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 The word"month"

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: The word"month"   Sun 10 Jan 2016, 22:28

This morning at breakfast thinking about how time for the ancients was perceived as with the daily sun, the differences of the four seasons, but how came they to the perceiving of a "week" and what with a "month"....and suddenly I saw in the word "month" obviously the explanation of the month cycle...of course the "moon"...and as in German, Dutch, French, Spanish it is always the same word "moon"...
Tomorrow a more elaborated message...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 11 Jan 2016, 00:25

Yes, Paul - the "day" used to be counted from noon to noon in Royal Naval logs many years ago - can be confusing if you aren't aware of it, as stuff happening on the morning of the nth comes after the afternoon of the nth, hence the Authorised Version formulation "and the evening and the morning were the first day" (before the development of sufficiently accurate clocks, how could you tell when midnight arrived?). Months cause all sorts of problems as there not an exact number of lunar months to a solar year - the exam authorities in the UK are trying to work out how to deal with the problems concomitant on fasting students taking vital exams in Ramadan now it coincides with the main exam period.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 11 Jan 2016, 09:20

Paul wrote:
and suddenly I saw in the word "month" obviously the explanation of the month cycle...of course the "moon"

Or vice versa - that the "moon" got its name from "month"? Both words (which as you say maintain an impressive conformity of pronunciation through many different languages) can be traced back to the Sanskrit mâ or mê which implies measurement. However the conformity seems to be restricted to "month" rather than "moon". In Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Breton etc the word mí means month. However the moon is "gealach", or varieties thereof in other Celtic tongues. Irish can also be traced back to Indo-European roots in many cases, so maybe in the sequence of things it has always been the sound for month that prevailed and the one used for moon that has been an optional etymological extra?
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 11 Jan 2016, 10:51

The word for Monday in European languages is almost universally associated with the moon, but in romance languages that is clearly distict from the word for month, eg:

in French, the moon is la lune, Monday is lundi, but a month is un mois
in Italian,  the moon is la luna, Monday is lunedi, but a month is un mesa
in Spanish, the moon is la luna, Monday is lunes, but a month is un mes

whereas in German, the moon is der Mond, Monday is Montag, and a month is ein Monat, etc...

As Nordmann suggests the words for month, even in Germanic languages, may have subtley distinct derivations than simply being from the word for moon, or is it that the all words for month pre-date the latin language deriving from a much older root.

In this regard, while the 7-day week is clearly a quarter subdivision of the 28-day lunar month and was established in antiquity (and certainly was in use by the Hebrews) ... it was not used in Europe until first adopted by Rome and then imposed by them on everyone else. Didn't Rome originally divide the month into three nine-day "weeks", while the Greeks originally divided up a month into three ten-day "weeks", called decades, (very like the French revolutionary calender)? The Germanic tribes I don't think had anything more sophisticated than, "first half of the month" followed by "second half", at least not until the Romans arrived to organise things. I suppose the uniform naming of the days of the week derives from the Roman Empire with the days of the week being named after the local equivalents of the Roman gods and celestial bodies.


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 07:59; edited 1 time in total
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 11 Jan 2016, 22:59

Moon in Hindi/Urdu is chand. Chand Raat is the first moon sighting to end the month of fasting. Not relevant here, perhaps but does break the cycle of other  month/moon relate observation. Month is 'meen' in those languages.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Tue 12 Jan 2016, 21:49

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Yes, Paul - the "day" used to be counted from noon to noon in Royal Naval logs many years ago - can be confusing if you aren't aware of it, as stuff happening on the morning of the nth comes after the afternoon of the nth, hence the Authorised Version formulation "and the evening and the morning were the first day" (before the development of sufficiently accurate clocks, how could you tell when midnight arrived?). Months cause all sorts of problems as there not an exact number of lunar months to a solar year - the exam authorities in the UK are trying to work out how to deal with the problems concomitant on fasting students taking vital exams in Ramadan now it coincides with the main exam period.


But yes those ancients...even midnight
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/02/telling-time-clocks/

"Of course, one of the drawbacks to this early way of keeping time was that, depending on the season, the length of each period could vary quite a bit. Another drawback was that at night the Sun was most unhelpfully missing from the sky, but Egyptians, like us, still needed to measure time.  After all, how else would they know when the bars closed?  To get around this problem, their astronomers observed a set of 36 stars, 18 of which they used to mark the passage of time after the Sun was down.  Six of them would be used to mark the 3 hours of twilight on either side of the night and twelve then would be used to divide up the darkness into 12 equal parts.  Later on, somewhere between 1550 and 1070 BC, this system was simplified to just use a set of 24 stars, of which 12 were used to mark the passage of time.
The Babylonians used a similar system, and also had seasonally-adjusted hours, so that the Babylonian hour comprised 60 minutes only on the spring and fall equinoxes. Sixty was important to the Babylonians, who inherited a base 60 calculation system from the Sumerians; ingenuous, 60 is a convenient number for doing math without a calculator since it is evenly divisible by each of the numbers 1 through 6, among others, and, most relevant to timekeeping, 12.
Rather than using variable length hours, Greek astronomers in the 2nd century BC began using equal length hours in order to simplify the calculations when devising their theories and in experiments, although the practice did not become widespread until after the introduction of mechanical clocks; as such, regular folks continued to rely on seasonally-adjusted hours well until the middle ages."

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Tue 12 Jan 2016, 22:04

@Meles meles wrote:
The word for Monday in European languages is almost universally associated with the moon, but in romance languages that is clearly distict from the word for month, eg:

in French, the moon is la lune, Monday is lundi, but a month is un mois
in Italian,  the moon is la luna, Monday is lunedi, but a month is un mesa
in Spanish, the moon is la luna, Monday is lunes, but a month is un mes

whereas in German, the moon is der Mond, Monday is Montag, and a month is ein Monat, etc...

As Nordmann suggests the words for month, even in Germanic languages, may have subtley distinct derivations than simply being from the word for moon, or is it that the all words for month pre-date the latin language deriving from a much older root.

In this regard, while the 7-day week is clearly a quarter subdivision of the 28-day lunar month and was established in antiquity (and certainly was in use by the Hebrews) ... it was not used in Europe until first adopted by Rome and then imposed by them on everyone else. Didn't Rome originally divide the month into three nine-day "weeks", while the Greeks originally divided up a month into three ten-day "weeks", called decades, (very like the French revolutionary calender)? The Germanic tribes I don't think had anything more sophisticated than, "first half of the month" followed by "second half", at least not until the Romans arrived to organise things. I suppose the uniform naming of the days of the week derives from the Roman Empire with the days of the week being named after the local equivalents of the Roman gods and celestial bodies.


Thanks Meles meles for the explanation of the history of the "week".

"In this regard, while the 7-day week is clearly a quarter subdivision of the 28-day lunar month and was established in antiquity (and certainly was in use by the Hebrews) ... it was not used in Europe until first adopted by Rome and then imposed by them on everyone else. Didn't Rome originally divide the month into three nine-day "weeks", while the Greeks originally divided up a month into three ten-day "weeks", called decades, (very like the French revolutionary calender)? The Germanic tribes I don't think had anything more sophisticated than, "first half of the month" followed by "second half", at least not until the Romans arrived to organise things. I suppose the uniform naming of the days of the week derives from the Roman Empire with the days of the week being named after the local equivalents of the Roman gods and celestial bodies"


etymologie "week"
http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/week1

étymologie "semaine": septigesima: seven days

Kind regards, Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 18 Jan 2016, 09:05

In antiquity until well into the middle ages a new day was deemed to start at sunrise, and accordingly a new day date-wise, started at the same time, the night-time period before the start of the day was the eve. For example Christmas Day started at sunrise on 25 December, so I take it Christmas Eve was strictly the period between sunset on the 24th and sunrise on the 25th.

When did the current convention of taking the arbitrary time of midnight to be the official start of a new day? Midnight itself has little connection with events of the natural world, unlike sunrise, sunset, moonrise etc, and would have been meaningless in a time before people had a timepieces. Was the convention perhaps adopted as a necessary function of the monastic Rule of St Benedict, which required specific offices to be sung at precise periods throughout the night?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 18 Jan 2016, 09:51

MM wrote:
Was the convention perhaps adopted as a necessary function of the monastic Rule of St Benedict

It played a role, or more specifically the marking of nones played a role, as did the development of accurate timepieces which could be made more easily and generally available to places/organisations wishing to measure out the day in hours.

Midnight seems traditionally to have been defined more or less as "solar midnight" (literally the middle of the night when the sun is directly behind the earth from the perspective of the measurer), a logical and dimple definition, and played no significant role in either secular or ecclesiastical routines. However noon was of far greater significance, and it is worth noting that the term "noon" was directly derived from "nones", a time of day around 3pm in our currency which had an administrative significance in Roman times, and even more so in later monastic life. "Nones" literally means the ninth hour, which itself is a little arbitrary as it was the ninth hour from an "ideal" daybreak and therefore only actually true twice a year in most climes. However, even for monks, observing nones accurately had far greater urgency than any midnight ritual might, as a miscalculation could adversely affect the productive day - in winter quite adversely indeed as it traditionally marked the end of tasks possible only in daylight.

In the 12th century, coincidentally as reliable clocks were making their appearance, it was indeed the church which attempted to impose some order (pardon the pun) on things. The nones prayers were switched to the sixth hour after the ideal daybreak time (with more than one eye on productivity, I reckon) and this became set as midday. Midnight was then automatically set along with all the other hours of the day.

It still took another two centuries before Europe as a whole adopted the standard. And it seems to have been a standard spread through urban and religious rather than purely agricultural communities. As ever, those whose routines were dictated by available light and prevailing seasonal shifts couldn't care a hoot what others called the time of day or why, or indeed however clever a clock might be at measuring it.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The word"month"   Mon 18 Jan 2016, 15:08

Back tracking a bit, in Europe, may tribes took sunset to be the beginning of a new day - Sanhaim being a long lasting folk memory of this.
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