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  1. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    I'm tired of the word 'Terra'.

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Glen Barrington, Oct 2, 2018.

    What's wrong with the word for "Earth" in the writer's language of choice for his story? It's a silly, euro-centric affectation in my eyes. I guess, if you write your Science Fiction in Latin, it's ok to use "Terra".
     
  2. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

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    I quite like it. Imo it's a handy word for communicating/reinforcing to the reader that the world is an alternate Earth. It has a similar effect to Dorothy's famous line, "We're not in Kansas anymore."
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Not to mention, Latin words are used a lot in science (though I don’t know if this is the proper Latin word). But this guy has a long-standing beef with the word, apparently:
    https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206648
     
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  4. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not sure how using "Terra" is euro-centric but "Earth" isn't. They're both from European languages, but Latin has the advantage of being more or less the universal language of science.

    Besides, the solar system has a Latin theme. Using Terra brings our home in line with the theme. Calling the Moon 'Luna' or the Sun 'Sol' does the same. And in a setting where humanity may be spread across multiple star systems or have contact with other intelligent species, it makes things a little less self-centered.
     
  5. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    This is why I use it.

    Also it sounds cool.
     
  6. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, you could argue that "Earth" is "English-centric", if we follow that line of logic. After all, other languages have their own words for Earth, the moon, etc. I guess it depends on what kind of cultural vibe you want to give your sci-fi universe.

    I have nothing against using any of those terms, but using "Earth" suggests our planet, our solar system. Any sci-fi story I've tried writing has been in its own made-up corner of the universe and so I try to give names to the planets.
     
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  7. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    That's why I suggested using the word for "Earth" in whatever language the author writes in.
     
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  8. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Your OP is worded in such a way it seems like you're saying Earth as in the English word. This makes more sense.
     
  9. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't heard of non-English-language sci-fi stories using "Terra" for "Earth" in them, though. "Terra" tends to be used in English-speaking books and movies that I've been made aware of. Is this a problem with non-English stories?
     
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  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My question becomes: Regardless of the language being tapped to satisfy, do other languages have such affectations?

    In Spanish, we would just call it la Tierra, which doesn't help much in this particular discussion because our word for the planet in question comes nearly unaltered, directly from la madre de todas las lenguas románicas, el Latín.

    I've got several Sci-Fi books in Russian, and the word used is either Мир (Mir) or Земля (Zemlya), though tbh, I was taught not to call the planet земля because that's the world for land. Hm... Now I'm questioning whether the instructors at the DLIFLC weren't imparting upon me their own idiolectic preferences rather than the actual assortment of choices from which I could pick.

    Regardless, Терра (that's how you would write Terra with Cyrillic letters) doesn't show up.

    IMG_0734.JPG
     
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  11. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    "Terra" sounds more scientific because everything scientific is in Latin, innit? :D Bonus points for the excuse that it comes from a dead language and doesn't favor any existing language (like the English "Earth"). Another concern can be that in space communication can often break and become a series of inarticulate sounds which are difficult to make out, and in such case you'd want important words to be easy to recognise. "Earth" easily turns to "ugh" if you imagine a bad channel with lots of interference, hissing, crackling etc technical blur while "Terra" would ring much clearer in a bad radio transmission.
     
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  12. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    Also "Terran" sounds better than "Earther"
     
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  13. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Or "Earthling".
     
  14. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hey, at least it makes an effort at being different. I once read a fantasy book where their alternate fantasy world that co-exists with the real world is called, wait for it...

    Urfe :agreed:
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Heinlein used Terra extensively , he also used Sol 3 - I don't think it matters that much . If you want to be different you could go with the Greek Gi
     
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  16. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I don't care where I am in the universe, I'd still probably say I was Canadian. You know, on Earth. Third planet from the Sun? Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha? No? Well, it's kind of a big deal where I'm from.
     
  17. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    Well, part of my reasoning is that I doubt that the people of the future are unlikely to rename their planet and the various institutions in what is essentially a dead European language. They are far more likely to name their institutions that represent the planet in whatever language is dominant at the time. It might be English, it might be Chinese, it might even be "Spanglish" (Oh good golly! if that's the case, we just MIGHT be back to 'Terra"!)

    Then again, maybe "Earth" would be a good compromise for the future based on this Quora response:
     
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  18. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Wotibout Gaea?
     
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  19. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    With the major exceptions of Australia (from the Latin Terra Australis Incognita) and America (named after Vespucci Amerigo) most countries are named after local words or geographical features. So depending on how we make it out of the solar system, we'll probably keep using our most popular word for our planet, or , depending on how colonialistic our conquerors are, some other alien term to describe where we're from. Either way, I find it doubtful that word will be Terra. Btw, if we're going Latin, I'm pretty sure the Latin word for the Earth is Tellus while terra just means land. I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure they used terra only because Tellus was also a goddess and terra doesn't have any religious connotations associated with it.
     
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  20. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    hWow
     
  21. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    "Terran" sounds like a slur to me.

    "Get the filthy Terran out of here."

    I can't remember what that's from, but I know I've seen it used as a slur in something.
     
  22. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Contributor

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    Tellus is the name I was taught in school. Don't think I've ever seen Earth called Terra outside of science fiction.
     
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  23. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    "Mundus" is also another Latin name for the world. However I remember Augustus Caesar referred to it as "orbem terrarum" in his will, so "terra" does have some precedent in ancient recorded Latin.
     
  24. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

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    I think it's less likely we'll wield laser swords in the future, but I'm still fond of them in sci-fi.
     
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  25. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    Oh, we'll have laser swords, but they won't make that "hungverung" sound when they move, they will be silent and deadly. Unless, of course, the Imperial Senate gets bogged down in some sort of sword control bill.
     
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