Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 14:37:31 -0700
From: David Prager Branner charmii[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Subject: Spring chicken
Many people have suggested "pullet" for 'young "virgin" hen',
which is not exactly the word I had in mind. A hen can be a pullet even
after she begins laying; I am looking for a word meaning a hen that has
not yet begun brooding.
There is a Chinese word for this that is very important in
dialectology, but I have never found a way to express it in English except
with a long explanation. Chinese value this kind of bird because it is
extremely tasty - actually, I have never eaten this kind of meat in the
United States, only in China. My informants there say that it is not the
laying of eggs but brooding that causes the taste of the meat to change.
Since "spring chickens" are famous in the West for their fine taste (which
I have never sampled, to my sorrow), it seemed to me that this might be a
closer word than "pullet". But a spring chicken can be male, too, can't
How about a word for a "virgin" sow? Is there such a word in
English? It is faily common in the Hakka areas of Fwujiann.
David Prager Branner
Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington, DO-21
Seattle, WA 98195
charmii[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]u.washington.edu