"Earth" in other languages

Hey Jill-

You seem to have missed the deeper meaning behind the question, making it seem banal rather than thought-provoking.

What I believe the question really meant was “Do other lanuages call our planet ‘Earth’ (translated, of course)or something else?”

Obviously, in most cases this is true…Erde, in German, or “Chikyuu” in Japanese, which translates out to “Ball of Earth” or “dirtball.” I prefer the former.

But if we could identify a nation who actually refers to our home planet as something other than the soil beneath our feet, well, THAT would be something, no?

Almost every SF story involving people settling other planets brings up the idea of naming their planet something new, with “Mother Earth” reserved for our home planet.

So far I know of no lanuage out there that gives a name for this planet that doesn’t translate back to Earth=soil. But imagine living on Mars as an American or European…you’d know your home planet is named for a War God. If you were Japanese, though, you’d be thinking “Fire star” which is their name for it.

Any leads here?


Link to the Mailbag column: Do other languages call Earth “Earth”?
[Note: This message has been edited by CKDextHavn]

Just as an aside, Ursula K LeGuin wrote a novel entitled “The Word For ‘World’ is ‘Forest’”, which was in part about the differences that it made to the way a humanoid alien species perceived their world, which was called “forest” in their language.

Do we have a link to the original posting? it seems natural to me that probably all people developed a word for Earth as earth-dirtball. This thingie below our feet, as we all know long before we know exactly what the nature of the thing is-- finite or not, flat, whatever-- is indeed dirt, as direct onservation attests. Later on, I suppose, we figure out exactly how far the dirt-clod goes, and what shape it is, and eventually (1400’s? Earlier for the Egyptians and greeks, I think, at least in the west) we figure out that the dirt is planet-shaped. Right?