After humanity broke free of the confines of its homeworld, Earth's dominant languages, among them Chinese and Japanese, began asserting their influence over their colonies' culture, spoken and written linguistic system.

History Edit

Humanity managed to escape their homeworld and establish colonies throughout the Sol system, at first confined in the inner part. However, after the invention of the Epstein drive, mankind ventured past the Asteroid Belt and settled on the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

The colonies were influenced by many major Earther cultures. Earth's languages grew new variations outside the bounds of their traditional home, including strong influences from prominent Asian cultures, like Chinese and Japanese. Although many more languages blended, those with a larger number of speakers asserted their firm influence over less common tongues.

Pluri-ethnic cultures Edit

Belter Edit

Lang belta is the result of several donor languages having blended their vocabulary and grammatical properties into a single, unitary tongue. The process took several generations to achieve the threshold of a consensus discernibly distinct language, as lang belta was diverging from its donor languages.[citation needed]

Chinese greatly influenced the final language, especially in the more frequently used vocabulary, more so than Japanese. This is due in part to China's superpower position prior to the unification of Earth under the United Nations, while Japan cultural influences, although still a major regional economical force, was diminishing with the economic rise of China. However, Chinese characters are rarely used among the Belt's populace, having standardized on Latin to transcribe phrase and words of Sino-Japanese origin.

One noteworthy example of Belter vocabulary originating from Chinese is "dui"  (对) used for an affirmative response interchangeably with the word "yes".[1]

Another example, "xie xie" (谢谢), is routinely used for showing gratitude and is largely the Belter equivalent of the English "thank you".[2] These words are routinely intermixed with words originating from other major tongues, such as Spanish, French, and German.

Martian Edit

On Mars Chinese characters are used when tradition is emphasized, a common practice in the MCRN, where ships names and mottos are written in Chinese. Iconographic uses are also common.

Names Edit

Sino-Japanese cultural  influences can also be seen in the names of people, vessels, and organizations, such as Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile. Some words have homonyms in Japanese or Chinese adding some ambiguity to the meaning.

Name Home Affiliation Possible Influence[3] Description
Native Origin[3] Native Characters[3] Native Meaning[3]
TachiMarsJapanese太刀 or 立ちtype of sword predating the katanaoriginal name of the Rocinante
TsuchiMarsJapaneseearth or soil
Free Navy
Japanesetraditional stringed instrument
Free Navy
Japanese新作刀genuine/(new production) sword
Bodhisattva of Compassion[4]Jules-Pierre Mao's luxury yacht
Zhang Fei[5] Earth Chinese张飞 (simplified)
張飛 (traditional)
3rd century general of the Chinese warlord Liu Bei (劉備) Holden's assignment while on duty for UNN
Zheng Fei[6]??
lightningMCRN vessel in orbit around Venus
Zhang GuoEarthChinese张果(老) (simplified)
張果(老) (traditional)
mythical Daoist and member of Eight ImmortalsAmos, Clarissa and Erich commandeered escape yacht
XinglongBeltChinese兴隆 (simplified)
興隆 (traditional)
prosperousProspector ship
Seung UnEarthKorean승은Destroyed as a plot to defame Holden

Name Possible Influence[3] Description
Native Origin[3] Native Symbology[3] Native Meaning[3]
MichioJapaneseみちお?Appears in Abaddon's Gate and as a Viewpoint character in Babylon's Ashes. Also, in The Vital Abyss
SakaiJapaneseさかい?Replacement for Chief Engineer Rosenberg on Tycho Station. Agent of Marco Inaros Nemesis Games
PaChinese??Last name for Michio
MaoChinese"brush" or "hair"Last name for Jules-Pierre Books • TV and Julie Books • TV
Meng(mèng)Chinese?Last name for Prax Books • TV and Mei Books • TV
Mei (měi) Chinese beautiful Mei Meng Books • TV
(méi)rose or "fine jade"[7]
(メイ)Japanese芽衣 (or 芽依) sprout
?Captain Chou Books • TV of the Lina Babylon's Ashes
LiangChinese??Liang Goodfortune Books • TV
JianguoChinese??One of the fathers who shared a ride on the Lazy Songbird with Amos in Nemesis Games Chapter 4
KohKorean??Clarissa's alias Books • TV Abaddon's Gate
NguyenVietnameseNguyễncommon Vietnamese name of Chinese origin(阮)Admiral Nguyen Books • TV
LeVietnamese?Gorman Le Books • TV Nemesis Games

Belter language from Books vs. TV Edit

The team of Daniel and Ty concocted a crude Belter language when they developed the books. They relied on readers' ability to look up definitions in order to understand meanings. It was composed of words from a plurality of donor languages directly intertwined among one another within sentences. When they went to produce the story for television, they decided that the language they had built wasn't suitable for the new medium, so Ty endorsed Nick Farmer to create a language that was distinct, while still maintaining the sense of pluri-ethnic origins, and one constructed with a greater degree of rigor than what had been used for the books. The authors of the Expanse recommend students focus on the TV/Farmer Belter for any serious analysis. (This wikia reference initially covers only the Book incarnation of the language. The TV incarnation will be added in the future. Wherever possible, the particular incarnation being described will be denoted. For more information on the Book incarnation, see Belter Creole (Books). For more information on the TV incarnation, see Belter Creole.)

Notes Edit

  • Chinese characters have an ideographic/iconographic aspect and can express or alliterate to concepts alongside the spoken sound of a name.
  • Standard Chinese is transliterated into Latin script using the phonetic "pinyin" standard.
  • When reading transliterated Chinese, there will be inherent ambiguity and a fair degree of context may be needed for correct reconstruction. Another simplification often made is skipping the pinyin tonal diacritics, thereby creating additional homonyms as Chinese syllable tones are critical for semantic distinction.

Media Edit


  1. dui - (对) - borrowed from Mandarin. An affirmative response to a request for confirmation. analog to "yes", "correct" (adj), "agreed", "true"(adj)
    Leviathan Wakes Chapter 6
    Cibola Burn Chapter 9, 17
    Babylon's Ashes Chapter 17, 26, 31, 41, 42, 44
    [pronounced like "Dwayne" but without the "n" at the end]
  2. xie xie - (谢谢) - borrowed from Mandarin. "thank you"
    Nemesis Games chapter 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 When reading transliterated Chinese, there will be inherent ambiguity. For the sake of accuracy, a fair amount of context may be needed. Another simplification that possibly leads to subsequent complication is the lack of tonal diacritics when used in English text, as Chinese syllable tones distinguish "homonyms".
  4. Bodhisattva of Compassion
  5. The novels spelled the name with an "a"
  6. The TV show and Origin comics spelled the name with an "e"
  7. 玫 means "rose" as a simplification of "玫瑰" (or, sometimes, "玫" means "fine jade" when standalone, free of combination)

External Links Edit

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