Thursday, September 25, 2014


So, I've always vaguely wondered why three of the four seasons have a single simple name ("Spring" "Summer" "Winter") while the fourth has two, both "Fall" and "Autumn".

Checking the dictionary, I didn't find the answer. But I did learn that 'autumn' is Etruscan (though we got it from the French, who got it from the Romans), and means autumn.

I suspect that makes it pretty much the only Etruscan word in common usage in modern English

Live and learn.

--John R.

current reading: THIS PROGRESS by Bernard Acworth (still)


Jason Fisher said...

Now you've got me wondering why there are two words for autumn! Incidentally, there are a number of other common words in English apparently from Etruscan (see here for a start).

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Jason

You're quite right: had I investigated further, I would have discovered that there's quite a list of Etruscan or potentially Etruscan words in common English use today. Makes me wonder if "Etruscan" were not the Pelasgian of Latin: a precursor speech of unknown origin to which can be assigned words otherwise difficult of explanation.