Mystery Monday: Yal

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

One of the drawbacks of working from printed editions of manuscripts is that sometimes, when faced with an unidentifiable name, there is no easy way of telling whether the editor — who was problem themself not an onomastic expert — got the transcription right. Was there an overlooked abbreviation mark? A misread letter? If the name was transcribed correctly, what are the odds that the original scribe made a mistake, either copying another manuscript which contained a name they didn’t recognise, or writing down an unfamiliar name? There are so many ways in which things can go wrong.

Today’s name is one where we don’t hold out much ope of ever identifying it. It’s a name recorded in Wales in a Latin document in the mid 13th C, and while the gender and case of the name can be confidently identified from context, the name itself could prove to be forever a mystery, given that English scribes are not renowned for their ability to accurately render Welsh names.

Yal

But on the off chance that someone recognises the name, and can help us with its etymological roots, we’re asking here. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments!

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1 Comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

One response to “Mystery Monday: Yal

  1. Brian M. Scott

    If this is the Valle Crucis Abbey document, the sentence beginning De Yal, Lewelyno filio Ynyr, the Yal is most likely the name of a commote in Denbighshire; the normalized spelling is Iâl. See the Index of Persons and Places in The Acts of Welsh Rulers: 1120-1283, which lists Ial, Yal, and Yayl as variants. The names following De Yal are apparently those of the secular witnesses from Iâl.

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