I love you my dropping

Article published on Feb. 25, 2009
Article published on Feb. 25, 2009
My bunny-bear, baby, cabbage, sugar slug - just like Europe, love knows no boundaries. Yet some terms of affection for loved ones vary from being rather unsavoury to overly sickly on the continent – romantic sayings of the week, with audio

Many languages use words that are associated with sweets to show their affection. The Brits call their loved ones honeynabee, whilst the Poles say cukiereczek (sweetie). The French and Belgians express their affection by calling someone choujulie, which refers to chou à la crème, a pastry - not cabbage (which the word also means), as many people seem to believe in this context! They also call their affectionate ones ma crottealexwhich means chocolate - not dropping, another false friend.

With the German Zuckerschneckeole (my sugar slug) we move into a world of animals, which includes the French ma bicheced (my doe) and ma pouleced(my chicken). German speakers in Europe create cross species of animals when they coo Hasibärkatha(my bunny-bear) at their sweethearts. Another popular expression is the long, schmaltzy Schaaaaaaaaatzole (dear).

Rosy French speakers also call their loved ones their flowers (ma fleur). However, Italians look for inspiration in the kitchen, where they have taken the cetriolinoadri(my gherkin) or zucchinaadri (my little courgette. *Disclaimer - we are afraid these terms might just be used by our very own Italan editor, and not represent the Italian population! - ed). The British tend to use the word pumpkinnabee, mostly when they talk to littler people. Some of the affectionate words used in languages are truly surprising. It is difficult to believe that someone likes to be called my little fatty (such as in Spain, mi gorditofernando). Even odder than this is that you can call your girl mama or your man daddynabee(common terms in Latin Spanish, mamitafernandoand papito). Universally though, the term babynabee, arguably with the influence of American English, has come to mean much much more than a newborn or a little'un.

Browse resident illustrator Henning Studte's website