Category: Japanese - Dreams and Dialects
 
I don't like autumn. Everyone acts like it's the most beautiful time of the year, but it really is not. It's cold, wet and depressing. Maybe in some parts of the world it's pretty and photogenic for a day or so, but I refuse to believe that anybody genuinely enjoys autumn. You are all kidding yourselves. 

My Seasonal Affective Disorder-induced bitterness aside, I have decided to share some nice autumnal words from various languages with you. At least autumn is inspiring for art and poetry and has some pretty words, even if the longer nights and the abundance of puddles makes me wish it were socially acceptable to hibernate. 

листопáд (listopád, lystopád)

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листопáд is a word in Russian and Ukranian for the falling of autumn leaves. 

ruska

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Ruska is the Finnish name for the colours of autumn leaves. Similar words in other languages include: 
  • efterårsfarver - Danish
  • 단풍 (danpung) - Korean
  • 紅葉 (momiji or kōyō) - Japanese 

and on that note...

紅葉狩 (momijigari)

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Literally 'red leaf hunting', momijigari is the Japanese tradition of going to scenic areas in autumn to view the changing colours of the trees. 


Hydref, *sido-bremo-

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The Welsh name for autumn, 'Hydref' (which is also the name for October), apparently comes from Proto-Celtic *sido-bremo-, which means 'the bellowing of stags', since autumn is the mating / rutting season for deer. 

mareel

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Mareel is a Shetlandic Scots term referring to the sparkling lights seen on the sea (marine phosphorescence) particularly during autumn nights. 

dagwaagishi

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Dagwaagishi is an Ojibwe word meaning 'he/she spends the autumn somewhere'. 

avar

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Avar is a Hungarian word for the layer of dead, fallen leaves on the ground in autumn. 

秋老虎 (qiū lǎohǔ) 

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A brief period of intense heat in the middle of autumn - in English it's known as an 'Indian Summer', but in Chinese it's called qiū lǎohǔ, literally meaning 'autumn tiger'. 



Do you have any favourites? Any more to add from other languages? Drop me a comment! 
 
Yup, my life is so void of any real excitement that my favourite thing to do is collect interesting words. Since I have a vast collection of many, many words, today I thought I’d share about 10 of these with you. Enjoy!

1. 積ん読 tsundoku (Japanese) 

(n.) The act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books

I think many of us can relate to this one. I myself have quite a few books that I will probably never really read. My grammar of Middle Breton, for example. I just love to collect books, to have them there on my shelf whether I read them or not, just so I can say, "Hey, look, I have a book on Middle Breton grammar" or "And this is my Irish dictionary from the 1920's written in An Cló Gaelach". A lot of people would criticise this practice, but really, with books slowly being pushed aside for e-readers and so on, I'd assume that one day most books will only have ornamental value anyway. 

2. Wīwī (Māori)

(n.) France
I don't think this word needs much explanation. It comes from French "oui, oui". Can you imagine naming a country after one stereotypical phrase used by its language's speakers? Just beautiful.  

3. snowlight (English)

(n.) The light reflected by snow

I'll be honest, I thought I had invented this word myself, so I was a little disappointed to see that it already exists, but it's a wonderful word nonetheless! Have you ever noticed how the world just glows when you're outside in the snow at night? You could walk through a field in the middle of the night and be able to see clearly just from the light reflected by the snow. It's one of my favourite things about winter.

5. molotulun (Ngarrindjeri)

(vb.) The ebbing and flowing of the waves on Lake Alexandrina, South Australia

I can't vouch for the authenticity of this word, as a Google search will only give you links to various dictionaries and a couple of books. Whether this word is genuine or not, the idea of a language having such a specific term fills me with joy. 

6. 森林 sēnlín (Mandarin Chinese) 

(n.) Forest

"Forest?" you might ask, "that's an interesting word?". Well, stop asking such silly questions and just look at it. It's literally a picture of five trees. In fact, from what I've seen, it gets even better. Let me show you how often you can use this simple 木 character: 
木 林 森 𣛧 𣡕 𣡽

How can you not adore this language!?

7. ននៀល [nɔniel] (Cambodian)

(vb.) to lie on the ground and thrash about (as a fish out of water or as a child having a temper tantrum)
It's essentially comparing a spoilt brat to a dying fish, what more could you possibly want from a word? There can't really be that many instances in which you could use it, but I can just imagine it being hilarious. 

8. crebi (Welsh)

(n.) A sheep that has lost its wool by forcing its way through thorns and briars, etc

I discovered this word the other day through the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, and it had me laughing for a good five minutes. Only Welsh could have such a specific sheep-related word. I love this language.

9. serein (English)

(n.) fine rain falling after sunset from a sky in which no clouds are visible

I can't say I've ever experienced this myself, and as someone who doesn't know the first thing about meteorology, I don't quite understand how you can have rain without clouds (someone enlighten me?) but I just love nature words that are so specific. 

10. petrichor (English)

(n.) The distinctive scent which accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell.

Some people use this word to mean 'the smell of the earth after rain', but it does have a slightly more specific meaning than that. It was coined by two Australian researchers, and it is an absolutely beautiful word: it's combined of the Greek words 'petra' (πέτρα) meaning 'stone', and 'ichor' (ἰχώρ) the ethereal golden blood of the gods.