I’m fascinated with language (when I’m in active brain mode). The best thing about learning a foreign language is seeing the world with a new perspective. (The worst thing is feeling like an idiot most of the time, but we won’t get into that now.)
In Czech, the words for all the months come from words describing that time of year. I know this sounds a little elementary, but when you’re struggling along to learn your list of 100 new vocabulary words and you realize that November literally means “Leaves Fall,” because you learned the word for leaf and fall already, the connection (and blessing of not actually having to memorize something completely new) is beautiful. Leaves Fall was my first of these, so I went through the rest of the months with an ever increasing smile. January is from the word for ice. March is for the word “pregnant, heavy with young.” April is from oak tree. June is from the root of “red.” May is from “flower.”
I love this. I love that every time they talk about the months, they’re thinking about what that time of life brings, what’s going on in nature. I would have to google the origin of our English month names to even know what most of them mean. Actually, I already do know. (Because I just googled it.)
Of course, the most natural thing in human nature is to take the most selfish view of everything. So I run to my birth month. “Let’s see what I get! What does October mean in Czech?” I was so excited to find out, since in English, October is for “eighth” in Latin. Yes, you quick counters. October is the tenth month. The Roman calendar started with March. So October in English is basically three steps from meaning anything to your modern English speaker.
So what beautiful word picture do I get for October? When I announce my birthday in Czech, what am I saying?
Well, it’s rut. As in, the animals get excited and make funky noises. Then they mate.
I got rut.
I’m at this point a little more thankful for October, from eighth in Latin, which was given to the tenth month because March was the first month of the Roman year.