Suo Gân

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

3 thoughts on “Suo Gân

  1. When I saw the title of this post, I also thought immediately of Chinese. Or, so to speak, I got the 所感 of Chinese from the words suo gân.

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