Apostroph – countering the November blues with knowledge

When grey veils of mist shroud the cold, damp earth and morning frost decks the deserted fields, lonely paths and forlorn meadows, it's a sure sign that November's upon us. But that's no reason to succumb to the notorious November blues! Banish your despondency and brighten your spirits with a little word-based mental stimulation:

In the Roman calendar, November was originally the ninth month (lat. novem = nine). Then, in 153 BC, the beginning of the year was brought forward by two months, thus breaking the direct relationship between the month's name and its position in the calendar. Some 1,000 years later, Charlemagne introduced the designations Windmond (wind month) and Nebelung (fog month) into the Germanic calendar. November, the month when meat was prepared for the impending winter, is also still known in some regions as Schlachtmonat (slaughter month). Another name for November is Trauermonat (mourning month) on account of the days of remembrance at the beginning of the month. But before we're overcome by a creeping sense of dread, let's turn to weather lore. The adage in German-speaking countries for today's date, 23 November, is: "Do not trust St Clement of Rome, for he seldom shows a genial face." Hm, so how does that help us predict what's coming up, weather-wise? Does it mean winter will be on the mild side - or particularly harsh? Someone able to help us in our cogitations is a comedian who's been holding up a (linguistic) mirror to the Swiss since the 1960s: Emil Steinberger. We could banish the November blues with one of his pragmatic little ditties:

"In November, in November,
we think back to September."

Yet Apostroph wouldn't be Apostroph if we didn't also have an eye on the future: we look forward to being back at your service in the New Year with our extensive portfolio of high-quality linguistic services - month after month, day after day.