This Morning, Aled Hughes on Radio Cymru had a very interesting discussion with Myrddin ap Dafydd (the poet and author) about the different ways we describe people by comparing them to animals. They discussed the roots of some of these idioms and how they vary in different regions of Wales. I found it very informative and entertaining and I think it’s worth a listen.
For instance, when we say about someone that they are ‘fel llo’ / like a calf, we’re describing them as being a bit of a weakling, a little listless and slow to catch on.
Diddorol iawn / very interesting.
My Llangadog mamgu had a very unusual vegetable simile for babies that were almost “edibly” beautiful:- “calon cabetsen”. I think “cabetsen” is an old word for cabbage. I’ve not heard it since.
My mother’s frequent description of me was “mochyn du” or, if she was really cross, “mochyn aflan” (which i’ve since learned was really not nice.)
Any connection to the French habit of calling an endearing child ‘petit chou’?
Very probably, but my wife often calls me “mon chou” 'cos I’m so endearing. She’ll more often call me “vieux rat” or “vieux crapaud” (old toad), however, which she says are also terms of affection. Should I believe her?
It raises the question of whether a Welsh woman (or man) would address his/her partner using terms such as “hen llygoden” or “hen llyffant” in an “affectionate” way.