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Author Topic: Night and Day  (Read 193 times)


  • Ealdormann
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  • Posts: 620
Night and Day
« on: May 06, 2022, 05:16:13 PM »
In Modern English we call the night between Monday and Tuesday, Monday night.
In Old English we call the night between Mōnnandæġ and Tīwesdæġ, Tīwesniht.
Note that in Modern English we confusingly say Monday night whereas Old English says Tīwesniht.
In Modern English the cycle starts at mid night so that at 2 am on Tuesday we call it “early Tuesday morning” although we might still refer to it as Monday night.
In Old English the cycle starts at sunset and goes on until the next sunset. So, at sunset on Mōnnandæġ, Tīwesniht starts and goes on until sunrise when Tīwesdæġe starts.
In Modern English, if you say “tonight” on Tuesday you are referring to Tuesday night, the coming night. However, in Old English, if you say “tōniht” on Tīwesdæġ you are referring to Tīwesniht, the previous night.
This probably explains why Christmas eve comes before Christmas day and new year’s eve comes before new year’s day. This different view of days and nights might explain why we say that a fortnight is fourteen days.

John S

  • ceorl
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  • Posts: 9
Re: Night and Day
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2022, 07:47:57 AM »
That’s interesting. I wonder why it evolved or changed, then.