fall and autumn

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 4 02:53:09 UTC 2000

At 11:40 AM +0100 8/4/00, Aaron E. Drews wrote:
>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.

As Aaron suggests, this was an "editorial decision" (or a software
decision) at the IHT.  The original article, appearing in the Times
of August 1, contained the sentences below (emphasis added).  I
wonder if other issues of the IHT reflect on the autumn of man, or on
the autumn of a sparrow.


August 1, 2000, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section A; Page 9; Column 1; Foreign Desk

HEADLINE: German Faults 'Silence' About Attacks on Immigrants



Many Germans with no sympathy for rightist violence are troubled by
the large number of foreigners, particularly Turks, in the country
and by suggestions that Germany must embrace multiculturalism. As a
result, politicians have been generally hesitant to broach the
questions raised this weekend by Mr. Fischer.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall a decade ago, rightist violence has
become a fact of German life. It is
rooted principally in the east, where, since the collapse of the
Communist state there, youth unemployment has remained high,
alienation widespread and broad exposure to foreigners a novelty.

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