Are you familiar with your address? We hope so! Most children learn to memorize their address early on in their school years, as they need to be able to inform a teacher about their place of residence in case they miss the bus home.
Aside from the street you reside on, an address includes additional details such as the city, state, and country you live in. Having a complete address allows mail to be delivered to you and people to visit you.
Did you know that there’s one aspect of your address that is the same for everyone in the world? In fact, it’s so obvious that we don’t even include it as part of your address. What is it? It’s your planet: Earth!
Since we all live on Earth, there’s no need to include Earth as part of our address. We’re not going to send mail to anywhere other than Earth, right? In fact, we all refer to our planet as Earth… or do we? And how did we come up with the name Earth in the first place?
Earth actually does not have the same name in every language. Like most words and names, Earth has its own unique name in each of the many different languages around the world. Let’s first take a look at the English word “Earth.”
Although it may not appear so at first, Earth is a very distinctive name when it comes to the planets. Earth is the only planet in our solar system that is not named after a Greek or Roman god. As astronomy progressed and other planets were discovered, scientists turned to Greek and Roman mythology to name these celestial bodies.
However, Earth already had its name long before these other planets were discovered. In ancient times, prehistoric people had limited knowledge about the composition of our planet. They may have been aware of a river, stream, or even an ocean near their vicinity, but they would not have had any idea that approximately 70% of Earth’s surface is covered in water. However, they were familiar with the ground beneath their feet – how it looked and felt.
It’s not surprising, then, that “Earth” originated from the Anglo-Saxon word “erda” and the German word “erde,” both of which mean ground or soil. The Old English version of these words became “eor(th)e” or “ertha,” which eventually became “Earth.” In fact, one of the earliest recorded uses of the name Earth can be traced back to the English translation of the Bible.
So how should you refer to your home planet when you visit another country? In Spanish, you would call it Tierra. Other versions of Earth include Aarde (Dutch), Terre (French), Jorden (Norwegian), Nchi (Swahili), and Bumi (Indonesian).
Try It Out
Isn’t this planet we call home simply amazing? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:
Looking to discover the different names for Earth in other languages? Visit In Different Languages online and explore the various ways our planet is referred to. Notice any similarities between languages? Some names are written in different alphabets. Conduct some Internet research to learn how to pronounce those words for Earth.
Do you believe that there is life on other planets? If you were to welcome aliens to Earth, what information would you share with them about our planet? Where would you take them? If you’re feeling creative, use paper and art supplies to create a unique brochure that invites aliens to explore the wonders of our planet. Share your creation with a friend or family member. What do they think? If they were an alien, would they want to visit Earth?
Can the word “Earth” represent five qualities that make our planet great? Write the letters E, A, R, T, and H down the side of a piece of paper, and then come up with words that start with each letter that accurately describe this extraordinary planet we call home. Be imaginative and use your creativity!
Sources of Wonder: