Meandering through semantic – The hound

I didn’t know this word “Cur”. Apparently, it is synonymous with “mongrel” dog and it also carries the negative connotation of the word mongrel. But what I found fascinating with this word is that it has an old germanic origin. You find the sound Kur or kor at the root of words for “dog” in several nordic and germanic languages like german, swedish or dutch. I like the connection that can be drawn between languages. You also find the word “Cŵn” in Welsh, which means “hound” and which is very similar despite being celtic essentially (the “ŵ” is pronounced like “who”). There is also a canine folkloric creature in welsh mythology, “Cŵn Annwn” (the Hound of Annwn). Annwn being the lord of the world of the dead in Welsh folklore. This spectral hound is supposed to help Annwn during a mythical ghostly hunt know as “the wild hunt”. This piece of celtic folklore allows me to draw one more connection: The word “Cú” in irish, which also has the meaning of “dog” or “hound”, and the mythological character associated with it: Cúchulainn, “The hound of Culan”.

He is one of the most famous and powerful heroes of irish mythology, known for his strength, beauty and furor. He is also heavily linked to the dog. Originally known as Setanta, he got his name by killing the guard dog of a man named Culan (a blacksmith) at the age of 5, which lead him to replace the animal as a guard dog. Later, he ended up dying from an ambush after breaking one of the taboos placed onto him when he was a child: not eating the meat of a dog. His legend started and ended under the sign of the dog and he was somewhat of a guardian dog for his country, Ulster. He defended it, singlehandedly from foreign invaders, fighting great heroes, mentors and ultimately, his best friend, always staying loyal to his land first.

It is interesting that the word “cur” could be seen as something pejorative and offensive with such a background. But this is the way of languages and semantic. For me however, this root, “Ku”, will always bring to mind the stories I read about the greatest hero there is, “Le chien du Forgeron” (“the dog of the blacksmith”).

via Daily Prompt: Cur

2 thoughts on “Meandering through semantic – The hound”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s