by Don  

One common pet in Russia is the ёж or ёжик, which means hedgehog. Bear in mind that most Russians live in apartments, so small pets are eminently sensible. This little cutie was found in the region of Astrakhan:

The noun is an end-stressed noun, which means that when it has a grammatical ending, the stress shows up on the first syllable of the grammatical ending:

Sg Pl
Nom ёж ежи
Acc ежа ежей
Gen ежа ежей
Pre еже ежах
Dat ежу ежам
Ins ежом ежами

Americans aren't particularly well acquainted with hedgehogs, so here are a couple of remedial facts from Russian Wikipedia:

Ёж — общеизвестный по внешности зверёк, чья спина и бока покрыты короткими тёмными иглами. A hedgehog is a small animal of well-known appearance whose back and sides are covered with short dark spines.
Иногда ежи накалывают на иглы даже недокуренные сигареты. Причина этого поведения до сих пор не ясна. Sometimes hedgehogs even spear half-smoked cigarettes on their spines. The function of this behavior is currently unclear.

The animal is also used in the expression «Это и ежу понятно!» “Everybody knows that!” (Literally, “this even to a hedgehog is comprehensible.”) Those types of emotionally colored statements are often best translated with idiomatic equivalents instead of trying for a word for word translation. Sample sentences:

— Американское вторжение в Ирак было ужасной ошибкой.
— Это и ежу понятно.
“The American invasion of Iraq was a terrible mistake.”
“Tell me something I didn't know.”
— Я уже пропил свою зарплату. Наверно, сегодня я не должен пить.
— Ну, это и ежу поятно.
“I've already drunk my paycheck away. I probably shouldn't drink today.”
“Well, that's a no-brainer.”

And of course we can't talk about such an adorable little animal without sharing at least one pet owner's video of a hedgehog eating… um… actually, I can't figure out what the heck it's eating, but it's still adorable.


Comment from: Sputnik [Visitor]

And don’t forget that the greatest cartoon ever made is Ёжик в тумане!

02/08/10 @ 04:38
Comment from: Sashas [Visitor]

I’d also add some usage of ёж in “ежовые рукавицы” - means “to control, to be very suspicious and not delicate at all".

“Он держит жену в ежовых рукавицах” He’s a kind of a control-freak with his wife, literally “He holds his wife in a hedgehog mittens”

11/28/09 @ 07:23
Comment from: Laura [Visitor]


While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting two more interesting meanings of ёжик:

1) steel wool
Here are instructions for cleaning a scorched pot:
Можно налить воды, добавить соду, подогреть немного и оставить на день отмокать, потом почистить ёжиком.

Add water and soda, heat, let soak for a day, then clean with steel wool.

2) стрижка ёжиком = crew cut

После стрижки ёжиком волосы отрастают неравномерно.

Following a crew cut, your hair will grow out unevenly.

05/04/09 @ 14:22

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