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Pronounciations


Guest Taliesin
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I'm sure this is already on the site somewhere but can't find it. Is there a glossary of how some names like sabbats are pronounced, like Imbolc, Lughnassadh, Samhain and I'm sure there are many others?

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Oddly, I found that pronunciation chart didn't pronounce words the way I've heard most people pronounce them, so i wonder whether it's from the US and they pronounce things differently there?

 

 

Samhain (31 Oct) -- Irish Gaelic for "summer's end." The standard Irish pronunciation is "sow-in" with the "ow" like in "cow." Other pronunciations that follow with the many Gaelic dialects include

"sow-een" "shahvin" "sowin" (with "ow" like in "glow")."

 

The standard UK pronounciation is sow-ain, although I've heard sow-in. Stress on the first syllable.

 

Imbolg/Imbolc (1 Feb) -- Pronounce this one "IM-bullug" or "IM-bulk" with a guttural "k" on the

end.

 

I have never heard the "b" pronounced in the UK. The only pronounciation I've heard is Im-olk. Stress on first syllable.

 

 

 

Ostara (21 Mar) -- Saxon name for a maiden goddess of spring, loosely connected to Astarte and Ishtar. This one's easy --"o-STAHR-uh." Other names include Eostre (say "OHS-truh" or "EST-truh"). This is the spring equinox.

 

this is all garbage, apart from the second sentence. Eostre tends to be pronounced Ees-truh. Stress on first syllable.

 

 

 

Beltane/Bealtaine Unlike Samhain, this word can

within the linguistic structure of its language of origin be

pronounced like it looks -- "BELL-tane" -.

 

agreed. :)

 

 

 

Litha (21 Jun) -- Norse or Anglo-Saxon for "longest day." You can say this one just like it looks, or you can try for a Scandinavian sound and say "leetha" with the "th" more like a "t."

This is the summer solstice.

 

total garbage again, including the maning given to the word. there are two distinct "th" sounds in Old Norse and neither is promounced as a "t". Eth (looks like a lower case "d" with a cross across the upstroke) is pronounced like "th" in "the" or "then", while Thorn is pronounced like "th" in "though", with the teeth further back on the tongue, giving a softer, less buzzy, sound. Liþa has a thorn so is pronounced Leetha, with a soft "th".

 

Lughnasadh/Lunasa or Lammas (1 Aug) -- The first is Irish Gaelic for "festival of Lugh" (a major Irish deity); the second is Anglo-Saxon for "festival of the loaves" ("hlaf-mass"). Say "LOO-nah-sah." Lammas is just like it looks, "LAH-mus."

 

right for Lughnasadh, wrong for Lammas. In the UK we pronounce Lammas with a short "a". or rather, with two short "a"s. :P La-mas. As the word is anglo Saxon, I would hope we have a better grasp of how to pronounce it.

 

 

Mabon (21 Sep) -- This is believed to be a form of the Welsh word for "son." Therefore, it would probably be pronounced "MA-bon"

with the "a" like in "mass." However, most Wiccans and pagans say "MAY-bon." This is the autumn equinox.

 

No they don't. All the times I've heard it pronounced it's Ma-bon, with a short "a" and stress on the first syllable.

 

Now, I'm not saying these words may not be pronounced differently elsewhere in the country, but I've talked to many pagans over the last decade or so, and the pronunciations I've given are what I hear. so it will interesting to see if anyone comes up with other pronunciations! :D

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As the Gaelic words are borrowed into English, their pronunciation is arbitrary except within a given usage and I don't think the totality of neo-pagan practice is coherent enough to give them an established common usage pronunciation. So it's probably best to say that we can only try to maintain consistency within our own practice. The other option is to try to pronounce them as they are pronounced in Gaelic, though I was once told by a Gaelic speaker that Lughnasadh would not be pronounced the same in different parts of Gaelic speaking Ireland, let alone Scotland and that there would not even be total agreement about the spelling (whether to maintain the historic spelling or spell it more like a standardised average of its pronunciation today - e.g. Lu[g]nasa.

 

As for the Saxon / Norse ones, these should be easier to decide in English except insofar as they are revived or made up and therefore equally arbitrary.

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As for the Saxon / Norse ones, these should be easier to decide in English except insofar as they are revived or made up and therefore equally arbitrary.

 

It depends what you mean by "revived/made up". We know from Bede that there was an Anglo Saxon month of Eostre (by contrast, AFAIK, the German Ostara is hypothetical speculation by one 19th century academic) and there were two months named Ærra Jéola and Æftera Jéola (before Yule and after Yule). Now, although the vowels may have shifted a little in 1500 years, but that's the same in all English words, so I see no point in trying to replicate the AS prounciation of a word still in modern English.

 

As for Eostre, as a Heathen it doesn't really matter to me how anyone wishes to pronounce it, as there's no evidence for any celebration of Eostre as a festival. But the month existed in AS times. However, I'd tend to agree that, as a festival, this is a non-Heathen 20th century creation. :P

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I've heared a lot of different pronunciations of the festivals... Oddly one of the most used versions of Eostre i've heard puts a 'Y' sound at the start making it YOS-tre.

 

I agree with Moonhunter that I tend not to hear too many people sounding the 'b' in Imbolc

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Mabon (21 Sep) -- This is believed to be a form of the Welsh word for "son." Therefore, it would probably be pronounced "MA-bon"

with the "a" like in "mass." However, most Wiccans and pagans say "MAY-bon." This is the autumn equinox.

 

No they don't. All the times I've heard it pronounced it's Ma-bon, with a short "a" and stress on the first syllable.

 

Now, I'm not saying these words may not be pronounced differently elsewhere in the country, but I've talked to many pagans over the last decade or so, and the pronunciations I've given are what I hear. so it will interesting to see if anyone comes up with other pronunciations! :D

 

Absolutely it is short 'a'. The original's "believed to be a form of the Welsh word for son" is ridiculously coy. It is a verifiable fact that Mab is the Welsh word for son. And Mabon was the name of a young boy in a Welsh TV programme for children. The name , as it appears in the medieval Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, is a Welsh reflex of the Brythonic god Maponos ( P hardening to B is an established transformation from Brythonic to Welsh and the '-os' ending is a masculine signifier of divinity).

 

What has always puzzled me, however, is how the name became applied to the Autumn Equinox. I know of no historical justification for this. Does anyone know of the (presumably) modern origins of the attribution?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most of these I pronounce as most folks on here would, but for lughnasadh is say it thus: looth-na-sah. Maybe that's cos I is weird! :o_wink:

Edited by gazzajanimal
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Well, I guess that depends! :lol:

 

The irish god Lugh's name is pronounced Loo. Hence Loo-nuh-sa

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I had a quick look and I can't find any verifiable information as to the reason for the attribution. It does seem slightly odd that a name associated with youth (I believe that Mabon ap Modron is a young man?) should be used for a festival that (I'm told) is partly about honouring ageing. Although I suppose that there might be a link with fruitfulness and harvest - son, fertility etc? Seems to be pushing it a bit, though.

 

But then Wiki assures me that there is an Ásatrú festival known as Váli's Blot on 14 February. Hmmmm.

A brother of Baldr was born quickly: he started—Óðinn's son— slaying, at one night old. Dead romantic, that son of Óðinn.

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