‘Tis the season to be jolly – indeed!
Old English took the word ‘yule’ from Old Norse, ‘jol’. (pronounced ‘yule’), and, of course, ‘jul’ (pronounced ‘yule’) is the current Scandinavian word for Christmas. But did you know that another important English word came out of ‘jol’? It is the word, ‘jolly’. ‘Jol’ or ‘jul’ means ‘jolly’. So, ‘tis the season to be jolly, indeed! It’s true that the tradition of the yule log goes back to pre-Christian, pagan times, but Scandinavians and Germanic people held on to the custom and incorporated it into Christianity. That’s OK, as long as people don’t think of Christmas just as a time for Santa Claus and forget about Christ!
The German word for Christmas is ‘Weihnachten’, which literally means ‘night of consecration or solemnity’. The French word for Christmas, ‘noel’ comes from the Latin, ‘natalis’, which means ‘birth’. The Spanish word for Christmas ‘navidad’ and the Italian word for Christmas ‘natale’ also mean ‘birth’.
Whenever a certain linguistic group attempts to pronounce a foreign word they tend to impose their own sound system on to the word, which is why English-speaking people incorrectly pronounce, ‘déjà vu’ as ‘day-zha vu’, since English doesn’t have the French ‘u’ sound. If you pronounce it the American way, you’re saying in French, ‘already you’ instead of ‘already seen’, which is what the phrase means. Hispanics pronounce the English word, ‘live’ as ‘leave’ since they don’t have our ‘I’ sound in their language. And the Germans may pronounce the English word, ‘think’ as ‘sink’, since they don’t have either of the two English ‘th’ sounds.
But Hawaiians really take the cake with their ten letter alphabet trying to pronounce ‘merry Christmas’. In Hawaiian it comes out as being, ‘mele kalikimaka’. Well, as long as the spirit is there..! The Hawaiians are very spiritual and very giving. That’s what is important.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!