https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre

What's up with the Turkish months?

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Does anyone know why the Turkish months are taken from all over the place?

From the Gregorian calendar: mart, mayıs, ağustos

From the Babylonian calendar: şubat, nisan, haziran(?not sure where this came from), temmuz, eylül,

(These are also used in the Levant and Mesopotamia as translations for some of the Gregorian months, and they are used in the Hebrew calendar too)

From Turkish/Old Turkic: ocak, ekim(?not sure), aralık

From Arabic: kasım (apparently qasim means divider in Arabic, I don't know what the connection is - incidentally aralık seems to mean the same or a similar thing)

So for example, most of them are from the Babylonian calendar, via Arabic, so why didn't they use ayar for May?

6/11/2015, 6:40:05 PM

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/aucunLien
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Note that the same lack of patern can be seen in the name of weekdays: http://www.turkishclass.com/forumTitle_49963

"The names of the days come from various languages:

  • Cuma (means meeting in Arabic) = Friday

  • Cumartesi ( =cuma ertesi = the day after cuma) = Saturday

  • Pazar (Ba = Eating, zar = place in Persian) = Sunday

  • Pazartesi ( =pazar ertesi = the day after pazar) = Monday

  • Salı (means 3rd in Hebrew) = Tuesday

  • Çarşamba (Cehar=Four şenbe=day in Persian, means 4th day) = Wednesday

  • Perşembe (Penç=Five şenbe=day in Persian, means 5th day) = Thursday"

And here's another page about months: http://istanben.tumblr.com/post/42797433467/etymology-of-the-turkish-gregorian-calendar

It all sounds pretty fantastic really, but what we see as a crazy patchwork is probably felt by native speakers as obscure and quite irrelevant etymology for everyday words. Our own calendar seems all set, but its history is also a bit crazy, with months representing either gods, numerals or powerful people, october, november and december really being the 10th to 12th months, february having lost days so that August would be represented no less grand than Jules, etc.

8/9/2015, 2:08:58 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
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Yes, I noticed this too. However, I'm dubious about your explanation for Monday. Third in Hebrew is שלישי shlishí, which isn't very close to Salı and I don't know the mechanism by which it entered Turkish, but if you have further information I'd love to hear it.

And you're totally correct that our own system is strange. I just found it strange as a Hebrew speaker that some of the months resemble the secular calendar in Israel (yanuar, februar, mertz etc.) and others resemble the religious Jewish calendar (nisan, Iyar, Sivan. tammuz etc.).

8/9/2015, 2:19:03 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/aucunLien
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I just quoted that link i gave on top, and i think the author there reused someone else's stuff. Nothing of this is a trustworthy source, i don't think - but i doubt there is deliberate misinformation in it. So errors are very likely, and i certainly can't stand by the opinion that Salı comes from Hebrew for myself, sorry!

The parallel with the Jewish calendar months is intriguing for sure! It'd all make a very nice read if someone were to check all this and put it together in an article of sorts. As far as guesses go, i don't think it's overly surprising to see similarities between Hebrew and Arabic, especially when it's acknowledge that their origins are in Sumerian or Babylonian.

That second link i put indicates for example that Tammuz is named after a Sumerian and Babylonian god of that name. Surely it is just as surprising that Hebrew took it in as is, defying monotheism in a way, as it is that Turkish took some names here and some there. I guess it goes to show that these names are not the product of careful forging by ancient wise men, but rather that of usage and tradition, colliding sometimes.

Unless you have another etymology proposition for Tammuz in Hebrew?

8/9/2015, 5:05:56 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
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Tammuz is certainly of Babylonian origin, as are the others.

It's not so surprising that Hebrew has the Babylonian calendar system, considering the whole Babylonian exile thing (around 600-520 BCE). Before this, only four months were mentioned in the bible: Aviv (Spring), Ziv (Radiance), Eitanim (Strong ones) and Bul (Withering). These are 1, 2, 7 and 8 of all the months, corresponding to Nissan, Iyar, Tishrei and Cheshvan following the Babylonian exile. (The other months didn't have names in the bible and were just called "third month" and so on, and even these named months usually followed that practice too.) When the Jews returned to the land of Israel they kept the months. An explanation of this is that they wanted to not forget the exile (Jews have a thing for not letting go of past tragedies, and much of Jewish tradition is to do with remembering these events, such as the Egyptian period of slavery and the exodus, and the Babylonian exile). Other than this, it could be that the Jews simply liked or found it convenient that the months had names and continued to use them. For sure, earlier generations were supposedly very against the polytheist nations found in the area of Palestine, but we can only go on what is written, and it is supposed that a lot of this was written in an attempt to prevent the not uncommon conversion of Jews/Israelites to the worship of these other gods, such as Baal, nicknamed Ba'al-zvuv (Beezlebub - Lord of the Flies) by some Jews/Israelites.

8/10/2015, 10:28:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
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And btw, Salı is more likely to have come from Arabic than Hebrew, where in fact "third" sounds slightly more similar to Salı: thalith, or salis in some dialects. That's the etymology that this website gives, anyway.

8/11/2015, 11:02:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/orde90
Mod
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You should check this out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi_calendar

Before using today's Gregorian calendar the Ottoman Empire first transitioned to a Julian calendar after 1839. We borrowed some of the month names from Greek: Mart, Mayıs and Ağustos.

Rumi means Greek Orthodox and this is a Julian calendar. So we actually should have used all Greek names but since we used highly Arabic at that time we changed many of them with Babylonian ones I think. I don't really know why we didn't use all Arabic or all Greek.

Lastly there were some long compound names as Birinci Teşrin, İkinci Teşrin, Birinci Kanun and İkinci Kanun and we changed them with Turkic ones (Ekim, Aralık, Ocak) except Kasım which has an Arabic origin.

6/13/2015, 12:04:53 AM
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