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Cosmo vs. Astro... naut. (inane discussion of semantics)

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I think the Russians have it right.

Obviously rampant nationalism suggests that there isn't likely to be a terminology change, ever, by either side, but the beauty of an inane discussion is that relevance is irrelevant! :cool:

As a side note, it's interesting that having been born in the '80's and experienced the tail-end of the Soviet Union, I was lucky enough to have been subjected to a constant barrage of anti-communist propaganda in the Western (predominantly American) media in my formative years, so despite the fact that I now see as many flaws in capitalism as I do in communism, and despite knowing that I was essentially being brainwashed as a child, this doesn't prevent my brain from automatically throwing a red flag(<-unintentionally fitting) at mention of the word 'cosmonaut', even though I very much prefer the literal meaning of the term, haha.. communists! Bad!! NO!!

So,

Cosmonaut - Sailor of the Cosmos

Astronaut - Sailor of the Stars

Which do you prefer and why? (or do you simply enjoy the variety?)

Edited by little square dot

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Chinese are called taikonauts. France uses the term spationaute for its own astronauts.

I find the differenciation a bit silly.

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Technically, astrum also designates planets and other celestial bodies. And some astronauts have actually walked on the Moon.

In France, we call French spacemen spationauts, whether they fly on Russian or American rockets. Beyond the fact we have a dedicated word while not being able to put people in space by ourselves, I think it's more accurate than either astro or cosmo.

There are also similarly constructed names for Chinese (Taikonauts), Indian (Vyaomanauts) or other countries.

This is, in my opinion, stupid. You don't change the name of an activity depending on the nationality of the guy doing it.

A solution could be to call everybody astronauts when speaking English, Cosmonauts when speaking Russian, and something else in other languages, the way the Chinese space agency does.

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I like cosmonaut a little more, as it has a more wonderful sound to it, but I have to admit that astronaut is a little more common and it is probably the word I would pick if I did not think about it.

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Have you guys ever heard about "Afronauts"? Yeah, that was a thing. :P

Colonizing the universe with the power of funk.

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Technically, astrum also designates planets and other celestial bodies. And some astronauts have actually walked on the Moon.

In France, we call French spacemen spationauts, whether they fly on Russian or American rockets. Beyond the fact we have a dedicated word while not being able to put people in space by ourselves, I think it's more accurate than either astro or cosmo.

I think t makes more sense than astro but essentially means the same as cosmo. Unfortunately it's also the most awkward-sounding of the three, coming across as a sort of cheesy, gimmicky play on the words 'space' and 'station', even though that wasn't the intent.

For the record, I do think that astronaut sounds the best. I just think it's too grandiose.

A solution could be to call everybody astronauts when speaking English, Cosmonauts when speaking Russian, and something else in other languages, the way the Chinese space agency does.

I'm more a fan of simplification and consensus.

Somewhat related side note, I find it amazing that every language seems to have unique names for countries and their inhabitants too, often that have absolutely nothing to do with the names as recognized by the inhabitants of said countries. This oddity is always highlighted at the Olympics. For example, german, German, Germany = deutsch, Deutscher, Deutschland, which has nothing in common with even closely-related languages like english or french(<-the French call Germany L'Allemand)

This is repeated with almost every language and country. One that I only recently found out is that Finland is called Suomi by "Finns" who don't actually refer to themselves as Finns, their language Finnish or their country Finland.

...the name Suomi (Finnish for "Finland")

What? Suomi is "Finnish for Finland"?

haha, it doesn't make any sense. Suomi is suomi for Suomi. Why not save ourselves the translation by simply referring to them by the name they call themselves? I understand the interesting historic relevance to the various names, but that's what history books are for.

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I've always preferred "Astronaut". I've just never liked describing space as "The Cosmos". I even like Taikonaut better than Cosmonaut. I'd never heard of spationauts until this thread.

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I think the Russians have it right.

Obviously rampant nationalism suggests that there isn't likely to be a terminology change, ever, by either side, but the beauty of an inane discussion is that relevance is irrelevant! :cool:

As a side note, it's interesting that having been born in the '80's and experienced the tail-end of the Soviet Union, I was lucky enough to have been subjected to a constant barrage of anti-communist propaganda in the Western (predominantly American) media in my formative years, so despite the fact that I now see as many flaws in capitalism as I do in communism, and despite knowing that I was essentially being brainwashed as a child, this doesn't prevent my brain from automatically throwing a red flag(<-unintentionally fitting) at mention of the word 'cosmonaut', even though I very much prefer the literal meaning of the term, haha.. communists! Bad!! NO!!

So,

Cosmonaut - Sailer of the Cosmos

Astronaut - Sailer of the Stars

Which do you prefer and why? (or do you simply enjoy the variety?)

I prefer to spell sailor correctly.

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I've always preferred "Astronaut".

So have I, but if we had grown up in the Soviet Union we would probably be on the other side of things.

I feel comfortable using astronaut, I like the sound of astronaut, but if I think about the term I can't help but see a grandiose, almost pretentious sort of self-glorification.

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I prefer to spell sailor correctly.

baha, thanks. I'm starting to slip. :blush:

(re: off-top preferences, I prefer posts that add something to a discussion beyond a spell check.=)

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I thought the term 'astronautics’ was created first (coined as a parallel to 'aeronautics', and used for space travel), and the word 'astronaut' was derived from that.

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We lived in a socialist country outside the Eastern block and we used "astronaut". Nobody even thought about other versions.

Cosmonaut is more literal and correct, but "astro-" prefix is too abundant, so it stuck. I'm ok with it.

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For example, german, German, Germany = deutsch, Deutscher, Deutschland, which has nothing in common with even closely-related languages like english or french(<-the French call Germany L'Allemand)

This is repeated with almost every language and country.

Depends very much who you ask. It seems that is has a lot to do with its long history and the non-centralized tribes that used to live there. Do not forget that even today the different substates are very different entities.

Another nice one are the Dutch. They come from the Netherlands, they speak Dutch, but are often erroneously called Hollanders or said to be from Holland - even by themselves :)

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Well, being very reverent of the U.S. space program, I like to call spacefarers Astronauts, but out of courtesy I always refer to people as they'd like to be.

My Kerbals, by the way, are called Kosmonauts.

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Well, humans never went to a star, and we only explored an insignificant portion of the Cosmos. I think spacenaut would be the most technically correct.

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Do not forget that even today the different substates are very different entities.

I get the historical significance and the variety of factors at play, however in the present situation, all of those different sub-states have an agreed-upon name for their collective, aaaand we ignore it completely. That's what I find funny. It would be so much simpler (and more respectful) if we just learned the proper names as determined by the locals, and in the case of a different alphabet or some such issue simply create the phonetically reasonable alternative.

back to the main topic...

We only explored an insignificant portion of the Cosmos. I think spacenaut would be the most technically correct.

Does a sailor have to sail every square inch of ocean to be called a sailor? Don't forget that you're in space right now. We've collectively skewed the word over time to make it refer exclusively to the area of space outside of our atmosphere, taking the place of the term "outer-space", but it really is a misnomer.

Edited by little square dot

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Does a sailor have to sail every square inch of ocean to be called a sailor? Don't forget that you're in space right now. We've collectively skewed the word over time to make it refer exclusively to the area of space outside of our atmosphere, taking the place of the term "outer-space", but it really is a misnomer.

That's in English. For most other languages, the difference is almost nonexistent.

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im just going to call them "space people" from now on.

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In Russian, the word "Cosmos" (ÚþÑÂüþÑÂ) is primarily used to mean outer space. It can also mean actual cosmos, but that requires context. So while we all sail through the cosmos, and in English, the term "Cosmonaut" seems to be a bit redundant, in Russian, it makes perfect sense to call people who fly space ships "Cosmonauts".

From perspective of word formation, though, "Astronaut" is a bit more consistent, since both roots are taken from Latin. "Cosmos", in contrast, is a Greek word.

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Actually, "astro" and "naut" both originate from ancient greek ("astron" and "naute")

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Actually, "astro" and "naut" both originate from ancient greek ("astron" and "naute")

Interesting. I guess, I shouldn't over-rely on Greek and Latin roots being distinct. Thank you for the correction.

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I think t makes more sense than astro but essentially means the same as cosmo. Unfortunately it's also the most awkward-sounding of the three, coming across as a sort of cheesy, gimmicky play on the words 'space' and 'station', even though that wasn't the intent.

Spatium is a latin word too, and I don't see where the station appears.

In English, and in French, we say people go to space. We don't say they go to the stars or the cosmos, so spationaut would make more sense, but the word astronaut has been here for long and will likely stick.

Oh, and "l'allemand" means "the German", and takes no capital a. Germany is Allemagne.

The country is called by several others names that have nothing to do with these three. It's due to it not really being a country for a very long time.

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