Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Collective nouns

In English there are a whole host of collective nouns to describe groups of different animals and birds. For example the name for a group of asses is a pace, for ferrets it is a business and for otters it is a romp. Did you know that, whilst lions come in prides, tigers gather in streaks? Nightingales form a watch, owls a parliament and lapwings a deceit. A group of ravens is an unkindness – that seems sensible given the nature of these birds.

As a schoolboy I remember having to learn many of these terms which we would then be tested on.

In Spanish, it seems that things aren’t much better. In our lesson yesterday, we covered the 8 different classes of substantivos (nouns) including collectivos.

It transpires that a group of goats or sheep are a rebaño. For pigs, cows and wild animals you can use the word bandada. Insects come in an enjambrar whilst hounds hunt in a jauría. On the other hand, a drove or herd of animals is a piara.

Confused? So were we.

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