since I started watching Mistresses, where one of the women has that name. So fascinated in fact, that I tell everyone about it and its peculiar pronunciation: “She-vawn“. I always thought you pronounced it “she-oh-ban”. Like She-o-ban Fah-hee of Shakespears Sister. (I’m resisting the temptation to add an apostrophe.) Turns out it’s actually She-vawn Fay-Hee.
Now as I was telling my Welsh co-worker about this amazing discovery, he told me that’s usually the case with Irish names. They are written very differently from how they are pronounced. (Or vice versa.) His example?
Niamh. (A girl’s name.)
It’s pronounced Neev. And no, I am not making it up.
It’s like saying “My name is Carol, it’s pronounced J-O-A-N-N-E.”