Welsh academic explains psychological depth of the word ‘cwtch’
A Welsh academic has explained the psychological depth of the word ‘cwtch’.
The Welsh word, which has become part of Wales’ national identity, broadly translates to “hug” in English, but its meaning that runs far deeper than that.
Doctor Manon Jones, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Bangor University was asked about its significance after the word, which has no literal English translation, was uttered in the UK Parliament for the very first time. Fay Jones, the Conservative MP Brecon and Radnorshire recently said it while questioning Boris Johnson in the House of Commons.
Dr Jones told The Telegraph: “What’s particularly interesting about the cwtch is that it isn’t just felt on our arms. When we embrace someone, a hormone called oxytocin is released. That’s the hormone which generates human connection and underlies trust; in simple terms, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy.
“Combine these physiological reactions with the receiver’s linguistic understanding of what the word ‘cwtch’ implies and that’s a potent mix for strong social bonding. No wonder the Welsh have a reputation for being a friendly and affectionate nation.”
‘What could be more Welsh than a cwtch’
Kerry Walker, Telegraph Travel’s Wales writer, said: “What could be more Welsh than a cwtch (pronounced ‘kuch’, rhymes with ‘butch’)? The English translation of ‘cuddle’ falls hopelessly short of this emotional embrace.
“There are cwtches (cubbyholes) at home, where you stash things away, and in pubs – often the cosy nook nearest the fire. Deeply ingrained in the Welsh psyche, a cwtch invokes the life-affirming bear hugs of childhood – it’s wrapping your arms around someone in a way that makes them feel safe, warm, comforted and nurtured.”
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