Sunday, 27 June 2021

What on Earth (or Jupiter)?

Or not on Earth as the case may be. I was looking at the names of our planet in languages other than English. It came as something of a disappointment to discover they were mostly translations of 'earth' in the sense of 'soil, dirt'.

So I decided to look elsewhere in the heavens and see what names other languages had given to the remaining seven planets in orbit around our sun. Below is the language, its name and, where possible, the translation. Many nations simply use the same name, albeit with the phonetic spelling reflecting local pronunciation. As these clearly come from the same source as the English names, I have concentrated on the alternatives and this time the planet Jupiter


Bengali - Vrihaspati - is from Sanskrit (see below)

Greek - Zeus - originally Dyeus and from a root meaning 'sky, shine'.

Hebrew - tsedek - 'justice'

Italy - Giove - or Jove, exactly the same root as the Greek Zeus and comes from 'sky, shine'.

Japan - Brihaspati - is from Hindu mythology (see below)

Kazakhstan - Yesekqyrghan

Korean - Mokseong - 'star of wood'.

Malayalam - Vyaazham - is associated with Thursday

Mandarin Chinese - 'the wood planet'

Mongolia - Barhasbadi - again comes from Sanskrit (see below)

Old Czech - Kralomoc - means 'king power'.

Sanskrit - Brhaspati - is a Vedic sage who cousels the gods in ancient Hindu literature.

Sumerian - Anu Marduk - Also known as 'Bel' he is the main Sumerian god, god of the air and the earth.

Note the spellings and characters used are English, so don't write to me pointing missing umlauts, accents, etc. or how I should have used a different alphabet.

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