Monday, April 23, 2012

Name of Earth

Ever wonder why we call a planet that is mostly covered with water "earth" and not "water"? Why do humans call it so many different names? Any other etymological questions about "Earth"? Well, Treehugger just did a story about the reasons why.
There's something a bit ironic about the fact that the most fundamental common ground between every human being on the planet is, well, the planet we share--yet nearly every language has its own name for it and a reason why it's such. In English, of course, our planet is Earth--but it's terra in Portuguese, dünya in Turkish, aarde in Dutch. Just imagine the cosmic comedy that would ensue if some interstellar traveler ever stopped on our planet to get directions.

But as diverse as these names are, they all reflect an older worldview--a time before anyone knew our planet was just a fertile sphere floating in the vast darkness of space.To better understand how our planet was regarded historically, it's important to remember that the world was generally regarded as merely the 'setting' of existence and not so much a specific place. In fact, the word 'world' itself didn't originally connote the planet at all, but rather the 'state of human existence'. Germanic in origin, 'world' is a fusion of two now obsolete words translating literally to "age of man."

Read the rest here.

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