November is almost to a close, and while editing my Iñupiaq database today, I ran into the word for November, Nippivik. It literally means ‘sunset time’. Soon it will be Siqiñaatchiaq [siqiɲaacːiaq] , or ‘no sunshine’ (December). In North Slope dialects it’s Siqiñġiḷaq [siqiɲʁiʎaq] instead; Siqiñaatchiaq is what I’m used to because my Iñupiaq consultant speaks a Malimiut dialect.
These may seem like strange terms for months or parts of the year, until you remember that the Iñupiat live above the Arctic Circle. So in November, the sun sets and won’t appear again for about three months (give or take a bit depending on where exactly your town or village is). As an Alaskan from south of the Arctic Circle, I can still testify that ‘no sunshine’ is quite aptǃ
English is bit boring in this respect, with the occasional shift from basic numbering – which isn’t even accurate in the modern calendar – to months named after historical figures (July, August). Modern Japanese has a basic numbering system, too (‘first month’, ‘second month’, etc.), but Old Japanese and Classical Japanese used different terms (they switched to the new names when the government adopted the solar calendar). 霜月 simotuki, for example, was ‘frost month’, November.
What other interesting month and/or season names are out there?