[Spellyans] The Cornish for All Saints' Day

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 14:18:02 GMT 2009

Holl for 'all' prefixed to the noun is very common in Tregear.
It also occurs in
Me ell mose dur an hole country
Gen Tubmas peeber ha e thean
in the Bilbao MS.

It might looks as though the Cornish word oll 'all'  has been  
by English 'whole'; but holl- is also attested as prefix in Welsh,  
e.g. Duw Hollalluog 'Almighty God', so holl- here is probably  
authentic, although
the root is oll-; cf. Irish ule, uile.

Hollsens clearly means 'all the saints' and is a collective rather  
than a simple plural, though
it is plural in form. Geiriadur Pryfysgol gives Welsh Hollsaint as one  
word and glosses it in English
'all saints, the saints in heaven collectively'.
The Cornish Hollsens is the exact equivalent.

In Dan's dictionary Ollsens should, perhaps, be emended to Hollsens  
and placed under H.
It would also probably be better to describe it as coll. rather than pl.

There is a difference between
Calan Gwav, de Halan Gwav 'the first of November, the beginning of the  
pagan Celtic winter'; cf. W Calan Gaeaf
and Degol an Hollsens, Welsh Gwyl yr Hollsaint 'the Christian festival  
of All Saints'.


On 5 Feb 2009, at 13:37, Jon Mills wrote:

> Why do you think this form has initial <h>? Is it OLL + SENS? Or is  
> it something else: HOL + SENS?
> And why did Tregear not simply write, "in cummunyon an sens" ?

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