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Sketchy Welsh: What connects Siôn Corn, reindeer and beer?

24 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Carw neu Cwrw? Hmmmm. Image: Sketchy Welsh

Josh Morgan

The season of Nadolig is upon us.

Your appreciation of deer and beer is already above average, and I’m about to add another 7-10% through the power of Cymraeg (Welsh, but really Cymraeg).

Carw neu cwrw?

Carw is the Cymraeg for a deer.

Carw. Image: Sketchy Welsh

Cwrw is the Cymraeg for a beer.

Cwrw. Image: Sketchy Welsh

Deer and beer are fine enough words but I can’t help but feel both cwrw and carw trump their Saesneg (English) counterparts here.

Just in case deer weren’t Christmassy enough already, the word carw comes from the same place as the Cymraeg name for Father Christmas, Siôn Corn.

Spying elf

Corn means horn, as in the horns that used to get used as wall decorations in days of yore. In his beginnings Siôn corn was more of an elf that spied on people from inside these horns and made sure everyone was behaving.

At some point he obviously got upgraded to universal bringer of presents and PlayStations.

Siôn Corn. Image: Sketchy Welsh

(I also just recorded a version of the Cymraeg classic ‘Siôn Corn, Siôn Corn, helô, helô, which I’ve put into a minor key since this is what everybody secretly prefers)…

Lastly, if you weren’t happy enough with two improved words, a horn-hiding festive peeper and a new version of a Christmas classic, maybe there’s time for some free beer.

In Cymraeg, something being free or for free is differentiated:

The beer is free: Mae’r cwrw am ddim

The deer is free: Mae’r carw yn rhydd

Yn y Goedwig. Image: Sketchy Welsh

Hopefully this is of some help to you this Christmas whether you are freeing deer or looking for free beer.

Or perhaps just discuss which language has the best word for beer over a tall ‘peint o gwrw’.

Nadolig Llawen pawb!

Merry Christmas everyone,

Josh

Nadolig Llawen. Image: Sketchy Welsh

See more from Sketchy Welsh here or follow on X.


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