how to pronounce Samhain?

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum how to pronounce Samhain?

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  • #12265
    Startree
    Participant

    is Samhain pronounced sow-ain, and is the sow like cow or sew? the Irish say sow-in. this is the time to kill pigs for meat. it is slaughter month. like the Irish chain saw massacre. how do they pronounce Samhain in cherrie Cornwall, Dowgri? I think I like it pronounced as sow-ain? why is the piggy sacred to druids? how is this pronounced in Wales
    David? also it is Celtic new year if you go my the green goddess.

    #12267
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    In Irish Gaelic it’s more or less “sa’win” or “sown”, depending on the dialect. Scots and Manx Gaelic have slight different pronunciations/variations respectively – Samhainnor and Sauin. I believe the word refers to the Month of November – Mí na Samhna, more or less pronounced “mee na souna”. The night of the 31st is Oíche Shamhna, pronounced “ee howna”.

    There is no Cornish pronunciation in the sense that this is a Gaelic word. The Cornish term is Nos Kalan Gwav. The Irish word is believed to derive from a Celtic root *sam connected to summer. The Cornish word gwav, connected to the Welsh and Breton forms, means winter. It has been said that Samhain was the Celtic New Year, however, I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence to support that. The Welsh word for November is Tachwedd, which means the month of slaughter. October in Welsh is Hydref, the month of the stag call.

    Bennathow
    /|\

    #12268
    david poole
    Participant

    In Irish Samhain is pronounced sow-in (as in cow), in English it is pronounced sah-win with a silent m. It is never pronounced sam-hane, please note. In Welsh it is pronounced Sow-een, in Scottish Gaelic it is sav-en.

    #12269
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hi David,

    The way it’s pronounced in Irish is more like “saa’win” but in Connacht dialect is more like “sown”, I think the Anglicised pronunciation is more like “sow’in” and this sounds more similar to the Scots Gaelic. There’s a good resource online that helps with Irish pronunciation in three major dialects.

    https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fuaim/

    Bennathow
    /|\

    #12270
    david poole
    Participant

    Thanks Dowrgi, I will check that out.

    #12278
    Adam_Darkforest
    Participant

    I pronounce it Sow-inn

    Sow (As in a female pig) and inn (a roadside hotel). I say it regularly in my work and never been corrected so I guess it’s correct.

    #12281
    david poole
    Participant

    If you search for this online you can actually hear samhain being pronounced as an audio file, I tend to think of samhain as sow-ain but that is just me.

    #12282
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hi David.

    Gaelic spellings and pronunciations can be difficult to learn and there’s also a fair bit of variation depending on the dialect being used.

    I hear “SAA’win” with the stress on the first syllable and the “aa” more or less as in “father”, whereas in the Connacht dialect “soun” is almost like English “sound” without the final consonant. A lot of English speakers say “sow-win”, with sow as in female pig and draw out the vowels, so to speak. I’ve never, up to now, heard of anyone saying “sam-hane”, but I believe that’s how some do (erroneously) pronounce it.

    Bennathow
    /|\

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