A french "landing" in a future setting

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dianeP

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A friend of mine is writing a french science fiction and asked me about this.
In English a plane "lands" whether it is on land at sea or on the moon.
In french a plane will "aterrir" on land, "amerir" at sea and "alunir" on the moon.

His question was this; when he "lands" on Saturn or Jupiter... Should he asaturnir or a jupiterir? Or should he ignore the fact that "terre" means "earth" and just stick to "aterrir"
His question extended to words like "enterrer" (to bury)... Or ensaturner.
I actually heard a reporter say "amarsir" when we landed on mars. So...?
 

TheCuriousOne

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I'm not a science-fiction fan, so this is just as a guide or a starting point. There's an article here from Le Monde's blog, discussing exactly that. They say that the French Academy recommends "atterrissage" plus the name of the location, and that indeed, the "terre" or earth meant here is the element, rather than the planet. Experts reckon that the newer words "alunissage" and "amarsissage" are based on the confusion with "terre" referring to the planet and there is no reason to use them.
Wikipedia says "atterrissage is the landing a space vehicle on the ground of a star" (not sure my translation is correct, I'm not that clued up on astronomy terms). It says "alunissage" is a controversial term. "Amarsissage" was sometimes used in 2012 for landing on Mars, but the term is rejected by the French Academy and the Science Academy. And they add that no specific term is used for other bodies in the solar system, or other planets on which we placed probes, like Venus.
In the French Larousse dictionary, "atterrissage" is for landing on the ground, for "alunissage" they say that it's the action of landing on the Moon but specify that the Academy recommends the expression "atterrissage sur la Lune"), and I can't find a definition for "amarsissage" in the online dictionary.

Personally, for as much as I can remember, I've never heard of a term other than "atterrissage" when talking about landing on other planets/stars in the French news.

Hope this helps!
 

dianeP

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Thank you so much. Yes it helps a lot, and I admit I'm a bit relieved. When I heard that reporter say amarsissage, I couldn't believe it. Although I do hear alunissage often. Anyway, thanks again.
 

noirdood

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It is my understanding that there is a formal governmental academy in France that decides what the French language is. If they do not agree to a word or phrase, the government, the courts and the media cannot use the word or phrase. People used to use the term le weekend but the academy said no and it was kicked out for the above uses. If only they would do the same with English. Ain't it the truth!
 

Krampus Nacht

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