0890: "Etymology"

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tin.au
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0890: "Etymology"

Postby tin.au » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:00 am UTC

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For some reason, my childhood suspension of disbelief had no problem with the fact that this ancient galaxy is full of humans, but was derailed by language. There's no Asia OR Europe there, so where'd they get all the Indo-European roots?

http://xkcd.com/890/
Last edited by tin.au on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:04 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby quadmaster » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:03 am UTC

That's....
That's a good point, actually.
Huh.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby zmatt » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:06 am UTC

Oh all of the issues with Star Wars that I had when I first saw it (what is this suspension of belief?) that was not one of them. I think the best assumption is that this telling of the story has been translated and the names have been approximated to things we are familiar with. That is much easier than answering why there is sound in space or how hyperdrives work or why Jar Jar Binks had to be born.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Lazar » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:08 am UTC

I have, in fact, thought about this problem before.
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quadmaster
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby quadmaster » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:09 am UTC

It's probably short for space-falcon or something silly like that.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby tastelikecoke » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:10 am UTC

It's a type of paunch!
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby jpk » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:12 am UTC

That's....
That's a good point, actually.
Huh.


No, no it's not. It's a story. You tell it in a language that people can understand. Why is it any more surprising that the word "falcon" is used than that the word "Milennium" is used. Or "parsec", or "second", or "made"?

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quadmaster
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby quadmaster » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:13 am UTC

Because Falcon is _only_ ever used in the context of the millenium falcon, while those other words refer to things that exist in the star wars universe.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:15 am UTC

As opposed to the "Millenium Banta"? The Banta was the giant thing that Luke fought at Jaba's house, right? Maybe the Millenium Womp Rat. Wait, what's a rat?

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Cranica » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:18 am UTC

I always chalked this sort of thing up to http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... Convention

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Dinoguy1000 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:19 am UTC

Aliens speaking English? (and, of course, human aliens...)

EDIT: ninja'd, sort of... =/
Last edited by Dinoguy1000 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:20 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby alexriehl » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:19 am UTC

quadmaster wrote:That's....
That's a good point, actually.
Huh.

Yup. Hmm. Still was a good movie, though.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby StClair » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:20 am UTC

Stang, now I'm gonna be thinking about this all night.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby rwald » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:20 am UTC

quadmaster wrote:It's probably short for space-falcon or something silly like that.

According to the Wookiepedia, Han's ship is named after the bat-falcon. And yes, bats are found in the Star Wars Expanded Universe too.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Lazar » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:23 am UTC

They also have hot chocolate in the Expanded Universe.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Tim Harrod » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:25 am UTC

Ben: "Still, even a duck has to be taught to swim."

Luke: "What's a duck?"

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby HighwoodFool » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:30 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:As opposed to the "Millenium Banta"? The Banta was the giant thing that Luke fought at Jaba's house, right? Maybe the Millenium Womp Rat. Wait, what's a rat?


No, a Bantha is a large goat-buffalo-like beast. The monster under Jabba's Palace is a Rancor.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby sje46 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:31 am UTC

Reminds me of something...I remember reading something on Wookiepedia about a planet called China (or some country) which was invented to explain why there is a needle that says "Made in China" in one of the movies. I couldn't find it at all with Google, though. Maybe it was star trek?
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby MadCobbler » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:32 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:As opposed to the "Millenium Banta"? The Banta was the giant thing that Luke fought at Jaba's house, right? Maybe the Millenium Womp Rat. Wait, what's a rat?


Nope. Banthas were the large furry creatures that the Tusken Raiders rode. The creature Luke fought was called the Rancor.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby glasnt » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:41 am UTC

I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters.

What's a T-16?
Last edited by glasnt on Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby rpgamer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:42 am UTC

Dinoguy1000 wrote:Aliens speaking English? (and, of course, human aliens...)

EDIT: ninja'd, sort of... =/

I think about these things all the time.

My suspension of disbelief gets harder to find every time.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby toluene » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:44 am UTC

Wait wait WAIT. "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

Wait wait WAIT. A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. What gives, Mr. Munroe?

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Lazar » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:45 am UTC

toluene wrote:Wait wait WAIT. "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

Wait wait WAIT. A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. What gives, Mr. Munroe?

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby brandon309 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:56 am UTC

I am able to forgive sci fi shows for their language, following the assumption that things must be translated for us to understand. However, I can never get past timekeeping in space. Why do they use the same units of time, when our time is derived from earthly phenomena they've never experienced? And it can't just be a translation thing when they use 12 hour clocks that look just like ours!

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Bobbert » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:01 am UTC

brandon309 wrote:I am able to forgive sci fi shows for their language, following the assumption that things must be translated for us to understand. However, I can never get past timekeeping in space. Why do they use the same units of time, when our time is derived from earthly phenomena they've never experienced? And it can't just be a translation thing when they use 12 hour clocks that look just like ours!


Because movies don't need extra complexity in attempting to convey simple concepts. As for the Falcon, Star Wars takes place on several planets, all with different environments. It's not a reach at all to assume one of those worlds has something people call a falcon.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby popman » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:06 am UTC

the unis would be translated too like in doctor who where all the translation occurs in your own head.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Farabor » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:15 am UTC

You may be missing the point here...

Sure, there may be falcon-equivalents in the Star Wars Galaxy that the ship is named for....but how likely is LUKE to know what one is? I mean, he comes from a freaking desert planet!

I certainly don't know the names of all the weird species that are on my own freaking planet, let alone somewhere out there in the galaxy...I think its perfectly reasonable to have Luke have no clue what a falcon is, as I'm sure there's no Tattoine equivalent.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby americablanco » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:19 am UTC

This sort of reminds me of a Johnny Quest episode (of the newer series that was most recently on Cartoon Network) where there was an earpiece device (actually, two) that was used between one of the regular female characters and another who did not speak or umderstand English.

The device did instant translation (no delay or anything).

Is this related? Sort of.
Am I mistaking this for something else I saw on Captain Planet? Probably.

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Tolkien expressly explained this...

Postby jhbadger » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:22 am UTC

Tolkien dealt with this topic directly in the appendix to the Lord of the Rings -- that the hobbits weren't speaking English, but rather a language called Westron, and even the name of the language wasn't actually Westron, but itself a translation. I don't really the see the problem with this even in things like Star Wars that don't expressly explain this. This is pretty standard even outside fantasy and SF -- think of novels like "I, Claudius" which are set in ancient Rome -- presumably everybody gets they weren't speaking English then.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby carlknight10 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:23 am UTC

The thing that has always bothered me is how tatooine would even support a specialist predator such as a falcon. Or any of its native megafauna for that matter. There is clearly not enough vegetation to support banthas for example. Certainly not in the size of herds they are shown in (unless they can photoasynthesize). And are the Jawas powered by the droid batteries or or something?

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Noid.EXE » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:41 am UTC

toluene wrote:Wait wait WAIT. "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

Wait wait WAIT. A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. What gives, Mr. Munroe?


I remember watching it with him, and when we reached the
part where Han Solo brags that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in "less than
twelve parsecs," he made an exasperated sound. I asked him what was wrong, and he
explained that a parsec is a unit of distance, not time. I said, "Dad, it's just a movie." He said,
"Yes, but they can afford to get the science right." And I thought, yes. He's absolutely right.


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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby SW15243 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:44 am UTC

I watched all 6 Star Wars movies with some friends on Friday night / well into Saturday morning.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby SW15243 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:48 am UTC

Noid.EXE wrote:
toluene wrote:Wait wait WAIT. "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

Wait wait WAIT. A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. What gives, Mr. Munroe?


I remember watching it with him, and when we reached the
part where Han Solo brags that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in "less than
twelve parsecs," he made an exasperated sound. I asked him what was wrong, and he
explained that a parsec is a unit of distance, not time. I said, "Dad, it's just a movie." He said,
"Yes, but they can afford to get the science right." And I thought, yes. He's absolutely right.


-- Nick Sagan, Memories of my Dad

Incidentally, a friend of mine and I were trying to reconcile this, and reasoned that so long as the Kessel Run was a course that had curves or obstacles in it, technically the boast would still work, if he was speaking of the ship's maneuverability. That is, he made the Kessel Run in the shortest possible distance, as opposed to going faster than other ships. This would kind of make sense since Obi and Luke were trying to evade capture, so you'd want something that could turn on a dime, probably.

And yes, I know it's tenuous, but it's the best we could come up with.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Comic JK » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:48 am UTC

Farabor wrote:Sure, there may be falcon-equivalents in the Star Wars Galaxy that the ship is named for....but how likely is LUKE to know what one is? I mean, he comes from a freaking desert planet!


If you're going to use the standard of "what Luke could reasonably know" then what about the fact that he's an expert pilot of spaceships?
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby tomandlu » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:55 am UTC

Strangely enough, and in a slightly different context, I hit this exact problem the other day in something I'm working on... it's not always easy. For instance, I wouldn't use 'falcon' or even 'bird', although I'm happy with 'plant' and 'animal', etc.
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby adho » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:58 am UTC

SW15243 wrote:Incidentally, a friend of mine and I were trying to reconcile this, and reasoned that so long as the Kessel Run was a course that had curves or obstacles in it, technically the boast would still work, if he was speaking of the ship's maneuverability. That is, he made the Kessel Run in the shortest possible distance, as opposed to going faster than other ships. This would kind of make sense since Obi and Luke were trying to evade capture, so you'd want something that could turn on a dime, probably.

And yes, I know it's tenuous, but it's the best we could come up with.


To an extent you're right. From wookieepedia:

The Kessel Run was one of the most heavily-used routes in the Galactic Empire. Han Solo claimed that his Millennium Falcon "made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs". A parsec was a unit of distance, not time. Solo was not referring directly to his ship's speed when he made this claim. Instead, he was referring to the shorter route he was able to travel by skirting the nearby Maw black hole cluster, thus making the run in under the standard distance.

Also, this raises the whole question of naming a spaceship after a falcon. While yes, falcons are fast and nimble, their flight is completely different to that of Solo's ship. Incidentally, falcons are raptors.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby jpk » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:11 am UTC

SW15243 wrote:I watched all 6 Star Wars movies with some friends on Friday night / well into Saturday morning.
Could Randall secretly be one of the people in my Creative Writing class?!

No. No he could not.



We might as well get this straight: there are only three Star Wars movies.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby jpk » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:13 am UTC

Comic JK wrote:
Farabor wrote:Sure, there may be falcon-equivalents in the Star Wars Galaxy that the ship is named for....but how likely is LUKE to know what one is? I mean, he comes from a freaking desert planet!


If you're going to use the standard of "what Luke could reasonably know" then what about the fact that he's an expert pilot of spaceships?


Well, it's just like shooting womp rats back home. Duh.

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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Eutychus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:15 am UTC

americablanco wrote:This sort of reminds me of a Johnny Quest episode (of the newer series that was most recently on Cartoon Network) where there was an earpiece device (actually, two) that was used between one of the regular female characters and another who did not speak or umderstand English.

The device did instant translation (no delay or anything).

Is this related? Sort of.
Am I mistaking this for something else I saw on Captain Planet? Probably.


Sounds like the Babel fish to me.

Nothing beats Tolkien's convoluted explanations of the Anglicized "translations" of the Shire and Hobbit names in the appendix to LOTR.

/professional translator and interpreter dreading the arrival of an actual Babel fish
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Re: 0890: Etymology

Postby Magnanimous » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:18 am UTC

I like how Chewie's basically just a blob of squiggles.


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