astronaut

yuechu

Senior Member
Canada, English
大家好!

I was recently looking up the word "astronuat" in the dictionary and found:
宇航员
yǔ háng yuán
航天员
háng tiān yuán
太空人
tài kōng rén

Are all these terms commonly used? Which one is the most common in conversation?
Thanks!
 
  • Jude Xu

    New Member
    Chinese
    宇航员and航天员 are more technical terms, while 太空人 sounds more informal and casual.
    航天refers to the general space activity outside the atmosphere, while宇航has a broader sense that also implies further space operations beyond the solar system.
    In daily communications, the first two (宇航员/航天员)makes no difference, as 99% of Chinese don't know their difference either.
    太空人, though more informal, are not often seen or used.
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    '太空人' is far commoner than the other two in my experience. '航天員' seems to be unique to the mainland.
     

    Jude Xu

    New Member
    Chinese
    '太空人' is far commoner than the other two in my experience. '航天員' seems to be unique to the mainland.
    Well, things gets tricky here. I suppose you're referring to the word usage in TW. In CN, it's another story. We seldom use 太空人 in our language context.
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    Yes, I was talking about my personal experience. I am Taiwanese, born and growing up and still living here. I have never gone abroad. The more posts you read, the more you will find about the cross-strait difference. :)
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    This is a very interesting question. When it comes to a foreign astronaut(cosmonaut), Chinese media would use 宇航员 more frequently; to Chinese astronaut, 航天员 shows up more than the former does. 太空人(reminding me of taikonaut, which has gotten thrown around so much lately) may be a word used in Taiwan or Hongkong, Maucau, as it hardly rings a bell for me as a mainlander.
    三位国际知名宇航员寄语中国航天员
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    Here we don't make such a distinction. I would definitely have confused '宇航員' with '航天員'.
     

    T.D

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    宇航员 and 航天员 are completely interchangeable. Regarding Oswinw011's post, I think our press call Chinese astronauts 航天员 because our astronauts are all trained by the PLA Astronaut Corps (中国人民解放军航天员大队).

    (For some reason 太空人 strikes me as a term used mainly by people in Taiwan)
     
    Last edited:

    Mew Suen

    New Member
    Mandarin -Traditional and Simplified
    “太空人”只讓我想到很多年前喜之郎的廣告。在這邊確實很少在正式場合聽到“太空人”。
     

    Vincent Tam

    Senior Member
    Chinese and Cantonese
    大家好!

    I was recently looking up the word "astronuat" in the dictionary and found:
    宇航员
    yǔ háng yuán
    航天员
    háng tiān yuán
    太空人
    tài kōng rén

    Are all these terms commonly used? Which one is the most common in conversation?
    Thanks!

    Hi, Yuechu

    If you ask me, I would say that in daily conversation 太空人 is the most common in Cantonese,especially in HongKong.
    On the other hand, in Mandarin(大陆), 宇航员 is the answer to you question.

    I hope it can help you
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Oh! I didn't realize that there were so many regional differences. That's good to know!
    Thank you all for your replies! :)
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    When it comes to a foreign astronaut(cosmonaut), Chinese media would use 宇航员 more frequently; to Chinese astronaut, 航天员 shows up more than the former does.
    航天員 sounds like a native word, whereas 宇航員 sounds like a translation.

    航天員 6,060,000 google results > 天航員 1,780 google results
    航空員 333,000 google results > 空航員 11,300 google results
    航海員 190,000 google results > 海航員 2,050 google results
    航宇員 23,500 google results < 宇航員 24,100,000 google results
    ==> 宇航員 is an exception.

    Likewise,
    航天者 22,300 google results > 天航者 714 google results
    航空者 8,830 google results > 空航者 625 google results
    航海者 1,860,000 google results > 海航者 17,500 google results
    行天者 145,000 google results < 天行者 2,830,000 google results
    《周易集解》行天者莫若龍,行地者莫若馬.
    《慎子·逸文》行海者坐而至越, 有舟也; 行陸者立而至秦, 有車也.
    古文: 行天 ==> 行於天
    今文: 天行 ==> 在天上行走
    "天行" 是今文, "者" 是古語, "天行者" 不古不今, 八成是譯文.

    天行者 = English "Skywalker" (= "sky" 天 + "walker" 行者).
    宇航員 = Russian "kosmonavt" (= Greek "kosmos" 宇 + "nautes" 船員)

    "航天員" 是正宗土產:), 遺憾的是洋腔 "宇航員" (24,100,000 google results) 反倒是最常見的.
     
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    T.D

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    "航天員" 是正宗土產:), 遺憾的是洋腔 "宇航員" (24,100,000 google results) 反倒是最常見的.
    其实我更喜欢”宇航员“。“天”和“宇”在我的认知里是不一样的。而astronaut显然是在“宇”而不是在“天”。
     
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