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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in linguistics
The Holiday that Dared Not Speak Its Name, or, Samhain: The Correct Pronunciation

Sam Hane. Sam Ane. Rhymes with coven. Rhymes with towin'. Rhymes with plowin'.

The first New Pagans of America mostly started off by reading books. In the absence of an oral tradition, we made do. With pronunciation of weird words, for instance.

Sam Hane. Good old rule of thumb for American English: pronounce it like it's spelled. What, you've never heard of Sam Hane, Druidic god of the dead?* (Not to mention his consort, Belle Tane, goddess of life. Sounds like quite the couple.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Internal polyvocality. You make me jealous, MPC! I suppose one could draw up a dialectal map of the pagan community according to
  • MizPixieChris
    MizPixieChris says #
    This was the first post I found at this community - and it pushed me to sign up and join, so thank you! In my area people seem to
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    This whole Samhain pronunciation issue, as well as the "Which God of the Dead is this? I've never heard of him..." issue are 2 rea
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I've been playing around with Summer's-End and Winter's Eve myself. I don't see any reason to canonize one name. We're the people

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Fun fact about me: I have a degree in speech-language pathology, and my concentration was in clinical phonology with a heavy emphasis on linguistics. I love studying the sound systems of a language and how sounds are tied to meaning. Today I happened across Forvo, a linguistic site that specializes in using native speakers to demonstrate how to pronounce words. It is single words and not sentences, but it's still helpful in developing an ear for nonnative speakers.

Of course, Forvo has a list of Norse mythology terms and many other languages as well. I hope that resources such as this will help preserve and protect against linguistic extinction. Every language has its own way of expressing a view of the world, and the language we speak undoubtedly shapes the way we think about everything in the inner and outer world. As Pagans we are explorers of other worlds, and so preservation of language is as precious as any other resource.

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