lethargic_man: (linguistics geekery)
[personal profile] lethargic_man

It's a well-known fact that the names of the Hebrew months were picked up during the Babylonian exile; the months mentioned earlier in the Bible have completely different names. It's also well-known that at least one of them -- Tammuz -- is named after a Babylonian god. But I knew nothing about where the other ones came from, so, after [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel and [livejournal.com profile] papersky were wibbling on about Babylonian culture the other day, I had a look to see what Wikipedia had to say on the subject:

Contemporary HebrewAkkadianMeaning
ניסן (Nîsān) Nisānu from Sumerian "Nisag", meaning "first fruits" (yay, another Sumerian loan-word in Hebrew)
אייר (Iyyār) Ayyaru "rosette" or "blossom"
סיון (Sîwān) Simānu "Season, time" -- evidently cognate to Hebrew זמן ("zeman")
תמוז (Tammuz) DūzuFrom the Sumerian god Dumuzi
אב (Āv) Abu
אלול (Elul) Elūlu
תשרי (Tishre) tašrītu "beginning", from "šurrû" to begin.
מרחשון ([Mar]Ḥešvan) Waraḫsamnu
כסלו (Kislēw) Kislimu
טבת (Ṭēḇēṯ) ṭebētu
שבט (Shevat) šabātu
אדר (Ădhār) adaru

I thought this was pretty interesting even where it doesn't give the meanings. (I wonder, also, if there are Hebrew cognates to the other Akkadian words it gives.) Look at all those /m/s becoming /v/. I wonder if the Babylonians pronounced /m/ whilst continuing to breathe out between their lips, like the Spanish pronounce /v/.

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