What's wrong with the name "Autumn"???

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Over the past few weeks I've heard this season referred to as fall probable several hundred times. I've heard the word Autumn twice & that was in the name of a soup at a ritzy restaurant. WHY do people not like the word Autumn???

    Can you say Autumn?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well yes, but then I'm English. "Fall" is an American usage, isn't it? I don't know the origin of the term, but always assumed to was to do with leaves falling, which I understand can be rather more dramatic in N America than here because of the continental climate. Is that right ? And do Americans also use the term Autumn?
     
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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Yes we use the word Autumn.
     
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    In Canada and USA "fall" is more likely to be used in everyday conversation and autumn more frequently used in formal contexts. Since there may be no means to ask for immediate clarification with the latter (as if somebody reading in a magazine or hearing in a lecturer's audience that "The tragic incident occurred last fall" could be dense enough to take that as referring to the most recent severe drop in market conditions, etc, instead of the season!).
     
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I use the two interchangeably. Remembering, of course, that we just had the autumnal equinox.
     
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Do you call the spring "Vern"?

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  10. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I thought about that during lunch...

    Not to mention that the southern hemisphere just had their vernal equinox. Maybe we should drop the terms vernal and autumnal, and just refer to them as the March and September equinox.
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,757
    Well then you'd have to call the fall "Autu" and that would be confusing. (Or you could call them "vernal" and "autumnal" which might get people thinking you're smart!)
     
  12. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    Autumn sounds more french or even german and also fall is so much easier to say and quicker, so people in US just say fall instead.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    "Autumn" is indeed one of the thousands of French words that were absorbed into English during the Norman occupation which began in 1066.

    Dictionary.com says that "Fall" is a relatively new word, going back only to the 1600s. It's a contraction of the once-common phrase "the fall of the leaves."

    "Autumn" is a Latin word, but it is not of Indo-European origin, since it has no cognates in the other Indo-European languages. The Romans may have borrowed it from the Etruscans.

    The Germans call the season Herbst, easily recognized as our word "harvest."
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,295
    "Fall" is also a more richly connected word - the fall of the year corresponding to the fall of night, the fall of the leaves, the sense of "fail", and so forth. One seems to fall into cold and dark, rather than rise into light and warmth. " Autumn" is by comparison isolated and disconnected, specific and sparse, almost a technical term.
     
  15. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

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    "Liking" a word is completely up to person speaking - that's the beauty of language. The majority of the [American] population probably find it easier to say "fall" because the MN sound in "autumn" isn't utilized in speech very often, I can only think of a handful of times when it is actually used.
    (I.E. Autumn, Damn, Column, Condemn, Hymn, solemn)
     
  16. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

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    Fall is easier to pronounce to most native English speakers, and it makes much more sense to describe the season (as others have noted)
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Actually, the N is silent in all of those words, so there's no phonetic problem for anglophones of any dialect (British, American, Indian or Australia-New Zealand). In Latin it was autumnus, so even the Romans didn't have to cope with a word ending in MN. We do pronounce the N in "autumnal."

    The Germanic peoples called the season "harvest," and it still bears that name, Herbst, in German. The season was called Harvest in Britain up into the 1500s, when (for reasons I have not been able to discover) they began calling it Autumn. In the late 17th century, Americans began calling it "the fall of the leaf," which was soon shortened to simply "fall."

    I have not been able to determine whether Americans ever used the name Autumn.
     
  18. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Americans probably can't pronounce the word "autumn".
    They can't even pronounce "America".
     
  19. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    How odd.
    Being literal is almost exclusively the province of the English, amongst English speakers, yet the attitude is entirely American.
    My surname, by way of example, demonstrates quite clearly I am descended from peasants. So very English.

    Personally, I ran across a client with the surname "Aegisdottir", several months ago. To clarify, this is not a first-generation family name.
    I'm still trying to figure out just how that came about.

    It has nothing to do with English, of course. Just a curiosity.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Huh? We all say uh-MEH-ri-kuh. That's the exact pronunciation given in Dictionary.com.

    I've never heard an Englishman say it any differently. The only difference is that you people tend to flap intervocalic R (as in Spanish, Japanese, and probably a majority of the world's languages), whereas we gargle it somewhat (like the Danes and the Parisians).
     
  21. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

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    Nevermind, just another limey flapping his gums. They still think English belongs to them.
     
  22. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry, I should have said "some Americans"
    Maybe it's not widespread, but
    I have heard it pronounced it as "A Meerka."
    Like Meerkat without the final T.
    It is said in sentences like
    "Ameerkans should impeach Obamma".

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    We're Amerikats.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  23. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

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    A Meerkat Gothic
     

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