All Slavic languages: Months

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by DaleC, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. DaleC Senior Member

    In some of the languages of the western Slavic countries (Poland, Czechy, Slovakia -- postscript: I have seen that the Slovaks use the Latin names, and that the Ukrainians use nature names -- and Croatian) months are named for seasonal features. Some of the names don't match between languages. In Croatian, srpanj is July, but in Czechy, srpen is August! Apparently, because Czechy is farther north, the harvest time happens later in the summer.

    I wonder if there is an account of how the names of months in these different languages were created. I also find it interesting that Catholic peoples wouldn't use the Latin month names.
  2. Marijka

    Marijka Member

    Lublin/Eastern Poland
    January -> Polish styczeń from "tyka, tyczka" (pole,perch), that's what i've found, but I'm not sure if it makes any sense. I suppose making wooden poles was winter pursuit. In Ukrainian - січень. But in Old Polish: January - ledzień ( similar to Czech leden, maybe Czech native speakers can explain this word).

    -> Polish luty, from "hard frost", Ukrainian - лютий.

    -> Polish marzec, from Latin Martius=month of Mars, so in Polish we use Latin name, but in Old Polish brzezień as Czech = březen andUkrainian=березень I suppose it's from tree береза = birch

    -> Polish kwiecień from "kwitnąć"=bloom, "kwiat"= flower, blossom. Ukrainian - квітень

    ->Polish maj from Latin Maius, but if I'm not mistaken in Czech květen,but Ukrainian-травень from(?) трава= grass

    -> Polish czerwiec from "czerw" = bee grub, Czech = červen, Ukrainian = червень.

    ->Polish lipiec from"lipa" = lime-tree, Ukr.= липень, but Czech = červenec

    -> Polish sierpień from "sierp" = sickle ( it's of course connected with harvest), Czech = srpen, Ukr.= серпень

    Polish wrzesień from "wrzos" = heather, but Czech = září,Ukr. = вересень

    Polish październik from "paździerz"= remainings after making threads from the flax plant ( so it connected with seasonal pursuit), but Ukr. = жовтень , I suppose it's from yellow color of the trees in autumn, and Czech = říjen.

    Polish listopad from "liście opadające" = falling leaves, Czech= listopad, Ukr. = листопад

    Polish grudzień from "gruda"= frozen ground, (Ukr.= грудень) , but in Old Polish prosień = a month when people killed pigs("prosię") for meat, Czech = prosinec.

    That's what I recall from lectures :) I'm not sure if Czech names are correct, and can't remember all this Old-Church-Slavonic explainations.
  3. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    I will get back to this thread as soon as I have time. For now, I am copying something I wrote in the German forum... yes, in German... :)

    leden - led = das Eis
    únor - unklar, vielleicht nořit se = eintauchen (es sollte mit dem Eis irgendwie zusammenhängen, aber dagegen spricht der Fakt, dass das Tauwetter eher in März kommt)
    březen - bříza = die Birke (ev. březí = trächtig)
    duben - dub = die Eiche
    květen (poetisch: máj) - květ = die Blüte
    červen - červený = rot, červeň = die Röte, červánky = das Abendrot
    červenec - ibid
    srpen - srp = die Sichel
    září - zářit = strahlen
    říjen - říje = die Brunft
    listopad - list = das Blatt, padat = fallen
    prosinec - prosit = bitten

    Thanks for an interesting thread, Dale!

    Marijka, your contribution is excellent. :)

    See you soon,

  4. Marijka

    Marijka Member

    Lublin/Eastern Poland
    I also found different explaination, as Jana said - prosień = prosić = to ask, to request. It could be connected with Christmas traditions (carol-singers).

    Jana wrote, that červen comes from "red" , Polish -> czerwiec (June) -> czerwony (red). I don't know if I'm 100% right, but it reminded me, that "red" in Slavic languages comes from "czerw" - a grub, a maggot - they were dried and used to make purple dye.
  5. Esc New Member

    Russians use the Latin names though they are not catholic.
  6. cajzl Senior Member

    červený (= red) means červem barvený (= dyed by worm)
    červen can be derived directly from červ (worm, larval stage of insect), the reason is not too clear

    září - < "za říje" (rutting season), in Old Czech: zářuj < za řujě

    prosinec - unclear, maybe from siný
  7. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    I've just read that that the root is the same as i.e. in styczność and refers to the fact that January is "at the junction" of the old and the new year. Does it make sense?

    Belarussian names of the months mostly stem from Old Slavic and are, unsurprisingly, similar to the Polish and Ukranian ones. Still there are some differences.

    - студзень [studzjenj],from студзёны - cold, chilly

    February - люты
    [ljuty], as in Pl/Ukr, "severe, biting (frost)"

    - сакавiк[sakavik], from сок - tree sap (which begins to rise at that time)

    April - красавiк
    [krasavik], from краса - beauty or краска - flower

    - both май [maj] and травень [travenj]

    - чэрвень [chervenj]

    July - лiпень [lipenj]

    August - жнiвень
    [zhnivenj] (also connected with harvesting)

    September - верасень

    October - кастрычнiк
    [kastrychnik], a loan-translation from Pl

    November - лiстапад

    December - снежань
    [snjezhanj], from снег - snow

    EDIT: By the way, I've found a very nice summary table :)
  8. Marijka

    Marijka Member

    Lublin/Eastern Poland
    I think it does :) My explaination was after : A.Bruckner, Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego and Encyklopedia staropolska but they both are quite old books (1926/27, 1937)
  9. stargazer

    stargazer Senior Member

    Slovenia, Slovenian

    I can contribute the names of months in Slovenian. I am pretty sure that their etymology is the same as in Polish language (where the names are similar) but don't take my word for it.

    January: PROSINEC
    February: SVEČAN
    March: SUŠEC
    April: MALI TRAVEN
    June: ROŽNIK
    July: MALI SRPAN
    August: VELIKI SRPAN
    September: KIMOVEC
    October: VINOTOK
    November: LISTOPAD
    December: GRUDEN

    I'll check the origin and I'll get back to you. :)
  10. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    I am back with a translation of the German post although much of it has already been explained by others.

    leden - led = ice
    únor - not clear, possibly nořit se = to immerse, to sink (it should imply the melting of ice which generally comes no sooner than mid-March, though)
    březen - bříza = birch (ev. březí = gravid)
    duben - dub = oak
    květen (poetic: máj) - květ = bloom
    červen - červený = red (I had no idea about červ --> červený, thanks!)
    červenec - ibid
    srpen - srp = sickle
    září - zářit = to shine
    říjen - říje = rut (i.e. the rutting season)
    listopad - list = leaf, padat = to fall
    prosinec - prosit = to plead

    I wish I knew more about the origins of the divergence (Slavic versus Latin names).

  11. stargazer

    stargazer Senior Member

    Slovenia, Slovenian
    I'm finally back with some etymology concerning months' names.

    January: PROSINEC; allegedly originates in Old Slavic "prosinoti", meaning "to shine through". The sun usually shines through the clouds in January, hence the name.
    February: SVEČAN; named after "svečnica", a holiday celebrated in this month. Another theory assumes the connection with Old Slavic "seti, sekati" which means to "cut down (trees)".
    March: SUŠEC; alleged originates from the same root as "suh", meaning "dry".
    April: MALI TRAVEN; "mali, majhen" means "small", "trava" means "grass"; grass begins to grow at this time of year.
    May: VELIKI TRAVEN; "velik/i" means "big", in this sense "high"; the grass grows higher.
    June: ROŽNIK; "roža" means "flower"; flowers begin to grow.
    July: MALI SRPAN; "srp" means "sickle"; at this time of year, people start to reap the wheat.
    August: VELIKI SRPAN; "veliki" meaning "big" suggests that the wheat that will be reaped grew higher.
    September: KIMOVEC/KIMAVEC; probably originates in Slovenian "kimati" meaning "to nod", although reasons are unknown.
    October: VINOTOK; "vino" means "wine", "tok" has the same root as "teči", meaning "to flow".
    November: LISTOPAD; "list" means "leaf", "pad" is from "padati", meaning "to fall".
    December: GRUDEN; allegedly originates in Old Slavic "gruditi", meaning "to bite", i.e. "the month in which the cold bites".

    /I found those definitions in "Slovenski etimološki slovar" by Marko Snoj./
  12. cadavir Member

    Vienna (Wien)
    Deutsch, Bosnisch, Croatian (Dalmatian dialect), English, learning French

    Sijecanj (January)
    Veljaca (Febuary)
    Ozujak (March)
    Travanj - meaning "trava" = grass (April)
    Svibanj (Mai)
    Lipanj (Juni)
    Srpanj (July)
    Kolovoz (August)
    Rujan (Septembar)
    Listopad - meaning "list" = leaf (Oktobar)
    Studeni - meaning "studen" = cold (November)
    Prosinac (Decemeber)
  13. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Do you know the origin of veljaca, ozujak, svibanj, kolovoz (something with harvest?), rujan?


    P.S. Welcome! :)
  14. cadavir Member

    Vienna (Wien)
    Deutsch, Bosnisch, Croatian (Dalmatian dialect), English, learning French
    Offcourse I know, most of it ;)
    - Sijecanj => "sijeci" = "cutting down trees for a warming up in the winter"
    - Veljaca => very, very old wort "velja" meaning "changing, variating"...
    - Ozujak => also from old word "lazujak, izujak" meaning seeming weather

    - Svibanj => named after plant "sviba" growing in this month
    - Lipanj => "lipa" = "lime tree, linden"
    - Srpanj => "srp" = "sickle"
    - Kolovoz => stands for a something like harvest, month when people working most in the field.
    - Rujan => from old word "rjuti" meaning roar of animals in the breeding time

    - Prosinac => allegedly originates in Old Slavic "prosinoti", meaning "to shine through". The sun usually shines through the clouds in January, hence the name (copied from stargazer)

  15. Pedja New Member

    Uzice, Serbia
    Serbian, Serbia
    I believe Rujan is from word rujno which menas reddish colour. Word rujno is used in rujno vino (red vine), rujna zora (red dawn). There is also mountainous area in Serbia called Rujno, because of it reddish colour of nature in September and many other places in Balcan having the same name. Red color is also very distinguish characteristic of september.
  16. alby Senior Member

    That is true Rujan stands for reddish color.

  17. cadavir Member

    Vienna (Wien)
    Deutsch, Bosnisch, Croatian (Dalmatian dialect), English, learning French
    @ Pedja and alby
    I think both explanations for Septmeber are correct. Both meanings could be/are correct, becouse I haven't see offical/written proof saying otherwise, when there is, please I would like to see it/read it.
  18. slavian1

    slavian1 Member

    Poland, Polish
    Hi there.
    I've just read a thread posted by Tagarela titled "First May Day". I was so suprised that in Czech květen is a name of the fiths month of the year (May), whereas in Polish kwiecien is the fourth one (April). So I've stared looking for other strange discrepancies among names of the monts in Slavic languages (generally in comparison to Polish).
    I've found also those concering Croatian
    - Lipanj (6-th month) corresponds to Polish lipiec (7-th month)
    - Srpanj (7-th month) corresponds to Polish sierpień (8-th month).
    How could you explain this oddness? Have you encounterd any other such discrepancies?
  19. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I have no idea about the root of květen/kwiecien, but the case of lipanj/srpanj seems pretty straightforward. Due to differences in climate, lime trees bloom and grain is harvested a few weeks later in Poland than in Croatia (lipa is "lime tree" in both Croatian and Polish, and srp is "sickle", a cognate of Polish sierp).

    Curiously, listopad ("month when leaves fall") is October in Croatian, but November in Polish. I suppose thins one came into being more or less randomly, since different trees lose their leaves in different months.
  20. Tagarela Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    Português - Brasil

    O, it is sounds very interesting - althought - a little weird at the same time.
    Perhaps we should look a little at the roots of some words, I mean, květen/kwiecien may me related to some květ- thing that may occurs or be noticed even in the 4th month and and also in 5th.

    How about the Latin names for months? In Czech, only the 5th may have, now it is old-fashioned, as Jana comments on the other thread, have a Latin word Maj. In Slovakian, though, I guess that they use only Latin names for months. I remember that somethign similar occurs between Croatian/Serbian (from the thread concerning wether they're different languages or not).

    Na shledanou.:

    *I wrote at the same time of Athaulf, so, some comments by me are redundant.
  21. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Croatian and Serbian share a set of Latin names for months, but Croatian also has a Slavic set of words for months, whose use is strongly preferred in Croatia nowadays, although the Latin names will also be understood by most people.
  22. Mac_Linguist1 Member

    Macedonian, English
    Macedonian almost exclusively uses the Latin-derived names of the months. The only exception being the Church which uses the older Slavic names in some of its publications. I have also read about ethnic Macedonians living in rural areas of today's Albania who also use them.

    They are as follows (from January to December):

    1. Коложег
    2. Сечко
    3. Цутар
    4. Тревен
    5. Косар
    6. Житар
    7. Златец
    8. Жетвар
    9. Гроздобер
    10. Листопад
    11. Студен
    12. Снежник
  23. zigaramsak Member

    Maybe this is more than a coincidence. At least half of the months are shifted for one place between Croatian and Slovenian calendar. I started with March on purpose, because December and January are shifted too.

    Month: Croatian - Slovenian
    March: Ožujak - Sušec
    April: Travanj - Mali traven
    May: Svibanj - Veliki traven
    June: Lipanj - Rožnik
    July: Srpanj - Mali srpan
    August: Kolovoz - Veliki srpan
    September: Rujan - Kimovec
    October: Listopad - Vinotok
    November: Studeni - Listopad
    December: Prosinac - Gruden
    January: Siječanj - Prosinec
    February: Veljača - Svečan
  24. Kanes Senior Member


  25. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    Only small comment:
    červen - červený = red
    červenec -~ červenější (more red)
    The colour (or worm) can be associated with berries, e.g. cherry.
    I thing, that Cajzl's note about září = za říje is more correct.

    Polish lipiec fairly corresponds with Lithuanian liepa
    Polish grudzień (Ukr. грудень,Slovenian gruden)fairly corresponds with Lithuanian gruodis. If taking note that for long time Lithuania and Poland had common Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita Korony Polskiej i Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego) - it seems be natural.

    There is some discrepance between Czech březen - bříza = birch (ev. březí = gravid [by the way, words březost and bříza can have more common, than it seems in first sight) - (3-rd month) vs Lithuanian birželis - bříza = birch - (6-th month).
  26. mateo19

    mateo19 Senior Member

    Moderator note: merged (sokol). Please use search function before posting, thanks!

    Hello everyone!

    Today in my Ukrainian class we learned the months. I had already known the months in Slovak from before. I was surprised that the months in these two languages were completely different because Slovak uses the Latin names and Ukrainian uses the Slavic names (am I correct in calling them this way?). I am really interested to see how the Slavic languages split between the two systems. This is a great thread and I'm glad Jana pointed it out to me. (Ďakujem!)
    Let's compare!

    And if your language doesn’t use the Latin names, what do the names of your months mean?

    Slovak “mesiace”:
    január, február, marec, apríl, máj, jún, júl,
    august, september, október, november, december

    Ukrainian “місяці:
    січень, лютий, березень, квітень, травень, червень,
    липень, серпень, вересень, жовтень, листопад, грудень

    My teacher told me that the months are named for what happens during them and that they meant something like:
    січень(cut), лютий (ferocious), березень (birch tree), квітень (flower), травень (grass), червень, (?)
    липень (tree), серпень (sickle), вересень (bush that blooms), жовтень (leaves become yellow), листопад (leaves fall), грудень (frost)
    I’m not sure if these are all right. . . She said them very quickly!

    I LOVE etymologies!

    Cyanista, the summary table that you found on Wikipedia is amazing. Thank you very much for posting that link!
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  27. WannaBeMe

    WannaBeMe Senior Member

    Serbian (ijekavian)
    Januar-Коложег<-----kolo-circle,wheel + žegati-to burn (People make fire in circle,like Indians :D to make them warm);
    Februar-Сечко, љути<------seći-to cut (Its the best time for cuting trees), ljuti-angry,bitter (The weather was very cold and angry)
    Маrt-Дeрикожа,сухи<-----derati-to skin, abrade, koža-skin, suhi-dry (That was the month of dry winds that come from South-jug, thats why this month is colled also ожујак)
    Арril-Лажитрава, брзосок<-----lagati-to lie, trava-grass, soka- tree sap (This month only descibes the moment state of vegetation, folse grass or first grass is growing)
    Мај-Цветањ<----cvet-flower (also the moment state of nature, the flowers are blowing)
    Јun-Трешњар<----trešnja-cherry (also a nature state, cherries are ripen)
    Јul-Жетвар<-----zetva-harvest (well, its time for harvest)
    Septembar-Гроздобер<------groždje-grapes, brati-crop (its time for croping rhe grapes)
    Оktobar-Шумопад<---- šuma-forest, padati-fall (autumn is here, leaves are falling down)
    Novembar-Студен, груден<----- studen-cold (it is becomming cold), gruda snega-clod of snow
    Decembar-Коледар, просинац-prositi-to ask for sth., to beg (I heard that in this month young men asked their future wives for a hand, thus they married) and koledo-I heard this word somewhere but I dont know what it means.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  28. DarkChild Senior Member

    Koleda in Bulgarian means Christmas. Koladar is a Christmas caroler.
  29. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    That's interesting; this name also exists in Slovenian (as prosinec, meaning January rather than December), yet Slovenski etimološki slovar, quoted by stargazer above, gives a different etymology:

    But there's another common theory about prosinec: Supposedly it's named after a low-quality bread (prosen kruh) made from proso = "millet" at that time of the year.

    I guess this just shows that Slavic etymology is as much an art as it is a science.

    In Slovenian, the word for "Christmas caroler" is kolednik.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  30. Darina Senior Member

    Bulgaria has officially used the Latin names for more than 10 centuries now. But the Slavic calender existed paralelly until the end of 13. century.

    Old Bulgharian:
    January: Сечен from сека-cut (which does not come from cutting trees but rather the feeling of being "cut" by the cold temperatures. It makes sense in Bulgarian at least.)
    February: Лют (cold, chilly)
    March: Сухи (dry)
    April: Брезен (from бреза birch)
    May: Тревен (from трева grass)
    June: Изок (no idea, perhaps someone can help)
    July: Червен (red, but no idea what is so red in July)
    August: Зарев (may be from grain)
    September: Руен (whatever that means... There is a montain and a summit in Bulgaria with this name and an expression rujno vino, so it has to do with making wine)
    October: Листопад (leaves falling)
    November: Груден (this one is very interesting. gruda, grudka is anything with a spherical shape, for example breasts, so I was surprised to see it explained as frost, cold, etc. In botanics it means a tuber, root crop, so I think this could be the month of potatoes, beetroots, kohlrabi, etc.)
    December: Просинец (something like blue light shining thrugh, or twilight. I agree with stargazer. December is the month with shortest days. Moveover, the etymologies of the other months are connected with the nature: sun, wheather, flora, harvest. Begging does not fit here!) :)
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  31. werrr Senior Member

    No, “červenec” is diminutive of “červen”, that is “minor June”.

    Old Czech for “May” was “máj, maj”. Other obsolete Old Czech names for months are:

    marcius, marec - March - from Latin

    izok, jzok, zok - May, sometimes June - from Old Church Slavonic “izokъ” for “cicada/grasshopper/locust/June” (June ~ month of cicadas)

    prvý/první č(e)rven(ec) - June - first červen

    druhý/vtorý č(e)rven(ec) - July - second červen

    vřesen, vřěsen - August, sometimes July - from “vřes” (heather)

    sečen, sěčen - July or August - from “séci” (to cut/mow/reap)

    listoprch - November - from “list” (leaf) and “prchati” (to leave/disappear)

    hruden, hrudnec, hrudneč - Embolism (a leap 13th month between December and January) - from “hrúda” (frozen clod) or from adjective “hrudný” (= leap; but this could be secondary)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  32. hinko Senior Member

    slovenia, slovenian
    A teacher in elementary school told us it is "Kimavec" because the apples (and other fruits) on the trees are nodding ("kimajo") in the wind.
  33. kknd Senior Member

    Polska / Poland
    polski / Polish
  34. Bruno 1234 Member

    Hello everyone!

    When I tried to learn the months in the Croatian version, a friend of mine told me that there is a rather easier way of talking about months in Serbo-Croatian: prvi mesec, drugi mesec, itd. and then I wrote down this sentence he told me very seriously: "ja i moj brat smo bili u Armiji samo u šestom mesecu".

    Was he just pulling my leg or there is this possibility? He lives now in Beograd, but his family comes from somewhere near Kardelijevo: is this construction a local use?

    Velika hvala.

    / I
  35. A.O.T. Senior Member

    Hi!:) Червень is called so because normally during this month we have ripe sweet cherries (черешні) and cherries (вишні), and strawberries (полуниці). They're of red colour when they're ripe and a red colour for Ukrainian is червоний.
  36. Stonedar New Member

    I would avoid that, since it comes across as a fairly transparent workaround. Also, bear in mind that "u šestom m(j)esecu" often means "six months pregnant". :)
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  37. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Actually, that's fairly common usage, but more so in Croatia and Bosnia; it would be understood in Serbia, but marking the speaker as being from "across the Drina".
  38. marco_2 Senior Member

    In older Ukrainian texts you can also find the form падолист - I wonder if this word is used somewhere nowadays.
  39. itreius Senior Member

    The use of ordinal numbers for month names is very very common in everyday spoken Croatian. Not so much in written form, though. You won't find it being used in formal writing (well, at least not often).
  40. Stonedar New Member

    Either way, Bruno, use it when appropriate, not just because it's easier.
  41. Brainiac Senior Member

    Srpski - Kosovo
    Welcome Stonedar! :)
    I've heard ordinal numbers instead of the names of the months only when you speak about something happening for a limited period of time (pregnancy, trip, diet, illness....), or talking about deadlines.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  42. Selyd Senior Member

    Ukrainian “місяці”:
    Січень (cut )
    Лютий (ferocious)
    Березень (birch tree)
    Квітень (Here Паска - Easter. Писанка is character of ovule, паска – phallus. Flower ==actually the question is about an impregnation..)
    Травень (grass == it is the old name May, but not from Latin. А fetation goes)
    Червень (takes place on behalf of god ЩЕР [ЧЕР, ЩИР] Щервень=== Червень. Аll grows already)
    Липень (tree)
    Вересень (bush that blooms)
    Жовтень (leaves become yellow),
    Листопад, падолист (leaves fall),
    Грудень (From a word there is a breast, frozen piece)
    In old Ukrainian there was 13 month of “злидень” /zlyden'/ (poor, it is necessary to save ride already).
  43. el_tigre Senior Member

  44. Gnoj Senior Member

    јануари, февруари, март, април, мај, јуни, јули, август, септември, октомври, ноември, декември

    Or written with Latin script:
    januari, fevruari, mart, april, maj, juni, juli, avgust, septemvri, oktomvri, noemvri, dekemvri
  45. Bruno 1234 Member

    Damn it, Stonedar!:eek:

    You've discovered that my interest in numerals was only to avoid remembering what's the month of grass, which one the coldest month, when leaves fall and when the chariots bring harvest somewhere!

    Well, I see that I MUST learn them, willing or not!! :D


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