czech months

Discussion in 'General Language' started by anu, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. anu

    anu Well-Known Member

    how come the czech names for the months are so different from the german/english/french/russian etc. versions which are quite similar? and what about other slavic languages?
  2. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Czech names for months are Czech and meaningful (related to the characteristic properties of individual months), not derived from Latin as those you mentioned. Russian is a Slavic language, but adopted the Latin terms (as well as Slovak). On the contrary, Polish names for months originated similarly to the Czech ones.
  3. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Very interesting - any idea where to find a description of the Czech meanings of month names?
  4. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Leden - icy month (led = ice)
    Únor - month of ice-floes plunging (nořit se = plunge)
    Březen - month of pregnancy (many animal females are pregnant) (březí = pregnant)
    Duben - month of oak leaves growing (dub = oak)
    Květen - blooming month (květ = bloom, flower)
    Červen - month of cherries turning red (červený = red)
    Červenec - month of fruit and grain ripening (červený = red)
    Srpen - harvest month (srp = sickle)
    Září - month of leaves turning (zářit = shine)
    Říjen - month of deer belling (říjet = bell, rut)
    Listopad - month of falling leaves (list = leaf, padat = fall)
    Prosinec - month of hog-killing (originally prasinec, prase = hog)
  5. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Thanks so very much - makes perfect sense!
  6. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    This is great Jana! I have one comment. I think that "listopad" actually means "the month of fallen leaves" ("list opad" - foliage has fallen off) when all leaves have fallen off trees and the trees are bare. For "červen", I've seen an explanation where the name was supposed to be based on the word "červ" (worm). I think there is uncertainty about the origin of some of the month names.

    Most Polish names of months are of Slavic origin also:

    January - styczeń
    February - luty
    March - marzec
    April - kwiecień
    May - maj
    June - czerwiec
    July - lipiec
    August - sierpień
    September - wrzesień
    October - październik
    November - listopad
    December - grudzień

  7. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Well, my Holub´s Etymologický slovník jazyka českého is back in Olomouc, so I just put down what I remembered and I could not verify it. I agree with Dana that in November, almost all trees are bare already, so its Czech name means the month of fallen leaves.
  8. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I guess we're lucky month names aren't like this in Florida. June, July, August, and September would probably be:
    and Stilltoodamnhoten

  9. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    Glenn -- I think one of those months -- maybe July? -- could be "winzablowin." Hope you're not in the panhandle... Hurricane Dennis just made landfall!

  10. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Very true - well, luckily I'm on the west coast - missed most of the action (did get a small tangerine tree in my swimming pool but no big deal). Tampa has not had a direct hit since 1921 - hope our luck holds up. Thanks for the comments.
  11. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

    září - means "za říje" (Old Czech zařuj)

    The original Russian names of months:

    Сухий (later Проталень),
    Травень (later Цветень),
    Червень (later Липень),
    Зарев(later Серпень),
    Рюин (later Вересень),
    Листопад(or locally Желтень),
  12. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    The Ukrainian months are similar:

    січень (sichen') - Jan.
    лютый (lyutyi) - Feb.
    березень (berezen') - Mar.
    квітень (kviten') - Apr.
    травень (traven') - May
    червень (cherven') - Jun.
    липень (lipen') - Jul.
    серпень (cerpen') - Aug.
    вересень (veresen') - Sep.
    жовтень (zhovten') - Oct.
    листопад (listopad) - Nov.
    грудень (gruden') - Dec.

    Interestingly enough, the word for March (березень [berezen']), which is very close to the Czech (Březen), apparently comes from the word "береза" ("beryoza") meaning "birch" tree. also states that "Březen" comes from "bříza" (adj. březový), birch, which is what I had understood.

    Also, the month of June (червень [cherven']--Ukr., Červen--Cz.) is also said to have come from червяк ("cherviak") or červ (same with July in Czech--Červenec).

    September in Czech (Září), as szarkafarka pointed out is claimed to be from "za říje" by, although I had always heard Jana's variant (month of leaves turning, from "zářit" = shine). A Ukrainian variant of August is зарев ("zarev"), "the time for hunting deer."

    December (Prosinec--Cz.) is quoted as being the month of gray color ( says this is from Old Czech, and that it has no present-day Czech equivalent). A variant of the Ukrainian name for January (просынец, sp? ["prosynets"]), is very similar, yet is said to come from " winter's rousing from sleep, or prosynannia, as the days grew longer." Interesting.


    It is very curious that there are conflicting accounts of the etymology of these names, even more curious that they seem to cross over to other languages (particularly to other Slavic languages), yet sometimes indicating different months. Talk about confusing! :shock: Hmmmm....
  13. AZ2SI

    AZ2SI Member

    Let's add another Slavic language to the list:

    Traditional Slovenian months (rarely used nowadays, which is a shame):

    1. prosinec (according to my source, named after a low-quality bread eaten at this time of year)
    2. svečan ("the icicle month", sveča=icicle or candle)
    3. sušec ("the dry month"; that's when the ground gets dry enough for planting to begin)
    4. mali traven ("the little grass month" -- trava=grass)
    5. veliki traven ("the big grass month")
    6. rožnik ("the flower month" -- roža=flower)
    7. mali srpan ("the little sickle month" -- srp=sickle)
    8. veliki srpan ("the big sickle month")
    9. kimavec (no clear meaning)
    10. vinotok ("the month of flowing/pouring wine" -- vino=wine, tok=flow)
    11. listopad ("the month of falling leaves" -- listje=leaves, pad=fall)
    12. gruden (named after lumps of frozen earth)

    Compiled using the resources of [no longer online -- I originally compiled the list for another forum a few years ago]
  14. AZ2SI

    AZ2SI Member

    I found the Google cache of, so here, for the sake of completness, are some alternate traditional Slovenian names of months (Slovenian is more dialectically diverse than any other Slavic language):

    1. prozimic (according to the source, a combination of prosinec and zima=winter)
    2. sečan (sekati=to cut [wood]), svičan
    3. brezen, breznik (breza=birch tree)
    4. travnik
    5. majnik, cvetnar (cvet=flower), cvetnik, rožni cvet, rožni mesec, šentlipovšek, risalšček, risalščak
    6. bobov cvet, rožencvet (according to the source, it could refer either rž=rye or roža=flower), prašnik (prašiti=to pollenate), senšek, senovjek (seno=hay)
    7. žetnjak (žetev=harvest), pšeničnik (pšenica=wheat), senenec, Jakobov mesec, srpnik, krstnik (krst=baptism)
    8. mlatnik
    9. poberuh, jesenik (jesen=autumn), malomašnik ("little mass month"), miholščik, sadnik (sadje=fruit), sadni mesec, šentmihelski mesec
    10. listognoj (listje=leaves, gnoj=rot, compost), kozoprsk (koza=goat, prsk=heat), obročnik, vinec, vinščak (vino=wine), moštnik (mošt=cider), bendimjak, bratvin, repar, lukovščak, vsesvešček
    11. listognoj, kozoprsk [alternate w/ October], andrejšček, gnilolist, martinščak, martinšček, martovšek, listnik, vahtnik, listnik
    12. kolednjak, božični mesec ("Christmas month"), veliki božičnik, venahtnik

    And I'm sorry if I just bored everyone to death :) , but I'm hoping some ameteur Slavists find this worthwhile.
  15. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    10. listognoj (listje=leaves, gnoj=rot, compost), kozoprsk (koza=goat, prsk=heat), obročnik, vinec, vinščak (vino=wine), moštnik (mošt=cider), bendimjak, bratvin, repar, lukovščak, vsesvešček
    11. listognoj, kozoprsk [alternate w/ October], andrejšček, gnilolist, martinščak, martinšček, martovšek, listnik, vahtnik, listnik

    :shock: Good heavens, how do you manage to set a date with this linguistic confusion? Suppose that we agreed to meet 1st of Kozoprsk which can be either 1st of October or 1st of November. Bringing a tent and provisions for a month seems the only way to handle the problem.
  16. AZ2SI

    AZ2SI Member

    Exactly! However, while that was a problem, say, two hundred years ago (when their use was regional), these names are now archaic. Even the standardized traditional Slovenian names of months, which I listed in my first post, are very rarely used nowadays. You'll find them on an occasional newspaper or magazine, but only "Januar, Februar, Marec, etc." are used 99% of the time.

    Neighboring Croatia, however, still uses only traditional months on a daily basis, like the Czech Republic. However, theirs are again different from both the Czech and the Slovenian ones (and Russian, Polish, etc.):

    1. siječanj
    2. veljača
    3. ožujak
    4. travanj (trava=grass)
    5. svibanj
    6. lipanj (lipa=linden tree)
    7. srpanj (srp=sickle)
    8. kolovoz
    9. rujan (=rut)
    10. listopad
    11. studeni (=cold)
    12. prosinac

    Source: Wikipedia

    ^^ Note that their listopad and prosinec(-ac) occur one month earlier than in Slovenian or Czech.

    P.S. What about the Slovaks: Did they have their own traditional months before they adopted Western ones, or were they essentially the same as in Czech?

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