Culture

Our Franconian Word of the Month

Winfried von Wittsburg

Schneggala /ʃnɛ-ɡʌ-lʌ/

Hochdeutsch: „die Schnecke“

English: „snail“

Probably one of the more curious pet names one can have in German is “Schnecke”, as in the slimy animal, hunter of garden salad and mortal enemy of every house owner with strawberries on the yard. It is usually reserved solely for the female partner, and upon first hearing it, many might associate it with being slow (as “Du Schnecke!” is also a favourite insult for slowpokes). Yet it somehow made it as a more or less popular pet name for the better half of men. Many believe this is because snails, mostly imagined as the variant with a shell (as in German “Schnecke” applies to both snails and slugs), may be slow, but also chilled out and never in a hurry. Therefore, a woman described by her loving partner as “Meine Schnecke” is seen by him as someone he can always depend on, never mind how hectic and stressful the situation might be.

As with most words in German, the Franconians were not satisfied with it, especially since it is supposed to be a cute nickname for a loved one. So, they did what they usually do in those cases: adding the diminutive “-la” to the end of the word, thereby making it a tinier and cuter version of itself.

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