"the Planet" or "the planet" - which is it?

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream & FFVII: Reflections
#1
I was just thinking about this and wondering which way it's supposed to be. It's used both ways throughout the game, sometimes even in the same scene, so I'm a little confused about it. Is the inconsistency part of how VII's original translation was bungled, or was that intended?
 
#2
The original game PS1 game is inconsistent, sometimes writing "planet" and sometimes "Planet". The PC version used capitalization more often.

Compilation titles like Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus always write "the planet", so the standard there is lower-case. Indeed I have the Crisis Core script ripped and there was not a single instance of "the Planet".

You can also see in this copy of the English subtitles for Advent Children Complete that the script only ever used lower-case for "planet". Same with the subtitles for the original English version of Advent Children.

The Japanese word used is “hoshi” (星) which means “star” or “celestial body”. There is no standard here that would imply the English translation should be capitalized or that it should be considered a title.
 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream & FFVII: Reflections
#3
Thanks, Shad, I appreciate it. I had gone with lowercase originally in my story, but after looking at the game script some more and the ending FMV, I was a bit confused. But knowing that the rest of the Compilation is consistent with its use of "planet" helps a lot. :)
 

Flutflut

Rookie Adventurer
#4
i'd just say "the planet". I don't think they ever have a reason to call it by name and "Planet" sounds like a pretty boring name. (or it will sound like bad grammer to say "I live on Planet!") basically, if someone says something's wrong with the planet, you'd probably assume it's the one you're living on. Even we sometimes call earth "the planet" when referring to it. instead of saying "global warming is affecting Earth", we often just say "global warming is affecting the planet". I think it works the same way in ffvii. So i'd just say it's "the planet".
 
AKA
Mr. Ite
#5
I have a similar question, which is harder for me to answer since it only seems to be written in press stuff/menus and not the script: is it "he swings the buster sword" or "he swings the Buster Sword" or "he swings Buster sword" or what?
 
#6
I don't see how "Planet" as a name is qualitatively any different from "Earth" as a name. Earth is both the name for our planet and another word for soil. Our planet is the earth. Remember, it took us a long time to figure out that our planet is just one moving part in the whole system, rather than the centre of it. All the other planets in our system have names because they are all observably not-earth. They're burning pinpoints of fire in the sky. Our sun has no name either. It's just 'the sun'.
 

Avalanche87

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Bakito/Marak/DJMarak
#7
I would use Planet in the context of referring to "The Lifestream being the blood of the Planet" kind of in the instance of referring to the planet as a person or an entity, Gaia in other words.... or Mother Nature..... that's my 3 cents worth gang :D again with the Buster Sword, it's almost like it is it's own entity, being a legendary status compared to a regular katana for example. Like Sting in The Hobbit / Lord Of The Rings.....
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#8
I don't see how "Planet" as a name is qualitatively any different from "Earth" as a name. Earth is both the name for our planet and another word for soil. Our planet is the earth. Remember, it took us a long time to figure out that our planet is just one moving part in the whole system, rather than the centre of it. All the other planets in our system have names because they are all observably not-earth. They're burning pinpoints of fire in the sky. Our sun has no name either. It's just 'the sun'.
That’s true, that is the way they often use the word in the game. At the same time, the word “planet” does seem to imply a larger understanding of the universe than the word “Earth”, which as you said was first and foremost the earth. So before the inhabitants of the planet grasped that they were standing on a planet among many other planets, wouldn’t they call the land they walk on something different, something a little less abstract?

Well unless the planet just spilled the beans to the Ancients or something :lol:

RE: Buster Sword – I would personally go with "the Buster Sword", but I might not be able to make much of an argument for it :mon: I'd just say it feels more natural.
 
#13
That doesn't change the fact that Lic is right. Our sun's name is literally the Sun.
If I name my cat "Gato," I can say that's his 'proper' name all I want, I still named him "Cat."
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#14
That's not what happened with the word "Sun/Sol", though. They didn't call it Sun because it was a sun. I'm not an expert, but like many other ancient peoples, the Romans thought it was a very unique celestial body with divine proprieties and they lacked our current understanding of what a sun really is. The word was extended to other stars with a similar function only after we'd acquired that knowledge. When it was first used, it was a proper name that referred to a specific thing and nothing else.

So it's more like, you're one of the first human beings, you've never seen a cat, you first see one and you call him Cat. You thought it was a unique being, but later on you or other human beings found out that there were in fact many other feline beings that could be equated to Cat, so the proper noun that was first used to refer to a specific thing was later applied to other similar beings and turned into a common noun.

For this point to work in the world of FFVII, its inhabitants would have had to extend the name they used for their planet to other similar celestial objects, so Planet had to be later applied to other planets (or rather, to other celestial bodies, as I don't think the Japanese word differentiates between a planet and a star). It's just weird to think that they'd just go the other way around, that they wouldn't bother to define the land they walk on before looking up to the sky – especially if that land is sentient and speaks to them. My problem with that is that the word seems to suggest a larger astronomical understanding that you'd expect from the first inhabitants of the planet; you'd expect a preexisting, more descriptive name to be in use at some point. And wouldn't the Cetra give a more meaningful proper name to the entity to which they devote their lives?

Perhaps the more detached, modern generations of human beings in the OG wouldn't care enough about their own planet to preserve its name (they certainly didn't care enough with Midgar and its former cities), and they'd have the technical knowledge to understand that theirs is just a planet anyway. I just find it harder to believe that the Cetra would do the same.
 
#16
Since the sun was long understood to be a unique object it seems otiose to debate whether 'sol' started life as a proper noun or just a concrete noun. At some point it became the name for the deified personification of the sun (Sol Invictus) as well as the noun for the sun, but whether it was a name first or a noun first, who knows.

At some point 'sun' came to mean any star with a system of planets, which suggests that the people who developed that meaning (16th century astronomers? I don't know) didn't think of 'sun' as a proper noun. Moreover, in languages with definite and indefinite articles, 'sun' is always preceded by an article ("the sun", "le soleil"; "die sonne" etc...) which again indicates that's a concrete noun, not a proper noun. Proper nouns don't take articles.
 

Legend

Rookie Adventurer
#17
"Materia" is also used both ways in the original (lower and upper case). Not sure which is correct according to how it's spelled in other titles. I remember "Lifestream" and "Mako" being lower case in Crisis Core.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#18
Since the sun was long understood to be a unique object it seems otiose to debate whether 'sol' started life as a proper noun or just a concrete noun. At some point it became the name for the deified personification of the sun (Sol Invictus) as well as the noun for the sun, but whether it was a name first or a noun first, who knows.

At some point 'sun' came to mean any star with a system of planets, which suggests that the people who developed that meaning (16th century astronomers? I don't know) didn't think of 'sun' as a proper noun. Moreover, in languages with definite and indefinite articles, 'sun' is always preceded by an article ("the sun", "le soleil"; "die sonne" etc...) which again indicates that's a concrete noun, not a proper noun. Proper nouns don't take articles.
But we're not talking about 16th century astronomers. We're talking about the astronomers of today and whether our sun has a proper name in the context of astronomy.
 
#19
I thought we were talking about the etymology of The Planet and whether the people of the Planet used "Planet" to refer to their planet in the same way that we use "Earth". Clearly, once it became apparent to our earthling astronomers that our sun was just one sun among many (and not a particularly impressive one either) they needed a word to distinguish our sun from all the other suns.

Anyway, the fact that we often stick a definite article in front of earth - eg "As far as we know, the Earth is the only planet compatible with life" - suggests that we don't think of it as simply a proper noun. We would never refer to 'the Mars' or 'the Jupiter', but we do refer to the earth, the moon, and the sun. Ergo, they aren't true proper nouns. Japanese may not make that grammatical distinction, however.
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#20
I think I’ve also heard it called and read it as “Earth” without an article: “life on Earth,” “Earth was our home.” But I don’t know if that sounds awkward or is incorrect, I’m not equipped to argue over the finer points of the English grammar, so I won’t even try :monster: For what it’s worth (very little probably, since we’re discussing an English translation choice of a Japanese term), I can tell you that at least in my language, “la Terra” as in our planet is 100% a proper name, because it’s the name of our planet. And unlike English, it’d be pretty much impossible to write it without an article.

Proper noun or not, we live on planet Earth. I'm not sure you're suggesting this, but if I were to apply the reasoning behind the earth/Earth and sun/Sun distinction to FFVII, I'd be inclined to conclude that they live on planet Planet. You might argue that our sun’s the Sun and I wouldn’t disagree, but the word "Sun" (and Sol, for that matter) apparently originated from a verb that meant “to shine”. That makes sense, it’s something that everybody could see for themselves, just like everybody could see that we live “on the earth.” Words are not created in a vacuum. I find the idea that everybody could immediately see they lived on a planet unconvincing, and while I could think up a few solutions, such as an altered or lost meaning of the word, I think it’d be less convoluted and it’d make slightly more sense if it just had an actual name that we don’t know of. It’s probably another reason why the popular misconception that the planet is called “Gaia” just won’t die.

I’m not disputing the fact that it could be a nice way to explain the planet/Planet distinction, but I don't think they did it consistently enough for that to be the case. If I had to guess, I’d just say that the translator(s) realized too late that this particular planet was treated pretty much like a breathing, living entity and wanted the translation to reflect this. I just think that using a technical term that way is a bit of an awkward choice that can be misleading when not used carefully and doesn’t hold up that well under closer scrutiny, especially when comparing it to real-life examples.
 
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#21
Is your language Spanish? Normally, in any language where concrete nouns take an article, we don't put articles in front of proper names. We wouldn't call you "The Youffie", or me "The Licoriceallsorts". In other words, the presence of the article indicates that the noun is not a proper noun, i.e., not a name. But maybe in your language it is grammatical to put articles in front of people's names?

Yes, I am indeed suggesting that they live on planet Planet. I don't know of any languages where planet "Earth" has an actual name (like Mars, Venus, Sedna etc...), as opposed to simply being called some variant of Earth, Ground, Soil, Land, World etc...
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#22
It's Italian. Yes, by all means, normally it works that way and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I've looked it up to be sure, however, and these (Sun, Earth, Moon) are a bit of an exception: when these words refer to the actual celestial bodies, they are to be considered proper names, at least according to several reliable Italian dictionaries. I think it makes sense conceptually, because they're the actual, specific names of the respective objects. But I see we disagree a bit there :)

To be clear, if the planet had been called a variant of Earth, Ground or something like that I would have no objection with this idea. I just don't think Planet works quite as well, but I guess in the end it's just down to different sensibilities.

(Small language side fact: Portuguese frequently uses articles before proper nouns, and there are a few Italian dialects that put articles before people's names. Not sure why though :O )
 
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