Author Topic: An alphabet of favourite national designs  (Read 3085 times)

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Offline Stef

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Re: An alphabet of favourite national designs
« Reply #195 on: September 19, 2018, 03:06:36 PM »
Does anybody know its species or know somebody who could identify it?



Officially it is a ladybird beetle ("La coccinella"). Only about 6000 possibilities (species) remaining. :)

Offline <k>

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Re: An alphabet of favourite national designs
« Reply #196 on: September 19, 2018, 03:21:54 PM »
Officially it is a ladybird beetle ("La coccinella"). Only about 6000 possibilities (species) remaining. :)

Thank you, Stef. Now that you say that, it looks obvious. The colours are absent from the coin, of course.

Yes, we Brits call them ladybirds. The Americans usually call them ladybugs. A German woman once told me the German word for the insect and asked me the English term. I told her "ladybird". She gave me a dirty look, telling me, "But it's not a BIRD!" She must have thought I was tricking her. I'd never really thought about the "bird" part before - I just thought of it as one word and one concept. The German word is more like "Mary beetle", as in Virgin Mary, for some reason.

Offline chrisild

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Re: An alphabet of favourite national designs
« Reply #197 on: September 19, 2018, 09:07:08 PM »
Odd word, yes, but farmers used to believe that those useful insects were a gift from St. Mary - hence Marienkäfer in German, ladybird/ladybug in English, mariquita (little Mary) in Spanish, and so on.

The French "bête à bon Dieu" is a little different but comes with an even better story. ;)  Some time in the Middle Ages, a man was to be beheaded. He had said many times that he was innocent, but ... So when his head was placed on the block, a ladybird came to sit right on his neck. The executioner tried to move it away, but it would come back and land on the very same spot, again and again. Ultimately the king considered this to be a divine intervention and pardoned the guy. Even better, a few days later the actual crinimal was caught ...

Christian

Offline <k>

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Re: An alphabet of favourite national designs
« Reply #198 on: September 19, 2018, 09:26:54 PM »
See: Why "ladybird?".

Extract:

it is generally considered more likely that bird simply refers to the insect’s winged nature and flying abilities, as is evident in other European languages such as German, which calls the ladybird Frauenhenne, ‘the lady’s hen’.

Lady apparently refers to the seven spots of the Coccinella septempunctata, which were popularly supposed to symbolize the seven pains of the Virgin Mary. The link between the Virgin Mary and the insect’s name has been drawn more clearly in the Swedish regional jungfru Mariae höna and jungfru Marias gullhöna, literally ‘Virgin Mary’s hen’ and ‘Virgin Mary’s golden hen’ respectively, and the German Marienkäfer (‘Mary’s beetle’). Ladybird may therefore mean ‘(Our) Lady’s bird’.