With its building block style, and being a new language, why did Esperanto use existing variations of days and months, instead of a neutral, generic, building block approach, for example using Unuamonato instead of January?

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    * Like in Chinese
    – benahm
    Sep 16, 2016 at 11:02
  • Oni jam proponis tion. Ekzemple, en La bona lingvo, retejo kiu listigas simplajn samsignifajn vortojn, vi havas por Januaro la unua monato, por Februaro la dua monato, ktp. Oct 28, 2019 at 13:37

3 Answers 3


It has to be remembered that the months of the Gregorian calendar aren't universal.

In the West, the first month is January. In the Jewish calendar, the first month is Nisan; in Muslim countries, the first month is Muharram; the first month of the Hindu calendar is Chaitra. None of these coincide, and in fact Muharram can occur in any season. Thus, Januaro is essentially a technical term in the same way that Nisan is. Replacing it with unua monato would have to be done with great caution, especially in historical texts, as January was not always considered to be the start of the year.

East Asian languages use only numbers for the Gregorian months, but it was never their practice to give names to months, and the calendar was purely administrative. Conceivably, you could invent easier-to-remember names (Munu, Modu, Motri, or something like that) but that starts to resemble an attempt at calendar reform, which was never a part of the Esperanto project. (Zamenhof would have been well aware of previous attempts at simplifying the calendar.) You can always write 2016.9.16 and say du mil dek ses, punkt naŭ, punkt dek ses.

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    +1 for "January was not always the start of the year" Sep 16, 2016 at 5:56
  • And instead with easy "neutral" names, helping non-Europeans, it would be even more confusing to them. Esperanto has a large amount of such "naturalism". Like using germanic terms for day-month-year and romance terms for weekdays.
    – Joop Eggen
    Sep 16, 2016 at 6:13
  • Thanks. I was aware of the issue of deciding when the year or week starts, it was after this decision that the name choice occurs.
    – just me
    Sep 16, 2016 at 8:10
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    I guess the 'optimum' solution would have been to introduce a new calendar, French Revolution-style. There they did away with traditional terms as well, but for Esperanto it would have been too much of an upheaval I suspect. And it would have turned it into an alternative culture, instead of just being the world's second language for easy communication. Sep 16, 2016 at 8:13
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    The fact that Chinese only uses numbers for months can sometimes cause ambiguities: e.g. "the fourth day of the first month" (一月四號) may refer either to the 4th of January or to the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, depending on the context.
    – miĥaŭ
    Oct 22, 2016 at 15:09

You can write La unua monato (de la jaro) for January, La dua monato (de la jaro) for February etc. It is not common, but I don't think you will not be understood. It is probably uncommon because of the high number of syllables and people prefer shorter words.

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    That is probably true for almost all the language: I can say the first month of the year in English or use the equivalent phrase in Italian. The question is another one, thought. Why didn't Esperanto create more generic names for months, instead of using the ones it is using?
    – apaderno
    Sep 16, 2016 at 0:20

We already have a word for day tago. What if we could make a system there, the days of the week will all be first syllable ta plus a number 1-7 (starts at Monday) plus the last syllable go. This would make the days of the week to be as such: Taunugo, tadugo, tatrigo, takvargo, takvingo, tasesgo, tasepgo. Please notice that Esperanto, unlike English, do not write their days of the week with upper case. Wouldn't this be so much easier!

  • Great idea for a more radical conlang. Oct 25, 2019 at 19:56
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    This doesn’t answer the question
    – Neil Roberts
    Oct 28, 2019 at 7:32
  • Not really answering the question. Would be a good comment though.
    – Karlomanio
    Oct 31, 2019 at 16:06

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