[Spellyans] The Cornish for All Saints' Day

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Thu Feb 5 13:37:15 GMT 2009


Nicholas,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" ?
Jon

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "nicholas williams"
  To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The Cornish for All Saints' Day
  Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 12:52:28 +0000

  Thank you for that. I am sorry to have missed it—and in Tregear too! Mea
  culpa.
  Curiously Nance doesn't give hollsens in his 1955 dictionary.
  The word hollsens doesn't refer to the festival but to the saints
  generally.It is also hollsens not ollsens. The festival would be
  Degol an Hollsens.
  In which case we can forget about Ollsens, which is clearly calqued
  on Breton.
  I am slightly perplexed by Tregear's in communyon an hollsens.Elsewhere
  'all the saints' is rendered by Oll an Sens, e.g. 
  banneth genogh oll an sens BM 578mollath Chryst hag ol an syns! BK
  3157.
  Hollsens isn't the same as that, but looks like a collective noun.The
  position of the article makes me think that (H)ollsens is a
  collective singular rather than a plural.
  Nicholas


  On 5 Feb 2009, at 12:28, Jon Mills wrote:

    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 singular. 
      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 Cornowok.
      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 Ollsens second. 
      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).
      Nicholas 


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    _____________________________________
    Dr. Jon Mills,
    School of European Culture and Languages,
    University of Kent


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