One of the many wonderful perks of my job is that I get to think up copy for our English website. Generally, it entails reading a portion of the manga in question, looking at the Japanese copy, and thinking of what would draw readers to that manga.
This week I have been working on copy for several titles, including A Raven That Cries But Sheds No Tears by Unohana. I will save a review for another time, but to very briefly sum it up, this passionate but bittersweet story features college student Seiji Aizawa and his reserved but sexy neighbor, Rin Ugouda, who happens to go to the same college. Seiji tries to get Rin to open up to him slowly, but it is hard going until he learns that Rin bats for the same team. Please see the item page in the link above to read more.
Anyway, as I was thinking up copy for this title, I noticed that Rin’s last name, Ugouda (烏生田), features the Chinese character for raven, 烏 (karasu). I felt inspired to work the idea of a raven into the copy and began researching ravens. I learned a lot.
For example, did you know that a group of ravens is called either a murder of raven or an unkindness of raven? I knew that we’d use murder for crows, but wasn’t aware it could be applied to raven as well. Of course, after a little more research, I learned that the major difference between ravens and crows is size, but that we tend to interchangeably call the bird either raven or crow without much thought about its size or features.
Research is a key part of our jobs as editors. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who works as an editor here at Renta! loves researching and it shows. My research on raven eventually snowballed into research on collective nouns for animals. It turns out that English is quite rich with such nouns. To name a few that stood out:
1. A shrewdness of apes
2. A destruction of cats (used mainly for feral cats)
3. A paddling of ducks (when they’re on water; also can be called a raft of ducks)
4. A flamboyance of flamingoes
5. A business of flies (apparently, this is a corruption of busyness)
6. A pride of lions
7. A watch of nightingales
8. A parliament of owls
9. A tuxedo of penguins
10. An ambush of tigers
Of course, they can be replaced with the more generic term group, but now that I’ve learned these, I can’t go back.
I had planned to plug another upcoming work by Unohana featuring Jaguars in this post, but it turns out that they tend to be solitary animals, so unfortunately they have no collective noun. Sob.
Have you learned anything new or interesting recently in your research? Share it with us in the comments below!