Snail & slug

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    A slimy topic, but... How do you translate (and distinguish) those ? Which inspire metaphorical use/ expressions?

    Dutch: both slakken, one huisjesslak (house-...), the other naaktslak (naked ...).

    Metaphor/E: zo traag als een slak (as slow as), maybe uit zijn schelp komen (to leave one's shell, to show oneself, take courage)
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi TK (long time no see)

    In Greek:

    Snail: «Σαλίγκαρος» [sa'liɳgaros] (masc.) < Byz. Gr. masc. noun «σαλίγκας» [sa'liɳgas] (from Κoine Gr. «σιαλικός» sĭăli'kŏs (masc.) --> pertaining to saliva < «σίελος» 'sĭĕlŏs (masc.) --> saliva, with obscure etymology) + masc. magnifying suffix «-αρος» (-aros), or colloquially, «σαλιγκάρι» [saliɳ'gari] (neut.) < Byz. Gr. masc. noun «σαλίγκας» [sa'liɳgas] + neut. diminutive suffix «-άρι(ον)» (-ari(on)). Both are used equally and interchangeably.
    Slug: «Γυμνοσάλιαγκας» [ʝimno'saʎaɳgas] (masc.) < Classical adj. «γυμνός, -ὴ, -όν» gŭ'mnŏs (masc.), gŭmnḕ (fem.), gŭ'mnŏn (neut.) --> naked, nude (PIE base *nogʷ-, nude, naked; cf Skt. नग्न (nagna), Lat. adj. nūdus (masc.), nūda (fem.), nūdum (neut.) > Fr. nu/nue, It. nudo/nuda, Eng. nude; Proto-Germanic *nakwathaz > Ger. nacht, Eng. naked, Dutch naakt) + Byz. Gr. masc. noun «σαλίγκας» [sa'liɳgas] (folkish «σάλιαγκας» ['saʎaɳgas]). Therefeore, «γυμνοσάλιαγκας» is the naked «σαλίγκαρος».

    In Ancient Greek, different dialects had different names for the snail: «Kοχλίας» kŏ'xlias (masc.) --> snail with a spiral cell (with obscure etymology) > Modern Cretan regiolect «χοχλιός» [xox'ʎos] (masc.), «σέσιλος» 'sĕsīlŏs (masc.) & «σέσηλος» 'sĕsēlŏs (masc.) --> snail with a spiral cell (with obscure etymology), «νηρείτης» nē'reitēs (masc.) --> sea-snail with a spiral cell (with obscure etymology, cf Lith. nerti, with general meaning to dive, swim); unfortunately the only ancient name for the slug I was able to discover is the one given by Hesychius: «Σέμελος» 'sĕmĕlŏs (masc.).
    Ι can't remember any metaphor we use with either the snail or the slug as protagonists (the main hero in our metaphors for slowness, unhurriedness, is the turtle/tortoise).
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  3. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French:

    a snail: un escargot
    Apparently comes from Occitan "escargol" / "caragol" so you'll have to ask them what it means originally :p

    Related expression:
    un escargot = a slow person
    sortir de sa coquille (literally: get out of your shell) = open up

    And far less common, apparently also:
    "un limaçon / un colimaçon"

    "colimaçon" is used in the expression "escalier en colimaçon" (spiral staircase)

    For the etymology, just copying wiktionnaire:
    Du normand calimachon (« escargot »), anciennement caillemasson, composé de écale et limaçon, c’est-à-dire « limaçon à coquille ».

    a slug = une limace
    Figuratively, you can also use it to refer to a slow person.
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I suppose the calimachon and the Greek kochlias could be related. But interesting to hear that turtles are models for slowness; we can use that too and I see that in Amsterdam turtle thresholds , schildpaddrempels, are used to slow down the trafic.
  5. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic:

    snail: حلزون /ħalazoon/, the root "حلزن ħ-l-z-n" is not used by any other word

    slug: بزاقة /baz'zaaqa/ related to بزاق /buzaaq/ "spitting"
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Spitting? A spitting animal, or does that refer to the slimy matter at the bottom? BTW: slimak in Russian , so I read, but I don't know to which (slug/ snail) it refers...

    Just by the way: these little creatures are called gastropods, bellyfeet. I love that kind of... imagination...
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  7. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    As in 'it looks like spit' :)
    And I don't know which language حلزون (Halazo:n) is from, but we use it to mean 'spiral' as well.
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Sorry, just trying to be funny - or could there be a link with the slime?
  9. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Hi! bazzaaqa is like "one who spits all the time" in terms of morphology, and I don't find it funny since we call the critter "snot worm" (鼻涕蟲) in Cantonese.:cool:
  10. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    - why do you use plural slakken and not just slak? :) Any intention?
    - as for the magyar we use the "German/Ducth" model
    slak 1.> csiga [the origin is unknown]
    slak 2. > salak [the origin is German < schlagen]
    snail > házas csiga [huisjes+slak]
    slug > meztelen csiga [naakt+slak]

    Czech: they do not know nakedness > snail hlemýžď or in spoken: šnek [<German] - slug slimák [ like Schleim, slime]
    Polish, Slovak not distinguished, I think, use 1 word: slimák (sk), ślimak (pl)
    Slovene, BSC: snail > polž (sl), puž (bsc), the word plž exist in Czech, too [plž<plzký slimy] - slug polž slinar [slimy] (sl), puž golać [naked] (bsc)
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Well, I only meant that we can use the same word for both, that the animals' names are just kind of compounds based on the element slak.

    Thanks for your information!
  12. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    I should add that the modern (from 19th c.) Czech scientific terminology is rather artificial. Hlemýžď now means snail but in Old Czech it meant also turtle (now želva, a loan from Polish) and in some region even earthworm (dew worm). Plž means gastropod (generally) < plaziti se = to slither (as a snail).

    hlemýždí tempo = snail pace/rate/tempo;
    pomalý jako hlemýžď/šnek = slow like a snail;
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is funny in both senses: that turtles and snail are seen as somehow considered related. ​
    Well, my Dutch etymological dictionary refers to an adj. slac, meaning slow. I suppose that is more plausible.
  14. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Portuguese, snail is caracol. Spanish has the same word, the origin of which, according to the DRAE, is Latin cochleāre.

    Slug in Portuguese is lesma, from Latin limax, limacis according to the Priberam online dictionary. (So it seems to be a cognate of French limace.) This word is used figuratively for slow or lazy people, and also in some regions to mean a sleazy person (in a sexual sense).

    The Spanish word for slug appears to be babosa, which literally means "drooling" or "slobbering".
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  15. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    In Chinese "snail" (蝸牛) is often associated with one's dwelling: one may refer to one's poky apartment as one's "snail (shell) abode" (蝸居), and those who can't afford to buy a flat, which mean most people in present-day China, can be called "shell-less snails" (無殼蝸牛).

    The ancient poets and philosophers also seem to be fascinated by the lovely creature. There is the classical saying "a war fought on the tentacle of a snail" (蝸角之爭), meaning "a storm in a teacup", and the trails left by the gastropod (on walls etc) is known as "snail script/writing" (蝸篆).
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks, O and G. This caracol is tempt us into an excursus [which does not sound very good in English], but I recognize the general idea of slowness: Dutch slakkengang, a snail's pace, and then snail mail in English, a lovely word for surface mail (right?).

    Snail shells as dwellings: not familiar with that metaphor, I must say...

    The cultural-historic reference with regard to Chinese is interesting...
  17. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    In Swedish en snigel/flera sniglar are a slug/many slugs, and en snäcka/flera snäckor are a snail/many snails, but usually those air-breathing snails living on land are called snigel, the same as for slugs, while the snails living in water are called snäcka. I would call this a snigel, , the only land-living snail I would call snäcka is this: , vinbergssnäcka, because its size. They are not native in Sweden, but I do see them now and then on my way to work every summer, as they have survived here since medieval times when they were imported by monks.

    As for snails as a metaphor, to say "att dra sig inom sitt skal", to withdraw into ones shell, is an expression for someone who is timid and shy or someone afraid to be hurt. The Swedish poet Karin Boye used that comparison in her poem "Till en sfinx" , the English translation uses the not so poetic word mollusc.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    That reminds me of the Viking snäcka/snäckor, or is there no link? - And thanks for the reference to the poem (and the translation).

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