Regional vocabulary differences

Frances   Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:07 pm GMT
We don't use fall at all, only autumn.

As for "prom", if it is a night out that is with formal attire, then its called a "formal", and not, its a "social"
Damian   Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:47 pm GMT
Towards the end of this month the clocks go back one hour to Winter time. At the end of March they go forward an hour again to Summer time.

To remember which is which:

Spring forward
Fall back
Kenna D   Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:49 pm GMT
FALL is an old English word. AUTUMN is imported from French.
Davis   Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:11 pm GMT
autumn sounds strange, just like aubergine

what's wrong with fall and eggplant
Rick Johnson   Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:12 pm GMT
"what's wrong with fall and eggplant" I don't think most British people eat enough aubergine to worry about what it's called. I think "eggplant" is an american word, unlike zucchini and courgette which are just Italian and French words for the same thing.
Adam   Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:43 pm GMT
"what's wrong with fall and eggplant "

because they are foreign words.

The proper way to say it is autumn and aubergine.
Adam   Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:47 pm GMT
"FALL is an old English word. AUTUMN is imported from French."

No. "Autumn" comes from the Latin word "autumnus."

And, contrary to popular believe, "fall", meaning "autumn" isn't the English word "fall" (because leave FALL from trees in that season). It comes from the Old Norse word "fall", which is an infinitive meaning literally "to fall from a great height."
Adam   Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:50 pm GMT
In Scotland, the word for the English "pop" or American "soda" is "ginger."
Adam   Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:52 pm GMT
Etymology of Autumn
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

First of all, who says autumn? For us here in the United States, "autumn" is a word generally reserved for poetry and verbose old aunts. We call it "fall". "Fall", of course, refers to the natural action most directly correlated with the season: the descent of the leaves. This term is now almost exclusively used here in the U.S., though it came into being in Britian and was once used interchangeably with the word "autumn" in British English. The word "fall" comes from the Old Norse fall, meaning literally to fall from a height. When the Norse settled in Britian, this word replaced the Old English word fyll of the same meaning. The use of this word to describe the season following summer first came into being in the 16th century, when autumn was referred to in Middle English as "the fall of the leaf." The shortening to "fall" came later, during the seventeenth century, as seen in this passage from Dryden's Juvenal, published in 1693:

What crowds of patients the town doctor kills,
Or how, last fall, he raised the weekly bills.

It is interesting to note that while "fall of the leaf" technically meant autumn, it was also part of a slang term meaning execution by hanging. The phrase "to go off with the fall of the leaf", in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, meant to be hung in the gallows, the gallows being sometimes referred to as "the leafless tree". Sometimes the word "autumn" was even used as a slang term for hanging, because of it's relationship to the phrase "fall of the leaf". The word "autumn" comes from the Latin autumnus and was first used as "autumn" in the fourteenth century. You can see the roots of this word, of course, in the other Romance languages: the Spanish oto toamn

(Something I find interesting is the root of the word "ratoon" - in English meaning a shoot sprouting from a plant base. This word can be traced all the way back to the Latin using words related to autumn. It comes from the Spanish reto "again") and the Spanish verb oto autumnus. Interesting, no? Well, maybe only to me!)

Another "fall" word we use commonly is foliage, meaning of course greenery or leaves. We say things like "Wow, look at that beautiful foliage!" Some people say "Wow, look at that beautiful FOILage!" This word is commonly misspelled and mispronounced in English as "foilage". In fact, a Google search of the words foliage and foilage yields websites with both spellings on the same page. Perhaps as a comfort to all the bad spellers out there, you're not alone! This word first appeared in Middle English spelled just like that, foilage. In lingustics this place-switching of two sounds within a word is called metathesis, and it was apparently done way back when just like it is today. The first definition was "a design resembling leaves", but it eventually came to mean any collection of leaves or greenery. The word was first adapted into Middle English from the French feuillage (you can see how the misspelling came into being!). Feuillage means a collection of leaves; it comes from the French for leaf, feuille. That can be traced back to the Latin word folio, which means leaf, and has been adapted into many Romance languages (Italian foglio, Spanish hoja, Portuguese folha, and so on). The spelling of the word was changed back to "foliage" in honor of its authentic Latin root. You can see this Latin root as well in English words like portfolio - it came to mean either the leaf of a tree or a leaf of paper.

Latin is everywhere in Autumn. Besides the words we've already discussed, even the names of the months are from Latin. September, October, November, December - it's easy to see the numeral roots in these words. Sept = seven, octo = eight, nove = nine, dece = ten. But wait, you say, September is not the seventh month! Ah, but we've all heard the story of the narcissistic Caesars, inserting extra self-titled months into the calendar: July for Julius, August for Augustus. The insertion of these months into the center of the calendar bumped everything back, and now we're stuck with a ninth month with the inept Latin name "Seventh Month." It's amazing what the egos of men can accomplish!

Of course, we'll start off the fall in just a couple of days with the equinox (Latin equi - equal, nox - night) and finish it off towards the end of December with the winter solstice (Latin sol - sun, stitium - a stoppage, derived from the verb sistere - to make to stand still). Interestingly, there are only two commonly used words in English that have this second root, stice: interstice (a crevice) and armistice (stoppage of armed conflict). Although these words have the latter form -stice, you can better see the tracing to the original Latin root in the different forms of interstice, namely the more commonly used interstitial.

Am I annoying you yet? I could go for hours! I find it so appealing that everywhere you look in the fall, there is some trace of the past, whether linguistic or cultural. The ancient pagan rituals of celebrating the equinox and All Souls' Day and Samhain are so cleverly and intricately woven into the fabric of our lives that we consider them to be modern traditions. And our English words are so ingrained in our minds, it's easy to forget where they came from. No matter how far we grow, we are always inextricably connected to the past through our language and our tradition, a notion that I, for one, find comforting and exciting.
Tiffany   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:22 pm GMT
I don't agree with that article. Fall and Autumn are used interchangeably and at the same rate where I am from. The article makes "Autumn" sound archaic, which is far from the truth.
SpaceFlight   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:32 pm GMT
<<Fall and Autumn are used interchangeably and at the same rate where I am from. The article makes "Autumn" sound archaic, which is far from the truth.>>

Yes, both ''fall'' and ''autumn'' are used here in the United States.
Travis   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:33 pm GMT
>>I don't agree with that article. Fall and Autumn are used interchangeably and at the same rate where I am from. The article makes "Autumn" sound archaic, which is far from the truth.<<

Well, depends. At least here, in most spoken usage, "fall" seems to be strongly preferred over "autumn", which to me at least sounds generally formal and poetic overall.
Frances   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:35 pm GMT
I often think why there is an "n" on the end of Autumn, was it ever pronounced?
SpaceFlight   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:39 pm GMT
<<I often think why there is an "n" on the end of Autumn, was it ever pronounced?>>

In ''autumnal'', the ''n'' is pronounced.
Lazar   Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:41 pm GMT
<<<<I often think why there is an "n" on the end of Autumn, was it ever pronounced?>>

It's because it comes from the Latin word "autumnus". The -us ending was removed, as in many other Latin borrowings in English, leaving -mn on the end. Words can't end in [mn] in English, so the -n became silent, like in the word "column". But in derived words, like "autumnal" and "columnist", the n is pronounced.