[Spellyans] The Cornish for All Saints' Day
j.mills at email.com
Thu Feb 5 12:28:59 GMT 2009
SWF ollsens is from GKK ollsens. George gives Tregear as the source of
this item, "All Saints" as its translation equivalent, and labels it "PL",
plural. In Tregear (Homily 39) the phrase "communyon an hollsens"
translates Bonner's 'the communion of saynctes'.Jon
----- Original Message -----
From: "nicholas williams"
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
Subject: [Spellyans] The Cornish for All Saints' Day
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 11:44:04 +0000
In his dictionary of the SWF Dan has Ollsens 'All Hallows'. This has
been borrowed from Breton Hollsent.Dan gives the word as plural. This
is not, I think, correct. In Breton it is singular.The sense is 'All
Saints' Day', and refers to the feast day rather than 'all the
saints'. I think pl. should bechanged to masc. sing. here.Breton an
Hollsent is itself a calque on French la Toussaint, which is feminine
The only attested word for 'All Saints' Day' in Cornish is (in KS
spelling) De Halan Gwâv. This occurs in thefamous entry of 1572 in
the Exeter Consistory Court depositions:
Wm Hawysche, of Lelant, tynner, from birth resident, aged 40, sayeth
that upon Dew Whallan Gwa Metten inEglos De Lalant, viz. upon all
hallow day late paste about the mydds of the service in the parish
church of LalantMoryshe David’s wife and Cicely James came into the
church of Lalant together and in chiding with words togetherCycely
called Agnes Davey whore and whore bitch in English and not in
All Saints' Day is the first of November and was a way of
Christianising the beginning of the pagan Celtic winter.In my own
dictionary under All Saints I give De Halan Gwaf (UCR) first and
The attested De Halann Gwav (?*Dy'Halann Gwav) does not appear to be
in the Gerlyvrik but the unattested Ollsens is. And it is wrongly
given as plural.
Incidentally the foreword to Alys in Pow an Anethow I dated Degol
Maria kyns Nadelyk, i.e. thefeast of the Conception of the BVM (this
latter is the English name in the Book of Common Prayer). The
festival iscelebrated on the 8th December. The Cornish version is my
calque on Irish Lá Fhéile Muire roimh Nollaig 'the festival of the
BVM before Christmas',and neatly sidesteps any theological questions
about Our Lady's conception (for those anoraks who could care less).
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Spellyans at kernowek.net
Dr. Jon Mills,
School of European Culture and Languages,
University of Kent
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