"Igelkotten är vass."

Translation:The hedgehog is sharp.

January 1, 2015

This discussion is locked.


We have lots of hedgehogs in our forest garden in Poland. If you leave big piles of branches and garden debris on the forest edge, hedgehogs will colonise these. One day I was resting in our forest, and had fallen asleep near one of the branch piles, and woke up with a hedgehog staring me right in the face. He looked like he was asking "what are you and why are you bothering me near my brush pile?" He then turned tail and went back into the brush pile.

As for the sentence, while one would normally say that a hedgehog's quills or spines are sharp in English, one would more generally say that a hedgehog itself (or a porcupine for that matter) is "prickly".


You could say "the hedgehog if sharp" if it is especially intelligent, but I'm not sure the Swedish translation would be the same.


Native here. A clever/sharp porcupine is smart/skarp. ’Skarp’ is also what you say about a sharp knife. A hedgehog is not ’vass’, it is ’taggig’ (thorny).


I love your story!


What a cutie :).


Thanks...he really appreciates it!


What's your hedgie's name?


At first, I named it 'Anuar' from the name of a Malaysian singer, Anuar Zain. The name means 'light' (plural) in Arabic. Now, I just call him 'Nunu'(I know that sounds weird! Give me a name! XD)

Anuar Zain


I suggest "Norman" as a name for your hedgehog. There is a Monty Python sketch where someone is convinced that there is a giant hedgehog named "Spiny Norman" spying on him.

For those who haven't encountered the word "spiny" before, there is more than one meaning. (see number 2 below)

spiny--adjective ˈspī-nē spinier; spiniest Definition of spiny:

1: abounding with difficulties, obstacles, or annoyances : spiny problems (NOTE: I had never heard "spiny"used this way. I would have said, "a thorny problem.)

2: covered or armed with spines broadly : bearing spines, prickles, or thorns

3: slender and pointed like a spine


Lol it's been a long time ago now


A hedgehog is not sharp. Pointy maybe, or prickly, but one would not call it sharp unless making a pun about its intelligence. :)


Yeah, I think 'Vass' = 'Prickly' in this context


This sentence is not something one would normally say in Swedish, so don't read too much into it. I'd prefer to call a hedgehog stickig which would be the same as prickly.


I tyska vi säger bara 'Igel'. Är 'igelkott' ett compound ord? Ifall ja, vad är en 'igel' och vad är en 'kott'?


Yes, it is a compound word, but AFAIK the origin is unknown.

Igel on its own means "leech", but it's not very likely that it's formed from that.


I was wondering about the same thing, because in Dutch, too, we only say "egel", so just the first part of the word in Swedish. (Btw: I never knew that egel/Igel/igelkott was a 'hedgehog' in English... that sounds so weird, haha.)


As usual, English is the odd cousin in the Germanic family. ;)


Apparently the Old English word for Hedgehog is igl or igil, and the term hedgehog is first recorded in ~1450.


I was wondering if it is somehow connected to russian игла (igla) which means needle. It would make sense.


yes, and "kott" sounds like кот "cat". so my first thought was that in swedish hedgehog is needlecat ))


AFAIK Igel is protogermanic for hedgehog which weirdly seems to derive from the proto indoeuropean for snake. And ive been told the Kott comes from pinecone


Jag är inte säkert, men jag tänker att en igel är en 'Blutegel' på tyska, men jag hittar på ingen översättning för 'kott'. Det verkar att 'igelkott' är inget compound ord...


Could this also mean that the hedgehog is 'witty, intellectually gifted or clever'?

Is sharp also used when describing photographs? As in 'the hedgehog is sharp, but the background is out of focus'.


Vass could mean that, but without a context that's improbable.

I'm not very much into the world of photography, but the concept of focus on photos is also called sharpness. You can say either "bilden är skarp" or that "bilden har bra skärpa", where skärpa means sharpness.


Exactly what I needed to know. Thanks very much! :)


Igelkottar är Gotlands landskapsdjur.


My friend from Poland laughed because he thought igelkott comes from igel =leech and kott(e)=(pine) cone Same with the turtle =sköld-padda = shield toad?


Jag har ingen aning vad den här satsen betyder. Är det här ett annat sätt att säga "Igelkotten är klok"?


No, it means that its spikes are sharp.


Okej. Tack. I do not think I have seen a similar structure in any other language.


I mean it literally says ”The hedgehog is sharp” so the structure is pretty normal. It’s just that, since the spikes are sharp, the hedgehog is sharp as a consequence.


Interesting. I wouldn't say this in English, I would say it is "spiky" or "pointy" or something similar. It may have spikes which are sharp, but that doesn't transitively adhere to the animal itself.


I agree. Or "prickly".


Yes. Thank you. And sorry for being so obstinate. : ) I meant earlier that I understand a small part representing the whole ('a crown' for a monarch, 'wheels' for a car), but this sentence works the other way around, which is why it caught me by surprise. But I get it now. Thank you again.


Interesting thing is that in Bulgarian "igla" means "needle". Could it be related?


It's possible! Some scholars think the root of that is the same as the Greek word for "spear", or the Proto-Indo-European word for "nail".


Are hedgehogs the same animals as porcupines?


No, they are not. Porcupine is a rodent and a herbivore; hegdehog is not a rodent and is omnivorous. Piggsvin = porcupine, lit. 'spike pig'.


Tack. You sparked my curiosity so I opened the wikipedia entries in two different tabs. Apparently there are no hedgehogs in the Americas. Also in the wiki entry it says, "Hedgehogs' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated rodent porcupines and monotreme echidnas."


Many people like to have hedgehogs around, at least where I live, because snakes are on hedgehogs' menu. I am afraid of adders, so seeing a little spike ball pitpating on makes me feel safer. In Finland, people often leave a saucer filled with water in their garden for hegdehogs to drink (I do not know if the Swedes do this, as well). Traditionally, you are supposed to give them milk, but, in the 80's, scientists found out that hedgehogs are, in fact, lactose-intolerant.


Interesting! And they are so cute. If you want them in your backyard, I read that you should build them boxes and little log piles in out-of-the-way places. They also say you can leave them high-quality dog or cat food. But if you feed them too much, perhaps they won't eat the snakes!


Fun fact about the echidna, as you said it's a monotreme, which makes it a mammal that lays eggs. Only one other monotreme in the whole animal kingdom and that's the platypus! Both are only found Australia :) and both are ridiculously cute/deadly.


Neither is deadly… the echidna has only its spines, which aren’t even very sharp (much less than hedgehogs or porcupines), and platypi do have venomous spurs, but it’s extremely rare for humans to be stung, and no deaths are known.


And I have to say the Swedish hedgehog is one of the cutiest animals I've ever seen! They are really shy but run around wild in the summer!


My cousin posted a picture of his puppy out on a walk meeting a hedgehog for the first time and he said they were about as "wild" as the squirrels we have here. :)


I always thought that igelkott meant porcupine. I didn't realize it meant hedgehog


Porcupine = piggsvin.


For everyone interested, hedgehogs belong to the order Eulipotyphla, which also includes shrews and moles. Porcupines are Rodentia, which includes rats, mice, beavers, etc.


While one could argue about the incorrectness of the suggested translation, the alternative clearly correct translations like: The hedgehog is spiky. should be accepted while they are not.


That is taggig or spetsig in Swedish, though.


So I am struggling here with the meaning of: "Igelkotten är vass." I thought that it means that it is a short version of English "The hedgehog is a spiny (or spiky or prickly) animal", which one would say shortly in English "The hedgehog is spiny (spiky, prickly)", definitely one would not say in English that "The hedgehog is sharp" unless it would be clever or one would take a pencil sharpener and sharpened its nose:) Does this sentence in Swedish means any of the latter two interpretations or rather the former ones?


It doesn't really make sense in Swedish either, that's the problem. The word vass does mean "sharp", as in maybe a knife or an edge or something. Hedgehogs in themselves are not sharp in either language - they're spiny/spiky/prickly/etc., as you say. It's their spines that are sharp.

So your thinking is spot on but Duolingo is throwing you a curveball sentence here.


Now I got it! That was helping to understand this word ('vass').


You might rather say the animal is 'prickly'


Please refer to the above comments on that.


I wonder if the wrong words in the word bank are hand picked or random? It gave me a wonderful trap of "the hedgehog is fast", which I picked without thinking too hard assuming it was a Sonic reference. Having read so much confusion regarding sharp, at least I can feel good in my mistake.


This should be 'The hedgehog is spiky', no?


Please see the other comments on that.


Agree with above comments - this just isn't correct English (pace comments about animal intelligence...). The hedgehog is prickly. Its spines are sharp.


Is a hedgehog like a porcupine or is it just intelligent

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.