I love keeping up with the latest technologies, scientific developments, astronomical discoveries and the like; it informs my novel-writing and plot development. But what did our present look like in the past (if one could say that)? What did past generations look forward and envision for our time? How much of it was humorously inaccurate, and how much of it could be inspiration still? For a glimpse into the minds of the past, click on the photo below.
We can blame both spellings on the Romans! February is fairly clear: Februa is thought to be a Sabine word (maybe we could blame them for italics, too), meaning “purifications”; Februarius mensis was the month of purification. Before 450 BC this was actually the last month in the ancient calendar and referred to the feast of purification celebrated on the ides of that month throughout the Roman Empire. Ides was the term used for approximately mid-month, being the 13th or 15th, depending on whether that particular month had 29 or 31 days. Interestingly, in English it replaced the Old English solmonað (“mud month”… very appropriate, that) sometime in the 12th century when they began using the Old French term Feverier.
Wednesday accumulated slightly more pedigree before landing in our agendas: It started off as the “day of (the god) Mercury,” the Latin dies Mercurii. It was confiscated by the Scandinavians for their own religious version for Odin, Oðinsdagr (Old Norse) or Onsdag in Swedish. This came with them over the Channel and was adopted by their English counterparts as wodnesdæg, or “Woden’s day.” Old Frisian came fairly close to modern English with Wonsdei (I’ve probably seen that spelling on Facebook from people who can’t type with their i-phones properly…). By the mid- 400 AD period, the Germanic Goths had been converted from Paganism to Christianity by Greek missionaries, and their language began to reflect the changes: The astrological or religious terms gave way to ecclesiastical (or at least neutral) ones. This difference is reflected in words like Mittwoch (German for Wednesday, meaning literally “mid-week”), sreda (Russian), or środa (Polish), both meaning literally “middle.”
So there you have it: Blame it on the Romans, or the Vikings; but whoever you blame, just remember to spell them in correct modern English.
What happens when complete strangers, from enemy-nations, meet face to face? Or in this case, screen to screen? Smiles, and the realisation that at the core, humanity transcends race, colour, creed, nationality, culture and language. Coca-Cola engineered the experience; unfortunately it’s not a permanent installation due to the complex technology involved, but what if it one day could be a permanent fixture? So many people are alone in a crowd; it would be a possibility to connect with a stranger face to face, and maybe in the process, even meet a new friend. To read the article and see the video, please click on the image below.