Have you ever wondered how the days of the week got their names? In this video, I will explain their origins. You'll learn how these names are related to ancient mythology and to the planets. 'Etymology' is the study of the origin of words. Some of the days of the week have a simple etymology, like 'Sunday' -- the day of the Sun, but many of the others aren't as easy! This is a very interesting way to learn about the English language and the cultures that have influenced modern English. I'll also explain how these names relate to the French and German languages. Join me as we will travel back in history, and out into the solar system. I hope you enjoy the journey! Take the quiz to test yourself at http://www.engvid.com/days-of-the-week-etymology/
Hi. I'm Gill at www.engvid.com, and today we're going to be looking at the days of the week and the origin of the names of the days, which are obviously different in different languages, but in the English language, the days, a lot of them, apart from the sun and the moon, a lot of the days are named after gods. Not... Not god, not the Christian god, but before Christianity came to the UK or to Britain, we had these... It's called pagan gods. "Pagan" just means before Christianity. So, there were these not just one god, but a group of gods, and a goddess as well, a female god. And the days were named after them. Okay. So let's have a look through the days of the week and I'll tell you all about how the day got its name. Okay. So, this goes back hundreds of years, so that's why it's a little strange.
So, "Sunday", the main religious day in the Christian world, but before Christianity in the pagan times, Sunday-obviously, "sun"-was named after the sun. Sun's Day. Because, obviously, you look up into the sky and the sun is the brightest thing there, and it keeps you warm and all of that, so everyone knew the sun was very important for human life to survive, so they named the first day of the week after the sun. Sun's Day. And just to make a link, here, with the German language because we share a lot of similar words with the German language: "Sonntag", so in German as well, the sun... The word for "sun" in German is in the name of the German word for Sunday. Okay. Right, so that's Sunday, Sun's Day, the day dedicated to the sun.
Next day: "Monday". It's not totally obvious, but it's named after the moon. Moon. "Mon", "moon", so there's a little moon. And again, because the sun, most important and then after that you look up in the sky at night and you see the moon, so it's like the second most important thing that you see. So, Moon's Day, Monday. And in German: "Montag", so that's the moon in German. But also, the example from French because in French the word for "moon" is "lune", "la lune", so in French, again, the day is named after the moon and it's called "lundi". So even in French, which has a different word, it's still connected with the moon. Okay. Right, so that's the sun and the moon for the first two days of the week.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. "Tuesday" is named after one of the pagan gods called Tiu, T-i-u. Tiu's Day. Okay? And he came from the sort of North European group of gods. Okay? And Tiu was the god of war. He represented war or... And the god of the sky, generally. And the link, here, with the Southern European gods which come mostly from the Roman gods. So, the French name for Tuesday, and the French words come from the southern group of gods, the Roman god of war is Mars. Okay? Like the planet... There's also a link with the planets, and that's the red planet, Mars. So, in French, Tuesday is called "mardi" because it's linked to Mars. So, in the northern group of gods we have Tiu's Day and he's the god of war, and in the southern group of gods we have mardi, Mars, and Mars is also the god of war in the Southern European gods. Okay. Whoops, sorry. Right.
Moving on: "Wednesday", which is always a tricky one to spell, difficult to spell. It's Wed-nes-day, but we pronounce it: "Wensday". That's named after Woden. Woden's Day. Okay? And Woden was the sort of chief god in charge of all the other gods. He was the top god. Woden's Day. Okay. In the southern group of gods, in French, Wednesday is "mercredi", which is named after Mercury. But in this case, Mercury is not the equivalent of Woden. So, sorry, that's a bit not very... Anyway, that's the way it goes. We can't change it. "mercredi" in French is named after Mercury, who was the messenger god. Okay. And again, there's a planet named after Mercury as well. So, anyway, Northern European, Woden's Day. Wednesday. Right.