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https://www.duolingo.com/finndj

Are there special words in Swedish for a group of animals? (i.e: murder of crows)

finndj
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This is more out of interest than anything!

Tack!

2 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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There are a few, but nothing like in English where it sometimes seems like there are more words for animal groups than there are actual animals. :) (I mean, a murmuration of larks - seriously?!)

The most basic word is flock, which works like its English counterpart. When in doubt, you can virtually always default to it, and people will definitely understand.

Another word is skock. Originally, it denoted the number sixty, but it has come to mean "group", and it is used for goats, sheep, and birds primarily.

A school of fish is a called a stim or a fiskstim in Swedish. We don't really make a difference between shoals and schools. (Although I'm sure marine biologists will not agree.)

Yet another cognate with english is svärm, which is used for insects such as the biblical swarm of locusts. A such swarm would probably be called a gräshoppssvärm (though a locust is a vandringsgräshoppa - a "nomadic grasshopper".)

Then we have hjord. It's the same thing as a herd, and again, the words are related. Like in English, it can be used for almost any kind of mobile animal collective, but its usage is usually restricted in practice to cattle, to beasts of burden, and to really large animals such as elephants and whales.

Finally, you might encounter hord, meaning any disorganised flock with no apparent purpose or direction. It's a rarer word and I'm assuming this sense of it is well on its way out of the language - but it's not quite lost to time yet. :)

I'm sure I've forgotten some of the obvious ones - please feel free to fill in the blanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HelenCarlsson
HelenCarlsson
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I can only think of one more right now and that is "fågelsträck" - a group of migratory birds.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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Hmm, I thought that was synonymous with fylking ("skein").

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HelenCarlsson
HelenCarlsson
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Wow, I have never heard of a "fylking" before. It seems to be a special case of "fågelsträck" since it has to be v-shaped :).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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Yeah, I thought all fågelsträck were skeins but apparently we both learned something today. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sustained
sustained
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Good to know that I will never ever need to worry about learning hundreds/thousands of collective nouns while studying Swedish!

That said, I only know a few of them in English anyway. Does anyone actually know more than a few? :/

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/finndj
finndj
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Thank you for your comment! It is very helpful!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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Hmm, if hjord ~ herd, maybe hord ~ horde? Of course, we mostly use horde to describe people.

This is an awesome post btw. Also just to be clear, flock is just for groups of birds? Or a general word for groups of all sorts of animals?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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They're certainly cognates, and similar in some ways, yes. :)

No, flock can be used as the default for virtually any kind of animal.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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Hahah and it was in this very moment that I realized 'flock' isn't just used for birds in English, either, haha.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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Haha :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ungewitig_Wiht

I hope not - I've always said that the Englishmen had some poor maid write down a load of words vaguely describing an animal and then shot the list - whatever their arrow landed on was the group noun.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmagnuson
pmagnuson
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Roligt!

2 years ago