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Autumn / Fall

Zusammenfassung des “Peacock Chit-Chat” Podcast vom 15.10.2020 auf Instagram. Die Show mit den ‚English Experts‘ Marietta V. Donovan und Sinead Gallagher ist eine unterhaltsame Talk Show für Englischlernende & Anglophile. In dieser Sendung geht es um sprachliches und kulturelles rund um den Herbst.

Summary of the “Peacock Chit-Chat” podcast on Instagram, 15th October 2020. This broadcast with ‚English Experts‘ Marietta V. Donovan & Sinead Gallgher is an entertaining talk show for English learners & Anglophiles. In this show we focus on idioms, phrases & language associated with autumn.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: “The only constant is change” (Die einzige Konstante ist der Wandel). This season of the year reminds us that everything has to change at some point in life.
During autumn (British) or fall (American) the animals prepare for the water by storing food and creating cozy hibernation spaces. The leaves turn yellow, red and orange and eventually fall off the trees, and the humans get ready for winter and Christmas.

Traditionally autumn is associated with the harvest, thanksgiving and Halloween.
In the US & UK scarecrow festivals mark the beginning of the harvest season. It offers an opportunity for community building. The main event is usually a scarecrow competition, during which the participants make the most creative scarecrows.
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used scarecrows to protect their wheat fields from flocks of birds.

Autumn Idioms:

Apple of (someone’s) eye
The person who is most loved or cherished by someone else; the person someone is most proud of.
Example: „He has 9 grandchildren!! And all of them are boys except for one. And his granddaughter is certainly the apple of his eye. He adores her.“

The apple never falls far from the tree
Used when someone has characters or traits as his/her relatives or parents; when someone behaves just like his/her relatives or parents.
Example: „Laura is planning to go to medical school next fall. She says she wants to be a surgeon like her father and grandfather. I guess the apple never falls far from the tree.“

To drive someone nuts
To make someone feel crazy; to exasperate someone; to make someone feel annoyed. (Similar expressions: to drive someone crazy, to drive someone bonkers, to drive someone up a wall)
Example: „PLEASE turn down your music!!! I can’t think, I can’t study, I can’t do anything. You’re driving me nuts!“

To turn over a new leaf
To begin again; to start new; to reform; to refresh.
Example: „I’m serious this time. I know I always say I’m going to quit smoking but I’m really serious. It’s time to turn over a new leaf. I just had my annual medical exam and it wasn’t good. It’s time to quit.“
Save for a rainy day
To reserve something (usually money) for a future need. (Similar expressions: to put something away for a rainy day, to keep something for a rainy day)
Example: „I didn’t expect to receive this much for my annual bonus! I’m glad to have some extra money to save for a rainy day.“

Fun Facts about Autumn

  1. People born in Autumn live longer. A study in the Journal of Aging Research found that babies born during the autumn months are more likely to live to 100 than those born during the rest of the year. Their study found that 30 % of US centenarians born during 1880-1895 were born in the autumn months.
  2. Autumn begins
    There are two different dates when autumn could be said to begin. Autumn, as defined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, begins on the equinox which falls on 22 or 23 September.
    However, to record climate data, it is important to have set dates that can be compared, so meteorological autumn always begins on 1 September.
  3. The days get shorter
    The word equinox comes from the Latin equi (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night) accounting for the equinox marking the time when day and night are of equal length.
    We often notice the nights begin to draw in from this point as after the autumn equinox, the nights are longer than the days, until this is reversed at the spring equinox.
  4. Persephone’s return In Greek mythology, autumn began when Persephone was abducted by Hades to be the Queen of the Underworld. In distress Persephone’s mother, Demeter (the goddess of the harvest), caused all the crops on Earth to die until her daughter was allowed to return, marking spring.

Autumn and Fall

We typically think of ‚fall‘ as the North American version of the word ‚autumn‘, but it was in fact in widespread usage in England until relatively recently.
Originally a shortening of the phrase fall of the leaf, the phrase was common in England in the 17th century. The word autumn entered English from the French automne and didn’t become common usage until the 18th century.

Indian Summer

Although the exact origins of the term are uncertain, it was perhaps so-called because it was first noted in regions inhabited by American Indians, or it had been based on the warm and hazy conditions in autumn when American Indians hunted.
In literature and history, the term is sometimes used metaphorically. The title of Van Wyck Brooks‘ New England: Indian Summer (1940) suggests an era of inconsistency & infertility (Unfruchtbarkeit)

William Dean Howells‘ novel Indian Summer (1886) uses the term to mean a time when one may recover some of the happiness of youth. The main character, jilted as a young man, leads a solitary life until he rediscovers romance in early middle age.

Most popular Autumn songs:

„November Rain“ (Guns‘ Roses)

„Autumn in New York“ (Comp. by Vernon Duke / made popular by Frank Sinatra & Louis Armstrong)

„September“ (Earth, Wind & Fire)

„Harverst Moon“ (Neil Young)

„Autumn Leaves“ (made popular by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra & Eva Cassidy)

„The Chill of an Early Fall“ (George Strait)

„Dead Leaves & the Dirty Ground“ (The White Stripes)

„Forever Autumn“ (Moody Blues)

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