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Homeworld vs. Home World

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

In a story I've been working on, my editors keep marking "Homeworld" as two separate words, even though most dictionaries, and common opinion, supports the use of a single words. But, after all this times, I'm now questioning whether there's a distinction between the two, and if so, would it be appropriate to use "homeworld" sometimes (like when returning to it) and "home world" at other times (say when discussing your home)?

Any thoughts. Are they merely synonyms, or is it like flammable and inflammable, each word conveying subtle differences between someone's place of origin.

Note: Isn't it amazing that Sci-fi has become so prevalent, that dictionaries routinely list "homeworld" as a regular entry?

Ordinarily I'd check with Grammar Girl, but I'm not sure she's ever ventured an opinion on such 'out of this world' grammar questions. 'D

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

My first thought is that it depends on usage cf homeland and Home Country. In other words I agree with your supposition in the first paragraph.

However, that's likely to confuse the hell out of readers, so you might be better off choosing one and sticking to it.

I should have just made a pun, shouldn't I!

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

My first thought is that it depends on usage cf homeland and Home Country. In other words I agree with your supposition in the first paragraph.

However, that's likely to confuse the hell out of readers, so you might be better off choosing one and sticking to it.

That's been my approach—up till now, at least—which is why I never changed it before. But I'm now wondering whether there aren't situations which might call for a different use (maybe not in this book, but maybe in others I have yet to write).

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I'd regard both as acceptable, as long as you did it the same way throughout the story. If you like homeworld, just add it to your dictionary.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Just musing, but perhaps the difference is titular.

The police constable peed into his helmet.

Police Constable Smallbladder peed into his helmet.

AJ

Ross at Play

I would say it's your choice if using it as a common noun, but see no reason for choosing two words.
However, if you have one planet called Homeworld, I'd go with two lower case words in other contexts.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

I should have just made a pun, shouldn't I!


Nah, leave that to richardshagrin. I'm sure he will drop one soon.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Muddying the pool, I can imagine a scenario where every character has a Home World but there are many, many homeworlds.

AJ

StarFleet Carl

@awnlee jawking

homeland and Home Country


Homeland is a grocery store.
https://www.homelandstores.com/

Home Country are part of a John Denver song.
Take me Home, Country Roads ....

Now, in the context that you're talking about ...
Homeworld is one word, and has been since 1999, when the video game first came out. So that's probably why you see it as one word. I could see it used both ways, though, as you mention.

"He was born on the Terran Empire's home world, Earth."

"I was born on the Terran Empire's homeworld."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Muddying the pool, I can imagine a scenario where every character has a Home World but there are many, many homeworlds.

I was asking whether the central planet, the administrative capital, is named 'Homeworld'. If so, I would have other characters talk about their individual 'home world' where they were raised.
If he needs a proper noun, I would call that 'Homeworld', and then always use 'home world' whenever a common noun is needed.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

I think if it's an adjective phrase, it's two words, but while a noun object it can be done as one.

The Klingon homeworld.
The Klingon home world of Q'onos

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Joe Long

Qapla'!

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Muddying the pool, I can imagine a scenario where every character has a Home World but there are many, many homeworlds.

In my newest story, there are at least 12 separate homeworlds of the main characters in the story. In another, there are too many to count, or detail in the story, as few mention their precise homeworlds.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Homeworld is one word, and has been since 1999, when the video game first came out. So that's probably why you see it as one word. I could see it used both ways, though, as you mention.

Check your online dictionaries. Most now list "homeworld" (one word) as a valid noun. I doubt it'll be included in any printed dictionaries you might have lying around, though.

I was just curious whether there might be some perceived subtle difference between the two, but apparently not, so there's no sense worrying about it.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I was asking whether the central planet, the administrative capital, is named 'Homeworld'. If so, I would have other characters talk about their individual 'home world' where they were raised.
If he needs a proper noun, I would call that 'Homeworld', and then always use 'home world' whenever a common noun is needed.

Now THAT makes sense, but in the other story I have where a galactic empire has a centralized homeworld, since it's the center of the galactic empire, they use the name of the planet for the empire, not Homeworld. Otherwise, everyone means 'my home planet' when they refer to "homeworld".

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Otherwise, everyone means 'my home planet' when they refer to "homeworld".


I would think that it's where a race or species originated, not necessarily where a particular individual was born and raised.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Joe Long

I would think that it's where a race or species originated, not necessarily where a particular individual was born and raised.

That sounds intuitively natural to me, that characters would refer to "home planet" for where they originated and "home world" for where their species originated.
But as long as an author is internally consistent they should be okay.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

That sounds intuitively natural to me, that characters would refer to "home planet" for where they originated and "home world" for where their species originated.
But as long as an author is internally consistent they should be okay.

In my case (in my Not-Quite Human universe), the galactic empire they end up in after leaving Earth is so large, consisting of so many species, that I really never detail what world each species started from, whereas for The Demons Within, although there is a large handful of different species (living on Earth), they all have their own distinct homeworlds.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I was just curious whether there might be some perceived subtle difference between the two, but apparently not, so there's no sense worrying about it.


Not meaning to single you out CW, but you were the OP and I find the way this thread is going interesting.

We basically started off with you saying there was no difference between 'homeworld' and 'home world'. However, there seems to be a few who perceived the two cases as being slightly different. As the thread continued, posters seemed to want to find a difference. In the above you are reaffirming the two cases are the same and we shouldn't worry about it. Three minutes later, you respond to Ross's post where he defined a difference. I get the sense from the wording of your second post that you are happy that someone came up with a rationale for why the two cases are different.

Perhaps we just can't accept two forms of a word meaning exactly the same thing. Perhaps it is part of our nature to have only one form for any one meaning. Perhaps that is why this thread struggled to find a difference between the two forms. Does that mean we created a difference to satisfy our inner need for there to be a difference?

helmut_meukel

@REP

So it's home world or homeworld? Why not home-world?

HM.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@REP

Perhaps we just can't accept two forms of a word meaning exactly the same thing. Perhaps it is part of our nature to have only one form for any one meaning. Perhaps that is why this thread struggled to find a difference between the two forms. Does that mean we created a difference to satisfy our inner need for there to be a difference?

Whatever drug you started taking recently, please keep on taking it. :-)

To explain ... Some days ago I posted a comment that I thought what you had posted was very good advice, and CW added a bit later much the same with a note along the lines of "(I never expected to say that to you)".
I think your comment which I just quoted is quite insightful and interesting. There was another post you made in between that I felt the same about.
Thus ... Whatever new drug you've started taking, it's working. :-)

REP

@helmut_meukel

Why not home-world?


Because only two forms had been presented. Now we have three. Is the meaning of home-world different from homeworld and home world? :)

Dominions Son

@REP

Is the meaning of home-world different from homeworld and home world?

Home-world is a planet full of occupied houses. :)

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Dominions Son

Glad to hear that it isn't just a world of homies. :)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

Glad to hear that it isn't just a world of homies. :)


My other thought was some future uber-rich dude with a mansion the size of a small planet.

Replies:   AmigaClone
helmut_meukel

@REP

I can't answer this, English isn't my first language. Back when I had English classes in school the teachers claimed teaching "Oxford English". When I years later visited Oxford, I met no speakers of this "Oxford English". ;-)

In school I was told English doesn't concatenate nouns like German instead in most cases the nouns remain separate. In German "Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitän is a valid word, it means "captain of steam ships on the Danube".
BTW, using american spellings were regarded as errors in tests—my home town was part of the american occupied zone.
In my last year in school they tentatively admitted american English existed and we could use it, but then had to stick to it! They told us concatenation of nouns is more usual in american English due to influences of immigrants. But that was then, more than 50 years ago.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

I can't answer this, English isn't my first language.

None of us for whom English is our first language can adequately answer that either.
In English there is a trend over time for multi-word phrases, especially nouns, to become accepts as single words. It takes some time for dictionaries to catch up, and there can sometimes be an intermediate step where hyphenating the words is common.
There is no real logic to how fast that process takes place.
I think the best we can do is rely on our dictionaries whenever in any doubt - not because they are right - but because they will give us the same answer every time so our stories will spell the same words consistently.
I find dictionary.com very useful for this. If you enter something as a single word, the term is "closed", it will return its preferred spelling, which might be open (two words), closed, or hyphenated.

BrE is slightly less inclined to use closed forms than AmE. For example, there are few words beginning with the prefix 'non' that are not hyphenated in BrE dictionaries, and few that are not closed in AmE dictionaries. However, I'm not aware of many other differences between when BrE and AmE join a prefix (i.e. not a complete word) to another word. Both seem to prefer the closed form almost all the time.

Sorry, but the best answer I can give is pick one dictionary and follow what it recommends whenever you are in doubt. :(

Joe Long

@helmut_meukel

They told us concatenation of nouns is more usual in american English due to influences of immigrants. But that was then, more than 50 years ago.


I live in western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Outside the larger cities, it's an ethnic patchwork. Some areas are predominantly German while other Scotch-Irish. The English and Irish tended to stick to the urban areas, as did the eastern Europeans who came after the 1870's (along with the new wave of Germans after the unification).

The county to the south of me is almost all German, with many still speaking the language at home and church up until World War One, even after a hundred or more years in America.

The version of English spoken around Pittsburgh is thus influenced by Scottish and German and to a lesser extent others such as Polish or Slovak.

REP

@helmut_meukel

In school I was told English doesn't concatenate nouns like German instead in most cases the nouns remain separate


For the most part, what you learned in school is true. As Ross said, in English something like home world is normally concatenated by first joining the two words with a hyphen to form a noun phrase. When it becomes accepted usage, the hyphen is eventually dropped to form a single word. Home world evidently skipped the noun phrase stage due to a popular computer game, Homeworld, being released. So there were 2 recognized forms of the word. I don't think home-world was ever a recognized form of the word, although it may have been used by some.

You evidently were serious when you suggested home-world, and I thought you were making a jest. So I responded as I did.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitän

Q1. Do you really spell that with three consecutive F's?
Q2. Do we have Germans to thank for the word 'fart'?

AmigaClone

@Dominions Son


My other thought was some future uber-rich dude with a mansion the size of a small planet.


How about a Death Star sized yacht called "Home-World"?

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Q1. Do you really spell that with three consecutive F's?

Yes.

Q2. Do we have Germans to thank for the word 'fart'?

No; I think a late 13th-century Scottish warrior with diarrhea invented the fart. His name was Bravefart or something like that.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@REP

We basically started off with you saying there was no difference between 'homeworld' and 'home world'. However, there seems to be a few who perceived the two cases as being slightly different. As the thread continued, posters seemed to want to find a difference. In the above you are reaffirming the two cases are the same and we shouldn't worry about it. Three minutes later, you respond to Ross's post where he defined a difference. I get the sense from the wording of your second post that you are happy that someone came up with a rationale for why the two cases are different.

At first, I assumed from the responses that there were no differences. When one was pointed out, you're right, I was enthused, but it didn't apply to my two SF stories involving multiple alien species, so I was disappointed that, though interesting, wouldn't really impact my storytelling approach.

It's not so that there a difference, as there's a 'special exemption' to their being identical (when they name the Galactic Capital "Homeworld").

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Home-world is a planet full of occupied houses. :)

Nope. We're talking SF. It's a planet full of sentient houses!

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

No; I think a late 13th-century Scottish warrior with diarrhea invented the fart. His name was Bravefart or something like that.

Okay. I'll investigate which side of my family tree he is on.

Replies:   Joe Long
helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitän
Q1. Do you really spell that with three consecutive F's?


Nowadays YES. Schifffahrt is Schiff + Fahrt. When I went to school the rule was to drop one of the three consecutive F's (or T's,...), but in case you had to divide the word at the end of the line it was 3 F's again: Schiff-fahrt.
18 Secretaries for Education (from all 16 german states and Austria and Switzerland) have to vote unanimously for any change in orthography and grammar. Those changes are then binding upon all schools, universities, and administrations. The intervalls between major changes are mostly decades. First was in 1876, then in 1901, finally in 1996 with minor changes in 2004, 2006 and 2011 because the 1996 major change was a disaster. To leave triplets was introduced in 1996.

Q2. Do we have Germans to thank for the word 'fart'?


No. English 'fart' is German 'Furz'(noun) and 'furzen'(verb) ; both have the same germanic root.
The german verb 'fahren' and it's noun 'Fahrt' are used for car (drive), bike (ride), bus (ride), ship (sail), boat (row) ...

HM.

Replies:   Joe Long  Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@Ross at Play

I'll investigate which side of my family tree he is on


I'm a Guthrie descendant.

Joe Long

@helmut_meukel

18 Secretaries for Education (from all 16 german states and Austria and Switzerland) have to vote unanimously for any change in orthography and grammar. Those changes are then binding upon all schools, universities, and administrations.


Too much government control.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

The german verb 'fahren' and it's noun 'Fahrt' are used for car (drive), bike (ride), bus (ride), ship (sail), boat (row) ...

Which is where we get the English word 'fart' from, since you 'fart' on bicycle seats, and you can use farts (in desperate times) to power your car or sail your sailboat. Not much help in rowing, as it'll cause anyone else in the boat to dive overboard. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

Too much government control.

Unlike in America, where ever single citizen invents their own words, and which is the most popular becomes the newest words in the dictionary each year. (is that an argument for or against government controls?

Replies:   Joe Long
richardshagrin

Government control of farts? Perhaps a special tax on beans?

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Unlike in America, where ever single citizen invents their own words


The wisdom of the crowds!

We try all of them out and get to see which works best.

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