Franconian Word of the Month


Cats legs
Cat Walk

Katzabaa /kʌt – zʌ – bʌ/

English: leg of a cat
Hochdeutsch: Katzenbein

Today, I present to you a word that is probably not used anywhere in Franconia anymore. Except for my dear grandma, who is now over 80 and has preserved a lot of her Franconian language, which sometimes makes it hard to follow her, even for me. The word in question means “cat”, but for some reason – which, by the way, she could not explain to me herself – it also has a leg stuck to it.

My forensic research up to now has not divulged any clues, so I shall dive into the field of outrageous make-believe. Maybe the leg of the cat was a delicacy not to be missed in a good Franconian stew. Or maybe, quite like the very famous rabbit’s paw, the leg of a cat – or at least seeing one – was considered lucky, and people just mentioned the leg without giving too much about the cat itself. 

Though possibly a truer suggestion, a cat is called a cat-leg because that is usually the only part of a cat seen in small Franconian villages. Lots of farmers kept cats to catch mice and rats but did not take much care of them. In essence, the cats became half-wild and would run anytime they heard or saw something they were unsure of. Including the farmers. 

Whatever it is, now you know what to cry when you see a cat again. And, quite possibly, even make a Franconian scratch their head.

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