Herfst

The other day, a student asked me where the word "herfst" ("autumn") comes from. Even though I'm a real sucker for etymology, I had never asked myself this question. Turns out it's connected with the English word "harvest" ("oogst", in Dutch). A real eyeopener, albeit no surprise: we harvest in fall.

"Zomer" and "winter" resemble their English equivalents, but what's the deal with "lente", the Dutch word for "spring"? That word happens to be related to "lent", an annual period of fasting en penitence. This period, according to Christian tradition, takes place in spring, in preparation for Easter.

As it turns out, in English, the word "harvest" was used to describe the season of fall until the 16th century, when it was replaced by "autumn", which is based on the Roman word "autumnus". Unfortunately, there is some uncertainty among etymologists as to what that word means, although it is agreed to have derived from Etruscan.

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Inversion

If a sentence starts with an adverbial, the subject and verb always have to change places.

Gisteren heb ik pasta gegeten.

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