Wednesday, 21 July 2021

What on Earth (or Neptune)?

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 finally the planet Neptune

As this is one of the planets discovered in the age of astronomy and thus unknown to the ancients (it is not visible to the naked eye), many languages simply use the name 'Neptune' - these have been omitted.

Greek - Poseidon - the Greek personification of Neptune, the god of the sea.

Korean - Haewangseong - 'Star of the king of the sea'.

Mandarin Chinese - 'the ocean-king planet' and borrowed from Japanese.

Mongolia - dailain van - the same meaning and origin as Mandarin Chinese.

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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