Monday, April 16, 2012

Système Solaire

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A planet by any other name... Have you ever had a burning desire to know the names of all the planets in the Welsh language? I, for one, was afire with curiosity. Wonder no further:

English / Cymraeg

Mercury = Mercher
Venus = Gwener
Earth = Daear
Mars = Mawrth
Jupiter = Iau
Saturn = Sadwrn
Uranus = Wranws
Neptune = Neifion
Pluto = Plwton

And now you know where J.R.R. Tolkien got his inspiration for the territories around Hobbiton.

Nine Planets by Bill Arnett
Renaissance techie Bill Arnett runs a delightful web site called NINE PLANETS, and while he inserted a graffiti-esque "8" to observe the demotion of Pluto, all his information about the original nine remains intact.

One of his most fascinating and well-researched appendices, in my opinion, is the Planetary Linguistics.

I'm partial to the tongue of the Cymry as it is part of my personal heritage, but this appendix lists popular, transitional and dead languages -- from Sumerian to Latin to Olde English to Icelandic to Farsi to French.

He also demonstrated how some of these terms evolved into the months of the year, and days of the week... Saturni... Saturn's Day... Saturday.

Planets in all languages

Had a great time going through all of these, and also googling some of the less obvious words that weren't related to Latin roots, only to find that many were separate names of deities, specific to the cultures in question. The best days are when I learn something new!

I also love how he added the fictional Klingon jargon toward the end. Again, Pluto has not been removed (though it seems people aren't in any tearing hurry to add Eris, Haumea or Makemake. Maybe soon!)

Languages planets

And for those of you uninterested in the random etymology of floating rocks 0.00000102529 or more light-years away, well... sorry. I do this sort of thing when I get bored. If it makes you feel any better, the rest of the week will be spent watching coverage of Shuttle Discovery traveling from KSC to DC! ;)