Indian summer, the sunny part of autumn we are enjoying now, is named after the North American Indians, possibly because of the colors of the trees experienced by the first English settlers in America. But is "babie leto" named after grandmothers or spiders' webs? Another word for cobweb (cob is an old word for spider) is gossamer, especially when it's floating in the air, and gossamer is derived from "goose summer", which was the time of year around Martinmas, St.Martin's Day, or November 11th, when geese were traditionally killed. That's rather late for "babie leto", but it does make the connection between autumn and spiders' webs. And the German word for gossamer is "Altweibersommer", which makes the connection between late summer and old women.
Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Win and gain. I thought I had a neat explanation for the difference between these words, which was that gain is the French form of the same root verb that turns out as win in the German form. That is not true, however, because they come from different roots, albeit both in old Germanic language. Gain is the French form of the old Germanic verb meaning to graze (pásť), which developed into the idea of lying in wait for something, or hunting.
Win is the German form of the old Germanic verb originally meaning to earn or to deserve (zaslúžiť si). So win has a more general meaning than gain. You can win a prize and you can gain a prize, but you can only win a competition. You can win money and you can gain money, but you win (nowadays) by chance, and you gain by making a profit. I would say gain rather than win an advantage or first place (but win is not wrong). You can win something without trying, but you only gain something with effort.
Už po osemnásty raz budeme môcť prostredníctvom firemnej iniciatívy Stromček prianí urobiť počas najkrajších sviatkov roka radosť aj celkom neznámym deťom.