In some Turkic languages (like Turkish and Kazakh), the word Yaz means Summer, while in other Turkic languages (like Azeri, Chuvash and Yakut) the very same word means Spring. The Old Turkic meaning was also Summer, so it seams that the Azeri group has changed its meaning.

Is there any good explanation for this difference?

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    I see no linguistic explanation. May have something to do with culture. As you know, all Oghuz variants have the competing word bahar from Iranic, but only those in the East have the Iranic pagan spring festival, just like the Orthodox and pagan Chuvash and Yakut have other spring festivals. All in all this is not too surprising, words for spring are often unstable (eg English, German, South Slavic, vulgar Latin, Albanian) and the newly invented words are often based on words for summer (eg South Slavic, vulgar Latin, Albanian). Aug 26, 2017 at 14:21
  • I should have said culture or bureaucracy, for example a side effect of a modern political change by the TLA. See sonbahar / güz in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…: The Persian word behar means spring. The Turkish compound word sonbahar (which literally means last-spring) means fall. The compound word ilkbahar'(first-spring')means spring. But often just the word "bahar" is used. Aug 26, 2017 at 14:29
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    @A.M.Bittlingmayer good information, thanks.
    – Mousa
    Aug 27, 2017 at 5:04
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    Regarding kazakh language, modern kazakh use köktem for spring and jaz for summer but there is a word jazğıtūrı which means "in spring" so I think the meaning of the jaz word in kazakh just shifted from meaning "spring + summer" to just "summer".
    – Tuňuquq
    Mar 13, 2022 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


I am not sure that there is any good explanation. Clauson’s Etymological dictionary writes that “there is utter confusion in the Turkish languages about the words for 'spring' and 'summer'”. Perhaps this reflects an older situation where the Turks distinguished only two seasons: hot and cold.

  • Agreed, I don't think that seasons are that much distinguished in central asian and siberian steppes.
    – kabraxis
    Aug 26, 2017 at 14:20
  • This post would benefit from a more scientific (and specific) evidence. Any linguist could speculate that theoretically, over the course of language's history, some confusion between names of seasons may have happened. Was is, indeed, the case with the languages in question? Aug 26, 2017 at 14:23
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    @fdb, The historical two seasons matter, is a good hypothesis for this confusion.
    – Mousa
    Aug 27, 2017 at 5:03

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