How Other Languages Affect Ours

Written by on August 17, 2017 in blog, grammar, writing with 0 Comments

How Other Languages Affect Ours

If you’ve ever wondered how other languages affect ours—wonder no more. All you have to do is look at a calendar, or think about it when you wonder “Where do the months of the year names come from?”

Did you ever wonder where we got the names for the months of the year? If you did, I’m about to end your wonderment. It’s an interesting read. I was aware of some of these but not all, so while researching this, it held a few surprises.

 

January

January is (or was) Janus’s month. Janus was the Roman god of gates and doorways. He is typically shown with two faces and looking in opposite directions. In Latin, his name was Janurius. So in the first month, we see how other languages affect ours.

February

February is the month of Februa. The Latin word for it was Februarius. Februa was the Roman festival of purification, which was celebrated on the fifteenth.

March

March was the month of Mars. March was originally the beginning of the year, designated as the time to resume war. March was named after Mars, who was the Roman god of war.

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April

April was Aphrodite’s month. Aphrodite was the Greek Goddess of love and beauty. Her equivalent is the Roman goddess Venus.

May

May was Maia’s month. The Latin name for it was Maius. Maia was the Italian goddess of spring. She was the daughter of Faunus and the wife of Vulcan.

June

June was reserved as Juno’s month. Juno was the goddess of the Roman Pantheon. She was the goddess of marriage and the protector of women. She was the wife and sister of Jupiter. She is equivalent to the Greek goddess Hera. When you look at how other languages affect ours, there is not much better an example than June (and perhaps March and August). They are almost identical to the original words.

 

July

July was named after Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, which is where we get the reference to the Julian calendar. When he changed things he renamed July after himself.

 

August

August was named after Augustus Caesar, Rome’s first true emperor. Not only is a month named after him but the word august takes its name and meaning from him. He named the month after himself while perfecting and completing the calendar that his uncle had begun.

September

September is the seventh month and derived its name from the Latin word meaning seven—septem. But wait a minute, September is not the seventh month.

You’re right. Not now it isn’t. But back in the time of Julius Caesar, there were only ten months in the year, not twelve. And September, October, November, and December represented months seven, eight, nine, and ten.

October

October gets its name from the Latin word associated with the number eight—octo.

November

November was the ninth month, and as such, drew its name from the Latin, novem, which means nine.

December

December was the tenth month and—you guessed it—got its name from the number meaning ten—decem.

Summary

Who knows what we’d be calling the months without the good old Romans? That is but one example of how other languages affect ours. There are plenty more examples, and many of them I’m sure you never knew about. Read about some in my upcoming book, No Mistakes Grammar, Volume V, Misuse Words and Then Some.

Next we’ll tackle how the days of the week got their names. You might be surprised at some of them. And if you want other grammar examples to read, try this one.

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Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes nonfiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series as well as books about grammar and publishing.

When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count, they had forty animals—seven dogs, one horse, six cats, and twenty-five pigs.

Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with forty-five loving “friends.”

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About the Author

About the Author: Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series as well as books about grammar and publishing. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends. .

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