A friend of mine who is learning Welsh likes to translate Welsh expressions literally and then use them in English. One Welsh equivalent of goodbye is hwyl fawr [hʊɨl vaur], which he translates as “big fun”, which sounds quite funny in English. Do any other languages have a phrase used when parting that has a similar meaning?
The Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru explains hwyl fawr as “a valediction, roughly equivalent to ‘All the best!’, or ‘Cheers!’. Which should not be confused with yr hwyl fawr, which is ‘the principal sail of a ship, mail-sail or main-sheet.’
hwyl can also mean:
– sail (of ship, windmill, etc), sheet, covering, pall
– journey, progress, revolution, orbit, course, route, career, rush, assault, attack
– healthy physical or mental condition, good form, one’s right senses, wits; tune (of musical instrument); temper, mood, frame of mind; nature disposition; fervour, ecstasy, gusto, zest
– merry-making, hilarity, jollity, mirth, gaiety, amusement, fun, humour
Some expressions featuring hwyl include:
– am hwyl = for fun, by way of a joke
– hwyl dda = fine state of health; good spirits, good mood
– hwyl ddrwg = physical indisposition; bad mood
– cael hwyl = to have fun, enjoy oneself, make good progress
– cael hwyl am ben (rhywun) = to make fun of (someone)
– pob hwyl = similar to hwyl fawr
Do you use literal translations of foreign expressions in your own language like this?