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Mořský ježek, What's In a Name?


Of the droves of eager blog readers jamming my precious bandwidth (cue laughtrack), one has asked whence comes the title of this webspace? What, if anything, is a mořský ježek? Here is the answer.

Mořský is an adjective derived from the word moře, sea, and ježek is Czech for hedgehog. A Czech “sea hedgehog” is sea urchin in English. I found this by chance while looking up ježek in my Czech-English dictionary. Ježek is also a Czech family name, as in Jaroslav Ježek (1906–1942), one of my favorite Czech composers. He wrote classical music and songs with jazz influence in the 1920s and ’30s. When I saw the note in the dictionary’s entry on ježek that said (mořský ~, sea urchin) it stuck in my mind. At least since Shakespeare wrote about the “coasts of Bohemia,” Czechs have had a we-have-no-sea inferiority complex. The country is landlocked, and there is a strange fascination with “the sea.” So the name was a great combination of a bizarre Czech obsession and my interest in Czech music.

Comments:

Blogger Karla said . . .

I was wondering when someone would ask about that. It didn't seem automatically music related even though Ježek did cross the Atlantic.    

4:20 PM, November 06, 2005


Blogger plasticattack said . . .

sea urchin--okay--but i prefer the image of an actual little hedgehog swimming happily through the sea, paddling with its little claws, sticking its pointly little nose just above the surface of the water, and occasionally rolling into a ball and bobbing around in the shallows.    

6:09 PM, November 06, 2005


Blogger Karla said . . .

I agree about the image of the sea-hedgehog. While I like sea urchins, I too had visions of the mořský ježek being a special kind of aquatic hedgehog, sort of like North American marsh and swamp rabbits that (according to my North American Mammals guide) like to swim.    

7:19 PM, November 06, 2005


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