We are learning the traditional Welsh lullaby Suo Gân [sɨɔ ɡɑːn] in one of the choirs I sing in at the moment. It’s a lovely song that was first written down in 1800, but was probably composed around before then.
When I first saw the words Suo Gân I thought they might be Mandarin Chinese – I knew that gân is mutated version of the Welsh word for song, cân, but suo doesn’t look like Welsh. In fact suo is a variant spelling of sïo, which means “to hum, whizz or murmur”, so suo gân could be translated as “humming / murmured song”.
Here’s a recording of Bryn Terfel singing this song:
The words suo [suɔ] and gan [kan] have many meanings in Chinese, but there are only a couple of expressions I can find that combine both of them:
– 锁杆 [鎖桿] (suǒgǎn) = locking bar
– 所感 (suǒgǎn) = one’s impression of something