Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique)

Robert McGee (
12 Oct 1995 20:28:23 GMT

In article <45jjn6$>, (Gilbert Aubin) says:

>Actually,both versions are in use. In some European languages names of
>the days are notderived from names of planets,as they are mostly in
>English (Monday - Moon-day, Sunday obvious, Saturday - Saturn- day etc)
>but they reflect the numerical position of that day in the week.The
>Slavic ponedelnik/ponedilok says "at the head. in front of the week,
>cetverg is the fourt day (Thursday) pyatnica/piontek/pentek is the fifth
>(Friday - in English it is a Free day - why?)

Not so; Friday, according to my dic, comes ultimately from the Old High
German "frigdaeg," or "Frigga's day," which is presumed to be a calque
of the Latin "dies Veneris," or "day of Venus."

>On the other hand Mittwoch is the Mitte der Woche, the mid of the week,
>which is only true if it starts with Sunday, so the jury is out.

The Russian "sreda" also refers to Wednesday's position in the middle
of the week. (The names of the other working days, as you pointed out,
derive from the cardinal numbers 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th.) Either the
Slavic and German peoples once began their weeks on Sunday, or else
they, like U.S. workers, placed Saturday and Sunday together in a
special category apart from the 5-day work week. (If so, the Russians
eventually discarded this concept, forcing them to borrow from English
the useful term "uikend.") | I wanted to get a World Bank MasterCard | so I could charge hydroelectric dams
Washington, DC | and stuff.
| --P.J. O'Rourke
The opinions expressed here are mine and do not reflect the views
of the World Bank.