Svengelska bloggen

Svengelska bloggen

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I aim to use this blog to keep up my English and maybe give others some insights in Swedish language. It's not a diary - well not quite...

Hälgångare

Däggdjur/MammalsPosted by Gunvor 2013-04-15 17:41:41

Hälgångare is ’plantigrade’. Literally it is ‘heel walker’ Häl and heel both come from Germanic *hanhilon, a diminutive of *hanhaz, ‘heel’ from Indoeuropean *kenk- ‘heel, bend of the knee’.

A related word is English hock ‘joint in the hind leg of a horse,’ earlier hockshin from Old English hohsinu ‘Achilles' tendon’, literally ‘heel sinew’, from Old English hoh ‘heel’ which goes back to Germanic *hanhaz.

Plantigrade comes from French plantigrade ‘walking on the sole of the foot’ from Latin planta ‘sole of the foot’ and gradus ‘step’. Didn’t know that before.

The plantigrade who made this track is of course a badger, grävling in Swedish (more here). Just before the new snow four days ago we also saw some marks from his snout in the lawn, so he must have woken up from his hibernation sleep recently.

As far as I know there are only these two plantigrade species hereabouts. Haven’t seen a hedgehog here for many years, and, fortunately, no bears either.)

The new snow has rained away now, but there is still a lot of the old snow left in shadowed areas.