Swedish speakers, can you help me parse this word?

I recently had the occasion to come across the Swedish word häpnadsväckande, or “astonishing”, as in Likheten är häpnadsväckandep, or “the resemblence is astonishing”.

Based on extensive knowledge of German and English, and somewhat less knowledge of various other Germanic languages, I know enough to be curious about Swedish, but not enough to back it up with action. I’m curious aout this word häpnadsväckande. I surmise that the -ande ending is a gerund marker, just as “-ing” is in English. If I’m right about that, then häpnadsväck- must be some kind of a verb of some kind, most likely a compound verb from the looks of it.

What would that verb be, and if it is a compound or prefixed verb, what would those other constituents be?

häpnad: wonder, amazement, surprise.

väckande: awakening, rising

As you suspected the -ande ending signifies something that is presently going on, like a gerund marker, though in Swedish the verb form is called the present participle (Swedish: presens particip).

The nominative form of the verb is “väcka”, cognate of the German word “wecken” and the English “wake”, in the sense of waking someone up.

“Häpnad” (“astonishment”), comes from the verb “häpna”, adjective “häpen” - astonished. A north germanic word originally meaning “to quickly draw ones breath”, or “pant”. probably onomatopoetic.

Interesting answers, thanks both of you.

So the English word “happen” probably came from the same Nordic root. According to etymonline.com the word existed in OE as “hæppen” but I suspect it was brought over by the Danes and was not a native word.

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Modern English happen may well be from an Old Norse verb form related to the Old Norse noun happ (=“good fortune”) and Icelandic noun happ (=“luck” whether good or bad). Other modern English words from the same Proto-Germanic root include *mishap, happy, happenstance, * etc., all ultimately from the PIE root kob-, which suggested success or a good fit.

I doubt the Swedish häpen is at all related though. Recall that in Swedish, the letter Ä/ä is considered to be a separate letter of the alphabet from the letter A/a. It usually corresponds to Æ in Icelandic. I found a Swedish dictionary online with some etymological information under the entry for häpen. My Swedish isn’t good enough to be sure but I don’t think it’s related to English happen.

You are probably right. E. Hellquist Svensk etymologisk ordbok (3:d ed., 1980) gives the following etymology (my translation): "häpen, NT 1526; from older hipen, compare Sw. dialect. hip§en, full of expectation [—] related to Sw. dial. hipa*, gasp for breath [—]; onomatopoetic, like Sw. dial.* kipa*, pant.

It’s cool that hanging out here teaches me stuff about my own native language that I didn’t know before!

väckande would also be instantly recognizable to a German speaker (weckend).

My Norwegian dictionary gives “häp” as meaning expected, usual. Quite a bit different from “happ”: luck, fortune.

We likewise do call it a present participle in English, but I’m not sure in what context that happens. I could be all wrong, but IIRC an English teacher in school would have called that a present participle. A university linguistics professor would call it a gerund.

A present participle is a verb denoting continuing action. They end in -ing. “Are you asking me a question?”

A gerund has the same form (i.e., a verb word ending -ing) but it is used as a noun. “The answer is yours for the asking.”

In Dutch there is verbazingwekkend, which uses the same second part

Those Vikings got around a bit for sure…:slight_smile:

I just want to add that häpna (v.) carries a lot of connotations, all more or less boiling down to surprise:

as an adjective - häpen

As always, depending on context and the way we, as well as Germans, love our compound words, also depending what pre- and suffixes are used.

source: https://www.saob.se/artikel/?unik=H_1999-0041.0h60&pz=3#U_H1999_62940