Sunday, November 29, 2009

All the aliens are going to call our planet “Humus” or something worse


Jewish date:  12 Kislew 5770 (Parashath Wayyishlaḥ).

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Electronic Greetings Day, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (invented to perpetuate the lie that there is a “Palestinian” people and keep Syrians, Egyptians, and Jordanians and their descendants in misery to use them as pawns in a political game), Square Dance Day.

Today’s weird thing is “SF Xenolinguistics”, which deals with common problems and absurdities in alien languages in fiction.  This includes the great passage:
The names of a species, empire, language, homeworld, homestar and so on will all be self-evidently related; Ogrons come from Ogros, Arisians come from Arisia, Arcturans come from Arcturus, and Humans no doubt come from Humus.
Original caption from NASA: "S103-E-5037 ...Image of Luna visible just above the edge of Terra via Wikipedia; Zemata thought this was appropriate somehow
This is related to a problems I have been complaining about for years:  our planet needs a decent name.  The following are a list of real and fictional names for our planet:

  1. Earth (primary:  Sun; satellite:  Moon)
  2. Terra  (primary:  Sol; satellite:  Luna)
  3. Jasoom (Barsoom series)
  4. Midgard (Stargate Universe)
  5. Old Earth (Dune series)
  6. Old Terra (Dune series)
  7. Ravolox (Doctor Who, “The Mysterious Planet”)
  8. Teegeeack (Scientology)
  9. Thulcandra (Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis)
  10. Urantia (The Urantia Book)
  11. Λ̊ (Stargate Universe)

#1, “Earth”, is a name that is going to get us laughed at by all the other civilizations in the Universe.  #2, “Terra”, is just the Latin version; we will be safe so long as the aliens do not learn Latin.  My Latin dictionary module (WORDS) for claims it means “1. earth, land, ground / 2. country, region”, which is rather less embarrassing than “dirt”.  Most of the rest are too ugly for us to stick ourselves with.  #5 and #6 are no better than #1 and #2.  #10 is embarrassing.  And #11 is unpronounceable.  Maybe we really ought to officially name our planet, as per my original suggestion, Huma or Blueworld…  Because we do not want to try living down the consequences of giggling aliens calling us “the dirt people”.

Enjoy and share the weirdness.

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