Star Trek etymology

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Xand, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Italy, EU
    Given he's not even reading our replies, I guess he's just bullshitting us for shit and giggles.
     
  2. Xand

    Xand Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Since Star Trek authors are not revealing from where their names come from all we can do is guess and that is folk etymology.I must admit that bath leth and vor'cha comes from Klingon language but many others looks related for example Cardassia -heart made of copper because are cruel and Hirogen hero + Lat. genereare -to born.
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Italy, EU
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Most writers coming up with alien names aren't deriving them from Latin or Greek. Some are -- there are obvious cases like "Romulan" -- but usually they're just making up alien-sounding words, maybe going for a certain subjective flavor, rather than worrying about formal etymology.

    We actually know the origin of the name "Cardassian" from its creator:

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Cardassian#Name
    This is why research is better than guesswork.
     
  5. Xand

    Xand Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Darth Sidious dark + Lat. sedere, sessus -to sit
    Emperor Palpatine pale + Lat. pati, passus -to suffer + in -of, related to (he had pale face)
    Jedi jede -any, each (German)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Oh, come on. "Sidious" is obviously short for "insidious," just as "Vader" can be taken as short for "invader" (although Lucas has claimed he coined "Darth Vader" as a blend of "dark father" and "deathwater"). Futurama even did a joke about this once. Really, with names like "Maul" and "Tyrannus" and "Plagueis," Sith name etymologies are quite easy to figure out. You're overthinking it.

    The name "Palpatine" is probably a variant on the Palatine Hill in Rome, traditionally seen as the origin of Rome and its empire, and the site where many Roman emperors lived. Its name is derived from the word for "palace." So here's a case where an obvious Latin derivation for the name does present itself, and somehow you still missed it. (The name Palpatine first appeared in the original Star Wars novelization in 1977, years before the character appeared onscreen and was given a pale face.)

    And Jedi is a Hebrew name meaning "beloved/protected by God," although it's more likely that Lucas just based the word on "jed" and "jeddak" from Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom novels, one of his major inspirations for Star Wars.
     
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    I also can't believe the writers put that much clever thought in to every one of those. A few of them, sure, but ALL of those?
     
  8. Xand

    Xand Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Insidious is from in + Lat. sedere, sessus -to sit as well as president pre -before, dissident dis -apart, reside re -back, again, subside sub -under.
    Lat. vadere, vasus -to walk appears in words invade, invasion, evade, evasion e, ex -out, pervasive, per -through.
    And Palpatin could mean pale + psychopath from Gr. psyche -soul + pathos -suffering

    You could look at Etymonline English etymological dictionary to see how etymology is created and also at Wiktionary.
    http://www.etymonline.com/
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page
    And look at freelang and Whitakers words free latin dictionary, it can recognise many grammar forms and guess words, most etymology is based on latin.
    http://archives.nd.edu/whitaker/words.htm
    Perhaps you as a writer will found inspiration in namemaking at my games etymologies page.
    http://www.crestfallen.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4011&start=15
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I repeat: The name "Palpatine" was coined in the 1977 Star Wars novelization, years before any thought was given to what the character would look like. Indeed, I think it wasn't until 1991 that the "Emperor Palpatine" from that novelization was explicitly established as the same Emperor who appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, rather than a predecessor. Therefore you're wrong to assume it has anything to do with him being "pale."


    Ahh, now we see the fundamental flaw in your thinking. Etymology is not "created." It's not something you just make up and impose on a word as you keep attempting to do. It's the process of attempting to discover the actual evolutionary history of a word by researching past sources. Sure, using your imagination to extrapolate possible histories for a word based on its structure is a useful first step, but it's only the beginning. Once you formulate a hypothesis, you have to test it against the evidence, and you have to be willing to throw it out if the evidence doesn't support it.


    "Most etymology?" That may be true of English (though estimates range from 60-80% Latin or Greek origin), but English is hardly the only language on Earth. Obviously Chinese or Xhosa or Nahuatl isn't descended from Latin.

    And we are, of course, talking about imaginary alien languages, so all bets are off. Sure, there are some writers who base their alien names on Greek or Latin roots, but there are others who do nothing of the sort. Personally, I think it's a silly practice; of course aliens wouldn't have Latin or Greek in their own linguistic history so there's no sane reason why their own names for themselves would be based in any Earth language. So when I make up alien names, they have no Earthly basis or meaning and are just meant to be exotic sounds. Sometimes I come up with alien names that are based on anagrams or puns -- for instance, I once named an alien race the Redheri because I wanted them to be red herrings in a story. And I'm sure there are plenty of other SF writers who think the same way. So it's just plain silly to assume that the principles of etymology that apply to the derivation of real, English words would be applicable to imaginary alien names and words invented by science fiction writers.
     
  10. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    My method for coming up with alien names was either take a common word and changing vowels and consonants, or finding an unusual name in the phone book. Other times, I just combined nonsense syllables that sounded good to the ear.
     
  11. Elder Knight

    Elder Knight Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    SE USA
    Dr. Spock was amongst the anti-nuclear protesters gathered in Cape Canaveral in 1987, when a Space Shuttle with the plutonimum-fueled Galileo probe onboard was launched. I think he managed to get arrested.
     
  12. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    Apparently I misremembered the costume and headline. I have bad eyes, but I think it says "Spock Gets 2-Year Prison Term, Fine".

    Image size is 640 x 475 but it's probably going to spill over the screen.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Xand

    Xand Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    I was thinking on European etymology is mostly based on latin.
    Chinese characters also have etymology:
    木 tree + 木 tree = 林 forest
    口 mouth + 犬 dog = 吠 to bark
    氵 water + 工 work = 江 river
    火 fire + 火 fire = 炎 flame
    火 fire + 工 work = 灴 to bake
    金 metal, gold + 戔 small piece = 錢 coin
    言 word, to say + 十 ten = 計 to count
    小 small + 土 earth = 尘 dust
    日 sun, day + 生 born = 星 star
    十 ten + 口 mouth (in sense generations) = 古 ancient
    目 eye + 儿 person (originally pictograph of legs) = 見 to see
    儿 person (using) + 火 fire = 光 light
    日 sun, day + 月 moon = 明 bright
    音 sound + 心 heart, mind = 意 to think
    日 sun, day + 一 (horizon) = 旦 dawn

    Look at zhongwen:
    http://www.zhongwen.com/

    Names have also etymology:
    Tutankhamon twt -statue + ankh -life + amon -hidden, name of god (statue of the life of Amon)
    Rameses ra -sun + meses -born (Ancient Egyptian)
    Singapore सिंह (simha) -lion + पुर (pura) -city, fortress (Sanskrit)
    Australia L. australis -southern
    Dublin dub -black + linn -pond (Old Irish)
    Florida L. floridus -blooming, flowery from flos, floris -flower
    Colorado Sp. colorado -colored, red
    http://www.behindthename.com/
     
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    *head explodes*
     
  15. 1001001

    1001001 I Like the Beats and the Shouting Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Location:
    People's Gaypublic of Drugafornia
    Okay...

    I think we've been pretty tolerant of your lists here, but at least try to keep it Trek-related or I will have to close the thread.

    Thanks.

    :techman:
     
  16. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Italy, EU
    Why are you telling us things that any semi-literate person already know?
     
  17. Xand

    Xand Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    I am sorry to be off topic but I only wanted to point out that etymology is everywhere in both languages and names.About european etymology I think about games, television and art names and also scientific and some medication names.

    Star Trek etymology:
    Kobayashi maru (Japanese)
    小林 kobayashi (Surname) -little forest or
    小馬鹿 こばか kobaka -fool + 怪しい ayashii -suspicious, shady or
    妖しい ayashii -mysterious
    丸 まる maru -circle
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    I said out, dammit!
    As I undersrtand it, the appendix "Maru" on Japanese ships translates more to something like "home".

    And, as an aside, would you believe I actually have a relative named Kobayashi?
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, it is obvious that every word has etymology, just as it's obvious that every person has parents. You don't need to point that out. The point is that you're approaching it completely wrong by making up random speculations rather than doing research and testing your hypotheses. "-ology" means science and study, not random guesswork.
     
  20. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    I get the feeling OP recently discovered the word etymology.