Do you know how to say the days of the week in French? How about the months or words like ‘day after tomorrow’? Learn all of these in our latest post and see how much more confident you feel talking about days, months, and seasons when you’re done. You’ll also find out how some of the days of the week are linked to Roman gods and how the summer season is associated with the word ‘fire’.
Months in French
All of the months in French look pretty similar to those in English – and for good reason! Like the months of the year in English, their French counterparts are derived from Latin, though they’ve travelled into the modern language via Old French.
Days of the Week in French
Here is where we start to see a larger difference between the French and English words. When it comes to days of the week, English has been heavily influenced by its Germanic roots, whereas French has inherited words from Latin.
The French word for ‘Monday’ is named after the moon, while the days ‘Tuesday’ to ‘Friday’ in fact refer back to various Roman gods (and the planets named after them, too):
|lundi||lundi||Lūnae diēs||Day of the moon|
|mardi||Mārtis diēs||variant of diēs Mārtis – Day of Mars|
|mercredi||mercredi||Mercuriī diēs||variant of diēs Mercuriī – Day of Mercury|
|jeudi||jeudi, jusdi||Jovis diēs / Iovis diēs||variant of diēs Iovis – Day of Jupiter|
|vendredi||vendredi||Veneris diēs||variant of diēs Veneris – Day of Venus|
The words for Saturday and Sunday (samedi and dimanche) have slightly different roots.
Samedi is inherited from the Old French samedi. This came from the Vulgar Latin sambatum or *sambatī diēs, which in turn descended from the Latin Sabbatī diēs. This is a variant of diēs Sabbatī, which means ‘day of the Sabbath’. Originally, ‘Sabbath’ comes from Hebrew and means a weekly day of rest.
Dimanche also comes from Latin via Old French (diemenche), but the origins seem to appear in Late Latin and the phrase diēs Dominicus, which means ‘day of the Lord’. Similar words in other Romance languages include the Catalan diumenge, Occitan dimenge, or even the Romanian duminică.
Seasons in French
Of course, all the French words for seasons are also originally derived from Latin.
The word for ‘spring’, printemps, comes from the Old French printans, which derived from the phrase prime tans, meaning ‘first time’ or ‘first season’. The Latin origins are the phrase prīmum tempus.
Summer, été, comes from the Old French esté, which was derived from the Latin aestātem. Ultimately, this likely came from a Proto-Indo-European word, *h₂eydʰ-, which means ‘burn’ or ‘fire’.
Moving onto autumn, and the word automne looks very similar to the English word here. The French is inherited from the Old French word automne, which was borrowed from the Latin word autumnus, also meaning ‘autumn’. As well as the word automne, the French also developed another word for the third season. A popular rural term for autumn in France has historically been après août, which means ‘after August’.
And finally, winter. The French word for ‘winter’, hiver, was inherited from the Middle French hyver, which came from the Old French hyvier, yver or iver. The borrowing of the word for ‘winter-time’ – hībernum – from Latin was first recorded in 1282 and is also where other words for winter like inverno in Italian and invierno in Spanish come from.
Other French time phrases
Here are some more French time words that might be useful for you as you learn some more of the language!
|day||le jour||Originally borrowed from Latin diurnum (‘day’), with a sound change of [i] to [j], followed by a merger of [dj] into [j].|
|day before yesterday||avant-hier||From avant (‘before’) and hier (‘yesterday’).|
|today||aujourd’hui||Formed of au + jour + hui – literally, ‘on the day of this day’.|
|day after tomorrow||après-demain||From après (‘after’) and demain (‘tomorrow’).|
|afternoon||l’après-midi||From après (‘after’) and midi (‘noon, midday’).|
Let us know what you think of this post! We hope you enjoyed learning about the days of the week, months, and seasons in French.
All the French words and phrases in this post can be found in the Calendar topic on our app. Give French a try on uTalk and you’ll learn around 2,500 useful words and phrases for any occasion. Plus, get 40% off your next subscription by visiting this link..
Happy language learning!