[Spellyans] Cucumber

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Mon Aug 16 17:26:49 BST 2010

A gowetha -oll,

Arriving at gherkins reminds me of the local London Cockney name for these (especially whn pickled) of 'wallies'.   A particular large likeness of which has been erected at St Mary Axe.

bon appetit - Ken

Ken MacKinnon is now on Broadband  with new e-mail addresses:-

ken at ferintosh.org
and also at:-
ken.ferintosh at googlemail.com

My former e-mail addresses are no longer able to be used.

(Prof) Ken MacKinnon
Ivy Cottage, Ferintosh,
The Black Isle, by Dingwall,
Ross-shire  IV 7 8HX
Scotland  UK

Tel: 01349 - 863460

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ceri Young 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 2:31 PM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Cucumber

  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')! ;o)

  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 *gourd for 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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