MÉNLEU Á VĚSŶ* / sea campion

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ménleu á věsŷ“, s.m., pronounced [mɛ̃nlœə̯ ä vʷɛsɪ:(j/ə̯)] 🔊, is a Sarkese neology name for “bladder campion” (Silene uniflora), in Britain known as “sea campion”, otherwise known in Sarkese simply as “ménleu“, daisy-like weed. The word was invented over a lovely cup of tea in 2023 in Little Sark to allow distinction of the plant from the other flowers belonging to the “ménleu” group and to preserve the local authentic English name “bladder campion” which is being replaced by standard British English “sea campion”.

origin: Sarkese neologism / first recorded for Sarkese: 2023 (introduced) / current status in the 21st century: introduced

“ménleu á věsŷ” is a compound name, consisting of the main noun, “ménleu“, daisy-like weed, which is masculine and invariable (a he-word that does not change and cannot be counted) and the prepositional construction “á věsŷ“, lit. “of bladder”, which together make of “sea campion” in Sarkese “bladder daisy” or “bladder daisy-like weed”.

As the main noun (ménleu) is uncoutable, if a number of flowers or plants has to be given, we have to go around counting “flowers” or “pieces”, i.e. “un mórsě d’ménleu á věsŷ”, a/one piece of sea campion, “deù mórsyò d’ménleu á věsŷ” etc. The pronunciation is regular. To learn more on the two constituent words, see the SNDO entries “ménleu” and “věsŷ“.

On the origin

Despite being a very common plant in Sark, no specific name for “sea campion”, known locally, as “bladder campion”, was ever recorded in the past, not even in the 70s of the 20th century, similarly to “buttercups”. In the 21st century, some speakers would include “sea campions” among the wide group of plants, known as “ménleu“, i.e. daisy-like weed. In local English, the plant is known as “bladder campion” for the simple fact that its flowers do ressemble sheep bladder. It should be noted though, that in Brittish English “bladder campion” is the name for “Silene vulgaris”, a close cousin to our “bladder campion”, a different plant, which, however, does not grow in Sark.

Given that the plant is considered by some of the very last speakers to belong to the “ménleu”-flowers in Sarkese, and given that English-speaking older generarions of the Sarkese call the plant “bladder campion”, it was proposed over a lovely cup of tea in Little Sark in 2023, that the plant could be named “ménleu á věsŷ” to distinguish it from the other “ménleu”s and to reflect the local English name which is dissapearing due to the influence of standard Brittish English, similarly as with “wild garlic”, “gâliḳ sòvaje“, whose local English name is being replaced by “three-cornered leek”.

The name “ménleu á věsŷ” thus represents a so-called neologism, a new word, build on the two used names used in Sark.


Citation: NEUDÖRFL, Martin. ménleu á věsŷ/sea campion. In: Sark Norman Dictionary Online [on-line]. https://www.bonjhur.net/sndo-vocab-flora-menleu-a-vesy

Relevant SNDO Entries:

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