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From:Matt Pearson <mpearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 23, 1998, 22:46
To all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, a very happy autumn!  And to all
of you in the Southern Hemisphere, a very happy spring!

(Also, a belated happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, born on 22

In honour of the season, a word on terms for seasons in Tokana.  The Tokana
live in a cool-temperate region of the Northern Hemisphere (probably along
the Pacific coast of an alternate-history North America).  Like many cultures,
they have terms for the equinoxes and solstices:

        winter solstice         ksohe kuisti    (lit. "long darkness")
        spring equinox          ksohesilai      (lit. "darkness-into-light")
        summer solstice         lai kuisti      (lit. "long light")
        autumn equinox          laisiksohe      (lit. "light-into-darkness")

They also have terms for the different seasons, as we do.  However, the
Tokana terms are based on the weather rather than the proportion of daylight
to darkness, and thus do not have fixed time lengths, but can vary in
duration from year to year.  There are six seasons:

        alai            hot, dry weather; very light precipitation and
                        almost no cloud cover; grass turns brown
                                (= mid to late summer)

        mohias          cooler weather; night and morning clouds and
                        some rain; leaves become tinged with yellow; heavy
                        pollen in the air
                                (= late summer, early fall)

        lyipas          temperatures drop; leaves change colour and fall;
                        moderate to heavy rain; crisp nights and occasional
                        frosty mornings
                                (= mid to late fall)

        tuhsa           cold to freezing temperatures; occasional snow
                        or rain; frequent frosts and heavy cloud cover
                                (= winter)

        ihmet           rising temperatures and melting snow; heavy
                        rainfall and heavy cloud cover, with occasional
                        periods of sun; plants begin to flower
                                (= early spring)

        limias          rising temperatures; fields dry up and plants in
                        full bloom; increased sun and wind; warm days and
                        cool nights (or hot days and warm nights)
                                (= late spring, early summer)

This year in Los Angeles, the beginning of fall is corresponding quite
closely to the beginning of the Tokana "mohias":  The temperatures have
begun to drop, the nights are a fair bit cooler, and we're having heavy
cloud cover in the mornings, but it's still pretty dry.

How are the seasons named and delimited in other people's conlangs?
How about weather terms?  Do people whose conlangs are spoken on other
planets have any 'exotic' terminology for weather or seasonal changes?


Matt Pearson
UCLA Linguistics Department
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543