[Spellyans] Cucumber

Ceri Young rcr_young at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Aug 16 14:31:26 BST 2010

Thank you Eddie! 

Although I am sorry, I really didn't mean to trouble you (I appreciate this 
thread is for Kernowek Standard) - my point was meant as a joke. As you clearly 
know, these terms in Welsh are extremely fractured, convoluted & conflated. 
Indeed the same seems to be the case in English too with words like marrow, 
courgette & zucchini all describing the exact same species, the latter two 
describing the same premature fruit before seed development. Of course a marrow 
then, is a sub-set of summer squash (which Welsh seems to have no specific word 
for, but which could easily be described with 'pwmpen haf' - yet which 
unfortunately still conflates Cucurbita pepo with Cucurbita maxima). It makes 
Welsh very difficult when needing taxonomically exact vocabulary in this area.

I think many of the pitfalls here stem from general levels of 
misunderstandings between both taxonomically distinct species (Cucurbita maxima 
cross breeds with other cucurbitae which gives rise to the 'Cucurbita mixta' 
species) - & various harvesting times for various uses - as well as terms used 
more generically as collective nouns.

e.g. The term 'gourd' frequently denotes any member of the whole cucurbitaceae 
family. Does Cornish have a term for 'cucurbitaceae' or 'gourde family'?

That Welsh makes no real distinction between a squash and a pumpkin (or a squash 
and a gourde) - conflates its word 'squash' with Winter squash. Which is where 
Welsh speakers normally just resort to English, I'm afraid. ...As with the 
loanword for gherkin in the Geiriadur yr Academi Gymraeg - gercyn(-au) m.

Also Nicholas is right of course - the term 'cicaion' (-au) m. used in the Welsh 
bible doesn't relate to any member of the gourd family at all - but to something 
else. (I had assumed that was a reference to the Old World gourd; the 
calabash/calabaza ('bottle gourd' - Lagenaria siceraria), anciently domesticated 
and used to make water carriers with though!)

I've attached a PDF of the most common horticultural species of plant, arranged 
in order of their relatedness to other species. I imagine it might be useful to 
any lexicographer. (The section relevant to the gourd family is on page 4.)

Oll an gwella,

From: Eddie Climo <eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk>
To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Mon, 16 August, 2010 13:33:04
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Cucumber

On 16 Est 2010, at 11:03, Ceri Young wrote:
While you're at it, could you please settle the word 'cucumber' for the Welsh 
language too please! ;o)
>...With added brownie points if you could establish a formal Welsh translation 
>for summer squash (including a specific term for marrow & courgette (i.e. 
>a premature marrow)) & winter squash (including a specific term for 'gourde')! 

Here's a few gleaning from some Welsh and Cornish dictionaries which be helpful:
The 'Geiriadur Mawr' (1981) offers us nothing for 'squash', but has: 
cucumber. cucumer, ciwcymber
gourd. cicaion
vegetable marrow, pumpkin. pwmpen

Spurrell-Anwyl (1932) has:
cucumber. y chwerwddwfr, chwerwdhyfrlys, cucumer
gourd. cicaion, pompiwn
pumpkin. pwmpa, pompiwn
vegetable marrow. pwmpen, pompiwn

Neither of them offer anything for 'gherkin' other than a description (math o 
gucumer i'w biclo)

However, the concise Geiriadur Prifysgol (free download as searchable PDFs 
from http://www.aber.ac.uk/~gpcwww/gpc_pdfs.htm) also offers the following:
gourd: goldyn, gordyn, gowrd
gourd, pumpkin. gwrd
vegertable marrows. llysfer (plural only, seemingly)
pumpkin. pomcin, pymcin, pwmcin
squash (but not the vegetable meaning). sgwash, sgwosh
The GPC also has:
cicaion. Biblical plant or tree, probably Palma Christi or gourd (1588)

As for Cornish, Nance gives us:
pompyon. vegetable marrow, pumpkin, gourd (marked as an adapted word. W., M.E.)

…while Williams (2006) has:
cucumber. cucumys. cucumber
gherkin. cucumysyk
gourd, squash, vegetable marrow, pumpkin. pompyon

I'd suggest Cornish *pompyonyk for 'courgette', and *gord, *gurd (with long -u-) 
or even *gourdfor E. 'gourd'.

Is there any reason Welsh should not do as Cornish has and have newly coined 
diminutive of some of the existing words to denote the smaller members   of the 
cucumber family: the gherkin and courgette?

Just so us Brythons don't start feeling linguistically inferior, it appears a 
similar confusion exists in the English nomenclature of some of these brutes as 
well. Note that, as usual, the article allows you to see what some other 
European languages have done with their naming as well:

Eddie Foirbeis Climo
- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -
Dres ethom akennow byner re bo lyeshes
Accenti non multiplicandi praeter necessitatem

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