Celebrate St Piran’s Day!

To celebrate St Piran’s Day, we thought we’d share some essential words in the Cornish language.

Did you know that ‘milva’ means ‘zoo’? Or that ‘papynjay’ means parrot? Read on to lean the names of some of your very favourite animals!

  • Animal/animals = eneval/enevales
  • Armadillo = arvegyn
  • Bird = edhen
  • Chameleon = kamilion
  • Chicken = yar
  • Deer = karow
  • Fish = pysk
  • Frog = kwilkyn
  • Goat = gaver
  • Lion = lew
  • Lizard = pedrevan
  • Meerkat = markat
  • Monkey = sim
  • Otter = dowrgi
  • Owl = oula
  • Parrot = papynjay
  • Peacock = payon
  • Pelican = pelikan
  • Penguin = penn gwynn
  • Pig = hogh
  • Snake = sarf
  • Swan = alargh
  • Tortoise = kroban
  • Zebra = zebra

Did you know?

While some Cornish animal words are recent additions to the dictionary, and follow the English word (such as ‘zebra’, which is the same in both languages), the English word ‘penguin’ might have actually come from the Cornish language!

The word is believed to have come from ‘penn gwyn’, which means ‘white head’ in the Celtic languages of Welsh, Cornish and Breton, and the name was originally given to the great auk, a distant cousin of the penguin which is now extinct.