Sonic the happy Manx hedgehog

Arkan sonney (hedgehog)

Arkan sonney is a Manx expression I came across today that means hedgehog, or literally “happy sucking pig”. Arkan is a diminutive form of ark (piglet), and sonney means ‘affluent, lucky, fortunate, happy’, and sounds a bit like sonic, hence the little of this post.

Another Manx word for hedgehog is graynoge, which is related to the Irish and Scottish Gaelic words for hedgehog: gráinneog and gràineag. The root of these words is gráin (abhorrence, disgust), so they mean ‘the abhorrent/disgusting one’. The Welsh word for hedgehog, draenog, possibly comes from the same root.

According to Wikipedia, arkan sonney, means literally ‘lucky urchin’ or ‘plentiful pig’, and in Manx folklore it refers to a type of supernatural creature that looks like a long-haired pig. It was said that if you caught an arkan sonney or ‘lucky piggie’, which tend to run away from people, you’ll be lucky and will find a silver piece in your pocket.

Sources: On-line Manx Dictionary, Irish Dictionary Online and MacBain Dictionary

This entry was posted in English, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Sonic the happy Manx hedgehog

  1. Andrew says:

    On an only barely related note, did you know that people keep skunks as pets? Apparently they’re quite friendly and make good domestic pets if you raise them as such from an early age, and it’s easy to have their scent glands removed thereby eliminating the most obvious potential problem with this. I just learned that the other day and thought that was very cool, I would love to have a couple skunks and hedgehogs running around my house, I could have so much fun with guests 😀


  2. Roger says:

    pigs in the field or orchard live in shelters called Arks.

  3. David Eger says:

    “The Welsh word for hedgehog, draenog, possibly comes from the same root.”

    I had always assumed it was related to *draen*, meaning ‘thorn’; *draenen* is thorn in the sense of a thorn bush (draenen ddu = blackthorn; draenen wen = whitethorn/hawthorn). I suppose, though, if the word was originally ‘graenog’ (or perhaps ‘braenog’, following the P/Q Celtic transformation pattern), it is easy to see how it could have changed to ‘draenog’ by association with ‘draen’, given the thorny nature of the subject.

  4. David Eger says:

    …Welsh *draen* is, of course, cognate with Irish *draigheann*.

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