Friday, November 07, 2003
Languagehat pointed to a NOAA article about the origin of the term Indian summer and tracing the early citations to late 1770s Colonial/Revolutionary North America. This led me to wonder what similar early autumn warming trends were called elsewhere. The Glossary of Meteorology noted that in Europe the terms old wives' summer, St. Martin's summer, St. Luke's summer, and All-hallown summer were used.
Some more digging found that Middle and Eastern Europe seemed to prefer variations of old wives' summer or old woman's summer
- Altweigersommer (German)
- Altweiwersummer (Pennsylvania German)
- oudewijvenzomer (Dutch)
- vénasszonyok nyara (Hungarian)
- babie lato (Polish)
- babí léto (Czech)
- бабье лето (Russian)
- veranillo de San Martín (Spanish)
- estate di San Martino (Italian)
- estiuet de San Martí (Catalan)
- l'été de la St-Martin (French)
- l'été de la St-Dénis (French)
- l'été de la St-Gérard (French)
- brittsommar (Swedish)
"After summer" is used in Frisian neisimmer and in Flemish nazomer to describe Indian summer, while Québécois uses the same term as English, just in French: l'été des Indiens (although the less PC l'été des Sauvages is also found in some references). I asked a Brazilian colleague what the term was in Portuguese and she insisted that it is summer year round in Brazil thus no need for such a term.
A few other terms that turned while digging online:
- Schmokdaage or Schmokwedder (Pennsylvania German) "smoke days" or "smoke weather"
- 秋老虎 qiu1lao3hu3 (Chinese) "tiger autumn"
- 小春 koharu (Japanese) "little spring"
- lé p'tit été (Jèrriaise/Jersey Norman French) "little summer"
- vjeshtës më kohë të verë (Albanian) "autumn at the same time as summer"
- druhá míza (Czech) "another sap" or idiomatically "a new lease on life"
- золотая осень (Russian) "gold autumn"
- γαϊδουροκαλόκαιρο (Greek) Καλόκαιρο means summer, but I'm not sure what γαϊδουρο means; it's not in my dictionary, nor any any glossaries/dictionaries I can find online.
- pastırma yazı (Turkish) "pastrami summer" There must be some other translation for pastırma, but I only have a small Turkish dictionary.
© 2003–2010 T. Carter Ross