Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Word Mystery: verano / summer / été / estiu

2 Comments

Wednesdays, I explore the linguistic origins of the same word in different languages.

In this park.

In this park.

May is over and I’m pretty sure there were only two 24-hour periods where it didn’t rain.

Standing in a park the other day as the drizzle started to fall, someone nearby muttered, “Finally.” Unsure of who they were speaking to, I said, “Excuse me?” The man was a little startled but seeing that I didn’t pose any threat, he said, “It’s finally raining. You know how you wait all day for it to start when you know it’s coming? It’s just a relief when it finally starts.”

Yeah, dude. I totally know that feeling.

CAT → estiuEstació de l’any, entre la primavera i la tardor, que, a l’hemisferi nord, comença el 21 de juny, al solstici d’estiu, i acaba el 23 de setembre, a l’equinocci de tardor. [Season of the year, between spring and fall, which, in the northern hemisphere begins on the 21 of June at the summer solstice and ends on 23 September at the vernal equinox.] ORIGIN Latin aestīvum [summer-like, summer].

EN → summer — the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August and in the southern hemisphere from December to February. ORIGIN Old English sumor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zomer, German Sommer, also to Sanskrit samā [year].

ES  veranoÉpoca más calurosa del año, que en el hemisferio septentrional comprende los meses de junio, julio y agosto. En el hemisferio austral corresponde a los meses de diciembre, enero y febrero. [Hottest period of the year which, in the northern hemispheres is made up of the months of June, July and August.] ORIGIN Low Latin veranum [weather].

FR → étéSaison qui suit le printemps et précède l’automne (du solstice de juin [21 ou 22] à l’équinoxe de septembre [22 ou 23], dans l’hémisphère Nord). [Season which follows spring and precedes autumn from the June solstice (the 21st or 22nd) until the equinox in September (22nd or 23rd) in the northern hemisphere.] ORIGIN Latin aestas [year, summer, heat].

General note: all the definitions included the dates for the southern hemisphere but they made the post too damn long so I cut them.

Spanish-Catalan crossover note: the primary definition in Spanish read estío which was the first time I’d ever come across the word in that language. I’m familiar with it as an adjective, estival, but not as a noun. Curious.

French note: I guess in context it was clear to the Romans if someone meant “year” or “summer” but I’m starting to suspect that there just weren’t enough words in Latin. Of course, maybe if I knew about declinations and all that other business, I wouldn’t think so.

Lots of cool stuff today, including some vindication for Elizabeth, but when crazy languages like Sanskrit show up, I’ve got to go that way. Today’s winner is English for being the most bonkers. Way to win, English!

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

2 thoughts on “Word Mystery: verano / summer / été / estiu

  1. Ha! I’m glad I have the Catalans and the French on my side, but I completely agree with you on why you picked English. :)

    Honestly, the winters have been so miserable for the last few years that schools both near me now and where I grew up have to stay well into June to make up for the snow days (the states I’ve lived in usually have a minimum-day requirement) and some years it’s been so bad that they actually *do* bleed over into the summer solstice. Now they try to build in makeup days in the spring to prevent that from happening, but it’s pretty typical to see school years close out in mid June rather than the beginning of it. When you compound that with the appearance of back-to-school displays going up around the Fourth of July, well, that just seems mean to me.

    • This *is* odd. When I was growing up, snow days were built into the back end of the school year. It was usually already so hot that they’d corral all of us into the central area, open all the classroom windows and doors and plop us in front of a TV. This is the only time I ever saw live-action Disney movies as a kid.

      Now with all the snowpocalypses and other craziness, I don’t know how kids handle it. Of course, they could all be living in Australia where K-12 runs all year long with mid-term breaks throughout instead of a huge expanse of summer to waste.

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