Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Bee Tongue

A fascinating piece - if you like words - from the University of Barcelona, has helped me understand why people in Catalonia use so many words for beehive. Some people here say it's a 'rusc' and others that it is an 'arna.'

Research by Maria-Pilar Perea and Germà Colón Domènech at the University of Barcelona that might be of interest to Dr Jarrett over in his Corner of 10th Century Europe, shows the development of at least six words or phrases for beehive. 

'Rusc' in yellow, 'arna' in green

Their map shows how 'rusc' was the word used in the Barcelona area, while 'arna' was used in western Catalonia, at least since the 13th century.

Which of course led me back to Scotland, where I can remember my Mum using a word that was not 'hive.'  She called a hive a 'bee-howff', which means a bee-residence or bee lodge.

In Scots we also have;

  • Bee-bike, or byke, defined in the Scots Dialect Dictionary as a wild bees' nest, and in Chambers Scots Dictionary as also meaning a swarm, an assembly of people, or unexpected good luck. In the old days, finding a wild bees' nest was unexpected good luck
  • Bink, defined in The Scots Thesaurus as a hive
  • Ruskie, a straw beehive

Truly we speak in bee-tongues.

Special thanks to Teresa at the Catalan Beekeepers Association for this information.

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