fall and autumn

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Fri Aug 4 10:40:54 UTC 2000

Paul Frank wrote:
> For some time I've been wondering why I come across, or think I come across,
> the word fall more often than the word autumn in the New York Times. I'm
> talking about the period between the September equinox and the December
> solstice, not the other meanings of "fall." I've just come across this odd
> sentence in a New York Times article published in the International Herald
> Tribune: "Since the autumn of the Berlin Wall a decade ago, rightist
> violence has become a fact of German life" (IHT, August 2, p. 5). This makes
> me think that a New York Times slot man or drudge makes it his business to
> replace the word fall with the posher but in my opinion uglier word autumn.

Perhaps it was an editorial decision at the IHT rather than the NYT,
instead.  In British Englishes, it's never "fall", always "autumn" for
the season.  To me, it just looks like somebody hit "select all" in the
Find & Replace option.


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at ling.ed.ac.uk                  Departments of English Language and
http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~aaron       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics

Bide lang an fa fair  \\  //
                       \\// /
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