He Needed a Name. Questions related to Kyrie have come up from three or four different people this week. That’s FAQ levels of inquiry, so I thought I’d do a blog post. Who knows, maybe you’ve been wondering about this, too. ::twinkle::
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They would give them a home and teach them how to be the best of all worlds. Starting with this little one, who needed them as much as he needed a name. An idea sparked, and Tsumiko started along the path again, aiming for the central courtyard. “I want to show you something.”
A stone archway spanned the broad entrance, and words were chiseled deep into the stone. Argent scanned the Latin and translated, “God Have Mercy.”
“Yes. Kyrie eleison … my favorite song and the school’s motto. I thought Kyrie might make a good name for a child who needed mercy and found it.”
“Kyrie,” he said, testing the syllables.
—Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox (Amaranthine Saga, #1)
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Pronunciation. Kyrie’s name is properly pronounced with three syllables (KEE-ree-yay), which is the Latin word for “lord.” You can check out YouTube, where abundant recordings of Tsumiko’s favorite song are available. But since I’m ever and always a fangirl and Death Note‘s OST is memorable for its sonorous Latin choruses, I’ll link you there – Death Note Kyrie, Kyrie II And Kyrie Orchestra.
Origination. Some of you kindly flagged the above scene in order to correct my reference to Latin, pointing out that kyrie eleison is Greek. You are not wrong. But neither am I. (And this is where I start to sound like a total nerd, but not a defensive one. Because this stuff is really cool, but can be a little confusing.)
The phrase kyrie eleison is usually translated “Lord, have mercy.” For those who keep a Greek New Testament handy, you’ll find it in Matthew 20:31, where two blind beggars call out to Jesus, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David.” And in Greek, the letters look like this (less a diacritical marking or two):
In the Greek, kurie comes from the root kurios, which means “lord,” and is properly pronounced KOO-ree-yay. This word/phrase was later transliterated into Latin, where it became the basis for the music we mostly associate with masses and cathedrals. And in Latin, which uses the same romanized alphabet as English, the phrases is (usually) spelled kyrie eleison and is pronounced/sung in the now familiar KEE-ree-yay ee-LAY-ee-sohn.
Reasons. Tsumiko’s favorite song is sung in Latin. The stone arch in the central courtyard of St. Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights is inscribed in Latin. So I consider Kyrie’s given name Latin in origin, even though it’s a borrowed word (transliterated) from biblical Greek. Which was in turn translated from the original Hebrew, but that’s another story. And … does all that really matter?
Tsumiko chose a name that held personal meaning for her and for her adopted son. (As a bonus, it’s super easy to transliterate and pronounce in Japanese.) And hey. For those of you who actually read (or maybe skimmed) through ALL of this, I offer a teensy teaser. Kyrie will be back in Book 4. So there. ::twinkle::
I’m glad so many of my readers CARE about details like this. Here’s to word nerds everywhere! ::glomp::