Wow! Here in northern Spain we usually have rain all year around, as well as cloudy gray skies. But this weekend, the heavens were clear and a big firey ball showed up, leaving us all wondering «where the hell did this summer come from?».
If we only had our thesaurus close by, we could’ve known it was from Old English sumor. This concept is so clear cut that its meaning hasn’t changed much since Proto Indo-European times; *sam-, *sem- and *sm- roots have referred to summer, seasons, or the whole year in some abstract cases, steadily since then. Many languages have conserved that root: Dutch zomer, German Sommer, Swedish sommar, Welsh haf or Sanskrit sámā, for example.
For once, the exotic note comes from Romance languages. French and Italian took Latin aestus (fire, heat) and gave way to été and estate. Spanish and Portuguese made it more complicated: their verano / verão comes from Latin veranum for “spring time”… and their spring primavera comes from prima vera… “early spring”. Though, apparently, spring and summer where kinda blurry in ancient times, so it could be argued that they mean “summer time” and “early summer” as well. So much for the clear cutness I mentioned before.
In any case, early or not, I’m happy to welcome sunny times.
Originally published in The blind mouse.