Why isn't the word "COVID" in other languages?

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Joe90
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15 Jun 2021, 1:50 pm

I'd have thought the coronavirus would be named in Chinese. But COVID is an abbreviation of English words "Corona", "Virus" and "Disease".

A Polish colleague of mine usually has her radio on in Polish and among the words I didn't understand (I don't know any Polish) I could still hear "COVID" and "coronavirus" clearly.

So for a worldwide virus why is its name in English? Why not Chinese? If there is a Chinese word for it, why don't we all use that? Why English? Why doesn't Polish or other languages have a word for it in their own language, like putting together the Polish equivalent of "Corona", "Virus" and "Disease"?

Just wondering.


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KimD
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15 Jun 2021, 2:42 pm

I can say that for starters, "corona" and "virus" sound very similar in English and Polish, and mean the same thing. The same goes for Russian. Russian and English are both spoken in Poland, and are two of the six main languages of the World Health Organization. (Polish is not.) There's a lot of overlap, so coming up with a different-sounding word for it would be pretty hard!

On top of that, the official name for a global health event like this can come down the the WHO/their guidelines:

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-n ... 9-n1134756



Last edited by KimD on 15 Jun 2021, 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Edna3362
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15 Jun 2021, 3:20 pm

It was named, assumed that it came from bat viromes -- viruses associated with bats.

And bat viromes have other coronaviruses under it's name. Including SARS. As stated from the previous post.



Why "corona" and "virus"??

Wikipedia wrote:
Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds.

Synonyms*: Coronavirinae

Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria.


Wikipedia wrote:
Coronaviridae

The viral genome is 26–32 kilobases in length. The particles are typically decorated with large (~20 nm), club- or petal-shaped surface projections (the "peplomers" or "spikes"), which in electron micrographs of spherical particles create an image reminiscent of the solar corona.



More Wikipedia because science naming is funny wrote:
Synonym* (taxonomy)

The Botanical and Zoological Codes of nomenclature treat the concept of synonymy differently.


In botanical nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that applies to a taxon that (now) goes by a different scientific name.


Unlike synonyms in other contexts, in taxonomy a synonym* is not interchangeable with the name of which it is a synonym. In taxonomy, synonyms are not equals, but have a different status.

For any taxon with a particular circumscription, position, and rank, only one scientific name is considered to be the correct one at any given time (this correct name is to be determined by applying the relevant code of nomenclature).
A synonym* cannot exist in isolation: it is always an alternative to a different scientific name.

Synonyms* also come about when the codes of nomenclature change, so that older names are no longer acceptable; for example, Erica herbacea L. has been rejected in favour of Erica carnea L. and is thus its synonym*.


Why English and not Chinese?

More Wikipedia wrote:
Nomenclature is a system of names or terms, or the rules for forming these terms in a particular field of arts or sciences.

The principles of naming vary from the relatively informal conventions of everyday speech to the internationally agreed principles, rules and recommendations that govern the formation and use of the specialist terms used in scientific and any other disciplines.


*Not your everyday synonym. :lol:



Long story short...

It's called coronavirus...
Because the virus is a round thing with spikes and when looked through an electron microscope, it looked like a thing with sun's corona. :lol:

The rest is funny stuff.


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AnonymousAnonymous
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15 Jun 2021, 5:52 pm

"COVID" is part of the scientific name for the coronavirus.


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magz
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16 Jun 2021, 1:29 am

"Coronavirus" is actually Latin ("crown virus" for its round and spiky shape).
Both "coronavirus" and "covid" were originally scientific names. As people talked about them a lot, they entered common languages.

Why does the whole world use a Czech word "robot"?
Sometimes a word is just handy.


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naturalplastic
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16 Jun 2021, 5:02 pm

And why is the big lizard called "Godzilla" the world over?

The Japanese creator of the character in the 50s named him by using the first syllable of the Japanese word for "whale", and the last two syllables of the English word "gorilla". So his name is a mashup of Japanese and English meaning "whale-gorilla". :lol:

And both whales and gorillas are mammals. And everyone can see that Godzilla is a reptile. So its not even accurate in any language!



Joe90
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16 Jun 2021, 7:55 pm

Well by rights the coronavirus should be called 新冠病毒
(Xīnguān bìngdú).

(I Googled that by the way).

Why should English get all the credit? :P


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WhatTheHey
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16 Jun 2021, 7:58 pm

I think this happens alot. I was listening to a podcast called "The Lazarus Heist" and they were playing a person from Sri Lanka or Japan (I think? I can't remember now 100%), and every so often "money laundering" and other words/phrases would drop in clear as a bell.


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kraftiekortie
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17 Jun 2021, 7:02 am

It’s a medical and scientific term.

Medical and scientific terms tend to be universal, and very similar over many languages.



naturalplastic
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17 Jun 2021, 7:28 am

Joe90 wrote:
Well by rights the coronavirus should be called 新冠病毒
(Xīnguān bìngdú).

(I Googled that by the way).

Why should English get all the credit? :P


Because (as others have explained above) it is NOT English. Its Latin. A modern medical term cobbled together from Latin root words. As are most medical and scientific terms. An academic nomenclature tradition that goes back centuries precisely because putting things in Latin or Greek, rather than in the local vernacular, aided communication between the educated elites of Europe who were all schooled in Latin and or Greek since the Renaissance.