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[Facts] Commonwealth Games jawdropper - Indian?
I posted this on the Opinions board in case there was something obvious that I'd missed. But nobody seemed to know anything.I don't necessarily trust some newspaper person saying that a name is Indian, or is anything, without proof. And this one looks fishy - but her parents must have got it from somewhere. Any info?Previous message:http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-21212368.htmlThere is an Irish swimmer named Sycerika Macmahon. The explanation on the above website (a Belfast newspaper) is: "The first thing that strikes you is her Indian name and it somehow seems appropriate that it should mean "flame of a candle" because she clearly has a burning desire second to none."Unfortunately, there the explanation ends. But, whatever its connotations may be in India, all I saw (and heard from the commentators) was "sick Erika", and I'm willing to bet that a lot of her contemporaries at school had the same idea, more especially since she doesn't look Indian (whatever that means). And Sycerika hasn't made it to the BtN database either.Any thoughts and/or information?
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Maybe "Indian" means "Native American" here, enlarging the search space. I was able to locate a second name bearer of the name in the United Kingdom, but not explanations of the source of the name.Just from the sound it could as well be a revival of the long forgotten Old High German name Zeizrich [masculine] (the name element #ZEIS# died out almost completely in the early mediaeval ages. In Low German, specially East Frisian, it survived until today in the form #TET#).
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Difficult to figure out what the original inspiration for this name was: I do not know enough about what the names is supposed to be pronounced as: I have no idea what to do with the -y- and -c-. Nothing about flame and candle in Sanskrit comes to mind immediately. The -ika ending is, of course, possible in Sanskrit, it is usually a feminine diminutive or hypochoristic, but I am lost about the rest.There is a sucaritA (c as in English chair, t as in French tu) meaning someone with a good (su- like Greek eu-) character and car (originally move, here conduct oneself). One can imagine sucArikA (from the same roots ultimately, there is a causative after the car making it cAr, meaning a good female attendant, but not in a very flattering sense). There is a root shuc (The sh- as in English sugar, the -c at end of a root often becomes -k in derivatives) meaning bright or resplendent that gives words ranging over meanings as varied as bright, Venus, parrot, pure, burning pain, sorrow and semen. But I can't think how to get "flame of a candle" from that.May be it is not Sanskrit origin after all. It does not seem to have the right structure for a Dravidian, Semitic, or Tibeto-Burman name. Austrasiatic may be possible depending on the sound of the -y- and -c-. May be not Indian or distorted beyond recognition?
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Sorry meant to add shiny, mother-of-pearl, fire to the list of meanings that are found in derivatives of the root shuc. So, concerned about showing the semantic breadth that forgot to list the meanings that made me thing of the word in the first place :-)
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Thanks, Tanmoy - that pretty well confirms my suspicions, though I don't know if they're suspicions of shoddy journalists or imaginative parents. And your semantic breadth is wonderful, as usual.Over on the Opinions Board, someone from the UK had this to say: "When I saw some of the swimming on TV the other day I'm sure I heard the commentators pronouncing it like She-reeka but I couldn't say for definite. I've also heard her referred to as Se-reeka,(like Serena but Sereka) so nothing like "sick Erica"! I had wondered about her name, didn't realise it was Indian!" Which probably means that I should add confused TV commentators to my list of suspects.
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The other Sanskrit word used as a name that is even vaguely similar is shikhA which means sharp, and pointed. It means a number of things like peak, crown, and hair, but the relevant one is flame.
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Interesting! Never heard of or seen the name Sycerika.The one thing that struck me is that Irish pronunciation is different from English. And in Irish, "S" before a soft vowel like e or i usually becomes "Sh" -- Sean, Sinead, Seamus, Siobhan, etc. Not sure what Y would be in Irish, but in my mind it fits with the e or i.So it could well be that her parents were attempting the pronunciation of "Shi-kerika".Or if you read the "ce" is another "sh" sound, the name would be "Sherika" which would account for the announcers calling her "she-ree-ka".If Shikha means "flame" as stated above, it could be that they made it "Sherika" based on that meaning -- and then, an elaborately long spelling to get there.
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So this intrigued me and I tried to look for Youtube videos of the athlete introducing herself or saying her own name.I couldn't find any. But I could find several where the announcers were calling her "Se-REE-ka".Then Googling for "Sycerika name" only brings up articles about how Sycerika McMahon has such a hard to pronounce name, or more generally, articles about her swim meets & victories.Now I am really intrigued how she pronounces it.
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The spelling (with the non-irish letters Y and K) does not suggest an irish pronounciation that is always hard to guess for outsiders. The pronounciation Se-REE-ka seems to drop the first syllable completely and would fit to a spelling Cerika well.Another data point: I searched Google books and found 5 results. Only two of them predate the birth of Sycerika MacMahon. The Two works are:Title The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes
Translated by Seamus Heaney
Edition reprint
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991
ISBN 0374522898, 9780374522896
Length 81 pagesTitle The Steward of Christendom
Author Sebastian Barry
Contributor Royal Court Theatre
Edition reprint
Publisher Dramatists Play Service, 1998
ISBN 0822216094, 9780822216094
Length 57 pagesThere are no snippets nor previews, so I cannot tell why those two books are Google hits. I have no information where the name occurs (in the preface, in the acknowledgement, as a fictional character?).

This message was edited by the author 8/4/2014, 3:18 AM

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Seamus Heaney was most certainly Irish - I'll try to find his Philoctetes and report back. Shouldn't think I could track down the Seb Barry play locally.
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