Today I have been giving a lot of thought to the different ways we have of expression our physical state in various languages. What do I mean by this?
Consider the English sentence: I am hot or I am cold. Here we are using the verb to be to express this. In English, we become part of the heat or the cold, it becomes part of us. Yet in French and Italian it is something that happens to us because we possess it, in a way. French: J’ai chaud/ j’ai froid or Italian: ho caldo/ ho freddo > in both cases we literally say “I have hot/cold”. In Italian it is also possible to say “mi fa caldo” > literally, “it makes me hot”. Again, the heat is not part of you, as it is in English.
This brings me to Welsh, in which you say: dw i’n boeth (hot) or dw i’n oer (cold). This translates the same way as the English sentence. The interesting thing is that other physical conditions in Welsh, such as hunger and thirst, are expressed quite differently. You would say: Mae syched arna i > literally, there is thirst on me.
This has of course set me wondering whether or not the hot/ cold phrases in Welsh have been affected by the exposure to English, leading the English construction to be adopted in Welsh.