View Full Version : Samhain

Selene Starshadow
March 18th, 2004, 01:55 AM
Me and my boyfriend ot in a little argument today over the pronunciation of samhain...is it sowen, or soween...please help

March 18th, 2004, 01:57 AM
Everything I have ever heard or read was "Sow-wen." At least, that is how my HP pronounced it. :)

Selene Starshadow
March 18th, 2004, 03:02 AM
Yes, that is what i said...i don't understand where he got soween....

March 18th, 2004, 03:03 AM
I would suggest pronouncing it as you write it, in your own language.

For general American, I'd suggest sam-HEY-n.

March 18th, 2004, 03:39 AM
I say sam-HEY-n...but my hubby says SOW-wen:rolleyes: To each their own;)

March 18th, 2004, 03:39 AM
I pronounced it Sam-hey-n for the longest time! But now I know it as Sow-in (Sowen)... but truth be known I don't think it matters that much no matter what you call it, it is still the same beautiful night and day, our new year!:)

March 18th, 2004, 08:27 AM
I pronounce it: Sam-heyn

March 18th, 2004, 10:08 AM
sow-wen for me

March 18th, 2004, 10:47 AM
I don't have occasion to actually use the word that often! :lol: Although I was one of the ones who said "Sam-hane" because I read A LOT and I usually end up pronouncing everything the way it's written and making a fool out of myself! :lol: I've also heard it pronounced "Savv-hen" for those with a more Scots accent...

March 18th, 2004, 12:27 PM
I say sam-HEY-n...but my hubby says SOW-wen:rolleyes: To each their own;)

if we applied that logic to the entire language, then this board wouldn't exist!

it's Sowin, but can also be Soween or Savin, depending on which Gaelic tradition you're following.
Sam Hane? wasn't he the guy from 'Green Acres'?

March 18th, 2004, 04:26 PM
So I guess, according to you, I pronouce it wrong.

Thank you...........

March 19th, 2004, 12:27 AM
Sam Hane? wasn't he the guy from 'Green Acres'?

His last name was "Haney". :D

Anyway, back on topic.
When I type it out, I say "Sam Hain", but pronouncing it out loud, "Sow-en"

March 19th, 2004, 05:26 AM

Lothie Cygnus
March 19th, 2004, 05:50 AM
soween is the way you say it, your boyfriend is brilliant

March 19th, 2004, 06:25 AM
Tell me, why do the gaelic write samhain when they pronounce soween?
Tell me, why should a general English speaking person pronounce soween when it's written samhain?
In Dutch, we write "Samman", both A-s pronounced as the last A in America. We aren't going to pronounce it soween just because some people some time did. Languages evolve. Words are incorporated into the language and get transformed.

Analogy: if you pronounce "Beijing", then don't write "Peking".

March 19th, 2004, 09:28 AM
The Gaelic have a very strange pronounciation of words...

March 19th, 2004, 10:49 AM
Aye, that they do! :lol: All I know of Gaelic I learned from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon! :D (REALLY good story! 4 books and counting... not trashy romance stuff, real /historical/ fiction!)

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
March 19th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Irish Gaelic: sow-ihn
Scots Gaelic: sah-vin

And they write it that way because neither the letter v or w exists in Irish or Scots Gaelic. And yes languages change, but both of these languages are still spoken, so if we're going to borrow words from their language then we should at least have the courtesy to pronounce the word correctly. If you were going to use a word from the French language you wouldn't be so rude as to pronounce it incorrectly would you? So why should you butcher someone else's language just because only a handful of people know it in comparision to other 'major' languages.

This is the Irish alphabet: five vowels -- a, e, i, o, and u -- and thirteen consonants: b, c, d, f, g, h, l, m, n, p, r, s, and t.

In Scots Gaelic it is as follows: five vowels --a, e, i, o, and u -- and 12 consonants: b, c, d, f, g, l, m, n, p, r, s, and t -- h is in a category all its own.

In SG the h always aspirates the preceding consonant, hence why bh or mh always makes a v sound, sh and th make an h sound like in "his", fh is silent, dh and gh vary based upon whether followed by slender or broad vowels, ph sounds like the f in "fox", and ch is like the ch in "loch."

Irish is a bit different. It' mostly similar to SG, but mh and bh actually make a w sound like in "wet," sh and th sound more like the h in "hat," ph is more like the f in "fit," ch, dh, fh, and gh are the same as SG. Additionally dh, gh, and th are silent at the end of a word. However unlike in SG, words with those letter combinations aren't always aspirated.

The Irish also contains eclipsis which are a bit harder to explain. You're better off going here (http://www.contemporarypoetry.com/brain/lang/index.htm) for a comprehensive pronunciation guide.

Aspiration is essentially a way to show grammatical change in these languages, much like English adds -ed to the end of a word to show past or -s at the end to show plural.

I know you didn't ask for all this info, but it's helpful.

March 23rd, 2004, 06:45 AM
Oh, but Saoirse Aiyana, people do, and it drives me nuts! I hate to hear someone say they went to Noter Dayme! Gods!

March 23rd, 2004, 08:39 AM
English does have those letters. So why not borrow the word from pronounciation and write soveen? Americans write government and apparently instead of gouvernement and appearantly. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

I see nothing wrong with pronouncing words as usual in my own language. Dutch must be one of the languages with the most borrowed words. And all of those have strayed from their roots. Lately, we're borrowing a lot of English words. Give people a few years, and those words will be incorporated into our language, losing the connection to the original pronounciation and grammar.

For instance, a word like "downloading" is almost copied. We turn it into "downloaden", because that's the way our verbs are created. The first part of that word is still pronounced like in English, because the letter combination is unnusual in Dutch. But allow for 5 years and the word will be completely Dutch, the spelling will be different and the pronounciation migth stray as well.

I think that development is a good thing. The English language is hard enough with all its variations in spelling and pronounciation. Most of the variations must be learned and can't be deduced. Requiring people to recognise a word is from a different language and thus must be pronounced differently, makes the language even harder.

Morag Elasaid Ni Dhomhnaill
March 23rd, 2004, 12:10 PM
~shrugs~ To each their own, but I firmly believe that any word that is borrowed from another language, should be pronounced properly. Yes English has borrowed from other languages, but usually the word is changed, usually in spelling. However the spelling of such words as Samhain have not been changed and should be pronounced according to the language of their origin. It's my opinon that to do otherwise is quite denigrating to the language and those who speak it. I don't see the problem with staying true to the language. And yes, I get just as annoyed when people don't even bother to speak their own language correctly.

As for Notre Dame, for me there is actually a difference. If you are talking about the cathedral, then yes it should be pronounced as the French pronounce it. However when it comes to the school, since it's inception it has been pronounced in it's bastardized form and so that it is how it should be pronounced.