The subject of snails came up this week at the polyglot conversation group and I discovered that the Cornish word for snail is bulhorn /ˈbʊl.hɔɾn/ (pl. bulhornes), which I particularly like, and which conjures up images of bullhorn (megaphone) wielding snails.
We were also talking about slugs and didn’t know the Cornish or Welsh words for them. I suggested malwoden heb dŷ (“a snail without a house”) or malwoden digatref (“a homeless snail”) in Welsh, and bulhorn heb chy (“snail without a house”) was suggested for the Cornish version. I now know that a Welsh slug is a gwlithen or a malwen ddu (“black snail”) and that a Cornish slug is a gluthvelhwenn or a melhwenn. The gwlith and gluth in these words, which mean dew.
I later discovered that the German word for snail is Schnecke – isn’t that a great sound? Definitely a cellar door word for me. A German slug is a Nacktschnecke or “naked snail”.