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Why is Sodium Na?

  1. Apr 24, 2017 #1
    Why is Sodium "Na"? Shouldn't it be called "So" or something like that? What is the process for deciding the abbreviations for elements?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2017 #2

    DrClaude

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    That's so easily googlable...
    For new elements, the naming is decided by IUPAC.
     
  4. Apr 24, 2017 #3
    I didn't want to Google it, because I know from experience that Wikipedia can be a dark and unknowledgeable site sometimes. I posted the question(s) here in hopes that someone would know more (or at least be able to explain it better) than whoever wrote the page on Wikipedia.

    Thank you for the information, though.

    P.S. Is "googlable" an actual word yet?
     
  5. Apr 24, 2017 #4

    DrClaude

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    Wikipedia is not that bad, at least when simple facts are concerned. Googling would also have given you many references other than Wikipedia.

    Not according to Merriam-Webster or the OED. Only "google" as a verb seems to be accepted.
     
  6. Apr 24, 2017 #5
    It is now :woot:
     
  7. Apr 24, 2017 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Natrium -> natron. Natron is the dry white sodium salts mixed (several different ones) residue in dry lake beds. Egyptians used it in the mummification process. Romans knew about it, hence the Latinized name, derived from Egyptian.

    This discusses a possible origin for the word natrium in Middle Egyptian, but like any decent write up on the subject of Middle Egpytian language it is all over the place:
    https://ancientneareast.org/2012/02/10/an-excursus-on-the-egyptian-word-ntr/
    Do a forward find on 'natron'.
     
  8. Apr 24, 2017 #7

    rbelli1

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    Perfectly cromulent!


    BoB
     
  9. Apr 25, 2017 #8

    DrDu

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    The abbreviations and many of the names of the elements used in the nordic countries and in Germany, as opposed to France and England, where coined by Jöns Jakob Berzelius. Needless to say that this created a lot of dispute at the beginning of the 19th century.
    Confer the book "Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry" by M. P. Crosland.
     
  10. Apr 25, 2017 #9

    epenguin

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    I don't know if they do still but I can remember, mnyah mnyah, when French texts were still insisting on writing Az for N.
     
  11. Apr 25, 2017 #10

    Janus

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    There are a number of elements which have symbols that don't match up with their modern names, most derived from ancient names for them. One in particular found its way into our language in a number of ways, And that is Pb for lead. The Pb stands for Plumbum, the ancient name for lead.
    This is also why we call the water pipes "plumbing", as they used to use lead for that.
    Since lead is heavy and it once was believed that heavy object fell faster, we also get the word plummet from this.
    Lead weights hung from strings are called plum bobs. And these were used to make things were perfectly vertical or 'Plumb'. And since you could also lower them in the water to measure the distance to the bottom, they were used to "plumb" the depths.
    and lastly if you ate too much of a particular fruit it lead to an "heaviness" in your bowels, they were named "Plums".
     
  12. May 23, 2017 #11

    DrDu

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  13. May 30, 2017 #12
    I would add that this depends on which "modern language" you consider. The names are not the same in every language, the symbols are ( I hope).

    For example, symbols for Gold, Iron, Tungsten, Lead , Tin, Silver make perfect sense in romance languages, like in Romanian for example.
     
  14. May 31, 2017 #13
    I think you've invented a new word. It expresses the advice you was giving perfectly.
     
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