Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Elg, elk, moose

Now to the "elk" debate. After the story I posted in November about the boy who saved his sister from an "elg" and then applied WoW skills to saving himself has been swirling around online for a while, I caught an interesting twist in the translation of "elg". I translated it as moose, but people pointed out it was not a moose, but an elk. Then somebody in a comment on this blog talked about seeing a herd of 200 "elk" in the US, something which made me pause, as you'd never see a herd of "elg" in Scandinavia. So off I went to our friend, the Wikipedia.

Now I could have looked for a more authorised source, but in this case Wikipedia looks pretty good. What it shows is that the American "elk" is a different animal with a different spread from the European "elg". "Moose", however, is said to be called both "moose" and "elk", only it's called "elk" in Europe. If you look at the pictures, you'll see that the moose and the elg are more similar than the elk and the elg.

In the Norwegian article there is a discussion about the use of the word "elk", as apparently it's also used about a type of deer, in American English. Looking at the picture of the "elk" in Wikipedia, that looks more like a deer than an "elg". So - the translation was perhaps not that wrong, and the elks are more than they seem to be.

1 comment: said...

You say elg and I say elk and you mean moose.... And that's why there was this Swedish fellow named Linnaeus who suggested that we all say "cervus elaphus" or "alces alces". Becuase sometimes an elk is a deer and sometimes a moose, but an alces alces is never a pica pica.