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Ukrainian month names - help?

Okay, so far this lesson is totally defeating me, and I haven't actually found an explanation of the month names that gives me any help! Besides just sitting down and learning them by rote (which is pretty much my plan at this stage), does anyone have any mnemonics or a good explanation of what the months are named after, or similar? They don't even seem to be equivalent to the Russian Slavic/traditional names, which I don't even know to start with LOL.

Any help much appreciated ;)

ETA: I just noticed they have some similarities with Croatian month names, which are a little familiar to me... except they don't correspond. Eep. Help! 8-o

May 23, 2015



Січень - after a practice of clearing parts of forest for fields (сікти ліс - cut forest down). Another version is that it's named for biting wind and cold - in Ukraine we say that wind and cold whip (another meaning for сікти).
Лютий - literal meaning is "fierce, ferocious, severe". Named for its ferocious weather. As the saying goes, лютий спитає, чи добре взутий (February will ask if your footwear is good enough).
Березень - time for harvesting birch sap (береза - birch).
Квітень - it's when plants start to bloom (квітнути, цвісти - to bloom).
Травень - for abundance of herbs (трави).
Червень - that's when cochineal larvae (червець) was gathered, to make red dye.
Липень - for honey harvest, especially linden honey (липовий мед).
Серпень - for crop harvest. "Серп" means "scythe".
Вересень - for blooming heather (верес).
Жовтень - for yellowing of tree leaves (жовтий - yellow).
Листопад - for falling leaves. Листопад - листя падає (leaves are falling).
Грудень - earth, wet after autumn rains, formed lumps (грудки) when frosts hit.


Thank you! This is just what I was after! Thank you so much.

листопад, I knew that was familiar for some other reason than the month name.

Wow, seriously, thanks, this is brilliant and exactly what I needed :D


You're welcome :)


серп is actually "sickle" and "scythe" is коса


Name of the months in some Slavic languages came from the seasonal features and they came from Old Slavic language (I think). Some of the names don't match between languages. In Croatian, srpanj is July, but in Czech, srpen is August! Apparently, because Czech Republic is farther north, the harvest time happens later in the summer.


Oh, that makes sense of why they are different, though also makes me want to cry LOL. Серпень is August in Ukrainian, too!


It is the same with "listopad". In Croatian it is the tenth month, but in some other Slavic languages it is the eleventh month.

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