Octo(m)ber

Perseas

Senior Member
October, the 10th month of the year. In Greek, the pronunciation is [οktovrios] and the spelling <Οκτώβριος>. Some people erroneously or by choice (?) insert an μ (m) before β, i.e. Οκτώμβριος, probably by analogy with Σεπτέμβριος, Νοέμβριος, Δεκέμβριος (September, November, December).
Does this also happen to other languages? I assume yes.
I've also heard that in some languages (like in Romanian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Georgian) the pronunciation or the spelling with m is the norm. Is it true? How is the situation in other languages?
 
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  • Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    In French, I've never heard an erroneous "m" inserted in octobre (whether the "om" would be pronounced /om/ or nasalised into /ɔ̃/).
    The model of septembre, novembre, décembre has no influence on octobre.
     

    סייבר־שד

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Mexico
    So it’s true what I’ve heard. Greek seems to be the party pooper of the neighbourhood. 😁
    Looks like it :D, I'm not sure about Armenian, but like Romanian, Bulgarian and Macedonian, Georgian has an "m" in that month's name, as well:

    • Georgian: ოქტომბერი [okʰtʼomberi]

    [Last-minute edit: I deleted the entries for Bulgarian and Macedonian and rewrote my post, because I completely missed @Panceltic 's post where he/she already mentioned those two. Sorry for that!:oops:].
     
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    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Out of solidarity with Greece, I would say that, Cymraeg/Welsh, so far, is the only language which has no octo- or octom- connection with regard to 'October'. You're not alone, Ellas! :)

    Our word is Hydref, identical with the word for 'autumn' - the only difference being the month is written with a capital letter, the season, generally not: hydref.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Does this also happen to other languages?
    In Russian a similar (but different) analogy took place as well. September and November had been loaned from Byzantine Greek into Old Church Slavonic as септѧбрь (septẽbrĭ) and ноѩбрь (nojẽbrĭ) respectively, while October had been loaned as октѫбрь (oktɔ̃brĭ) or октѫврь (oktɔ̃vrĭ)*. However, most East Slavic dialects already had lost their nazal vowels by that moment, changing them to [æ] and [u], which resulted in September and November being initially loaned as [septæbrĭ] and [nojæbrĭ] (however, [septæbrĭ] apparently caused some difficulties and confusion, so forms with [-mt-] and [-nt-] have been also attested; it's the last variant that has made it into modern Russian through all the phonetic changes). Октѫбрь [oktɔ̃brĭ] would have been initially loaned as [oktubrĭ], but that form is virtually unattested in Old East Slavic; the analogical form октѧбрь [oktæbrĭ], based on the [-æbrĭ] ending of the two other months, took its place. With the following palatalizations, the fall of the yers and South Russian akanye (plus some more small tweaks in vowel quality), we basically have the modern standard Russian forms [sʲɪnʲˈtʲab(ə)rʲ], [ɐk'tʲab(ə)rʲ] and [nɐˈjab(ə)rʲ].

    *- please note that OCS [oktɔ̃vrĭ] apparently already reflexes -μβ- in the Greek source.
     
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    hui

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    Our word is Hydref, identical with the word for 'autumn' - the only difference being the month is written with a capital letter, the season, generally not: hydref.

    Finnish:
    October = lokakuu ("mud moon")

    Finnish month names are written with a lower case letter.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    In Hebrew no "m", it's October.
    Seems that modern Hebrew has borrowed the non-Jewish month names from German, including the pronunciation of October.

    BTW: Traditionally we have a mixed lunar-solar Jewish year of 12 months and sometimes 13, their names are borrowed from Akkadian. Turkish shares some of these Akkadian names: Şubat, Nisan, Temmuz, Eylül, but not the one equivalent to October.

    BTW2: before (or in parallel to) the Akkadian names, we had Hebrew (or pre-Hebrew) month names, but most of them were lost (completely forgotten) in biblical or pre-biblical time, only 3 are known. We may have had yet another system in which the months or periods of 2-months were named after agricultural actions, see Gezer Calendar.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    *- please note that OCS [oktɔ̃vrĭ] apparently already reflexes -μβ- in the Greek source.
    Do you mean that the Greek source had "October" with m (i.e. Οκτώμβριος)?
    (Incidentally, I've read that in some late Byzantine sources the month was spelled with μ)


    It's the same in German: No "m" in October. (German spelling Oktober).
    Not even as a mistake? I'm asking because in Greek Οκτώμβριος is a common mistake. :)
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I'm asking because in Greek Οκτώμβριος is a common mistake. :)
    Doesn't this inserted m work just to change the v sound to a b? Oktobrios rather than Oktovrios?
    I'm just thinking of the mechanisms of the Greek alphabet which lacks a B and represents the b sound where existing as mv.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Doesn't this inserted m work just to change the v sound to a b? Oktobrios rather than Oktovrios?
    I'm just thinking of the mechanisms of the Greek alphabet which lacks a B and represents the b sound where existing as mv.
    No, the inserted m doesn't change the v sound to a b.
    Οκτώβριος is pronounced [oktovrios]
    Οκτώμβριος is pronounced [oktomvrios] or rather [oktoɱvrios].
     
    I got confused, sorry, I thought it was *Οκτώμπριος. :oops:
    In Tsakonian it is:
    «Γενάρης» /ʝeˈnaɾis/, «Φλεβάρης» /fleˈvaɾis/, «Μάτζης» /ˈmad͡zis/, «Απρίλης» /aˈprilis/, «Αμάης» /aˈma.is/, «Σερικής» /seɾiˈcis/, «Αωνάρης» /a.oˈnaɾis/, «Άγουστος» /ˈaɣustos/, «Σετέμπρης» /seˈteɱbris/, «Οχτώμπρης» /oˈxtoɱbris/, «Νοέμπρης» /noˈeɱbris/, «Δετσέμπρης» /ðeˈt͡seɱbris/.

    Note that months in Greek are masculine.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I think October is resistant to gaining an -m in English because the vowel is accented -o in -ober rather than accented -e in -ember so people don't associate them. In these cases the vowel sounds are clearly articulated. Maybe a little kid could make up Octember because of September and November but very quickly virtually all naive speakers know the names of their months and wouldn't make a mistake.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    The Irish for October is "Deireadh Fómhair", literally "end of harvest". Pronounced /dʲerʲə fo:rʲ/ (with a few other pronunciations too).
     
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