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How to Name Animals in German

This flow chart reveals how German animals names are often made up by compounding known animals with the adjective that sets them apart from that animal. However, German is far from the only language in which you find this convention. Mefites offered examples from other languages.
English:

star fish, guinea pig

English:

hedgehog, guinea pig, groundhog, warthog, sea cow, sea lion, catfish, dogfish, zebrafish, flying fox, flying squirrel, seahorse

Chinese:

A squirrel is a Pine Rat. An owl is a Cat Head Hawk. A kangaroo is a Pocket Rat. A dove is a Peace Pigeon. A panda is a Bear Cat.

More Chinese:

Camel deer = moose
Stinky weasel = skunk
Hunting dog = hyena
But my favorite is
Heroic pig = porcupine
Ant-eater is "ant-eating beast." The "beast" part kind of throws me.

Can you think of any more? -via Metafilter


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Newest 1 Comment

Thanks for this - although I'm German myself, I never knew that turkeys were actually named "Truthahn" for their threatening behavior (several dictionaries confirm the relation between "trut" and "threat"). Damn nature, you scary. ;)
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