Your worldbuilding media is aimed at English speakers or speakers of some actually existing language on Earth. Calling a carrot a "carrot" does not have to imply that the Glorbpok people of the planet Nastyinthepasty 5 call such a food item a "carrot," only that "carrot" is the correct word for the object in English and what will be most easily understood by your audience. If you use an exotic name for something common or a common name for something exotic, I don't think that's an issue if done sparingly to drive home that we're not in Kansas anymore, but you do that by saying something like, "There were five 'fieldgrazers'–an indigenous term for the ever familiar cows of Earth–in the field grazing." Alternatively, "The name 'elf' suddenly seemed a lot less fitting to Kacedin. As she gazed up at the 12 foot tall hulking mass of bark and sinew seamlessly blended together and baring its immense fangs at her, she couldn't help but wonder what lunatic had ever looked at these and thought of the delightfully magical and beautiful people of so many Earth stories." "The man was standing on the corner, munching on a carrot. Carrots grown on Rizek II were purple, unlike the familiar orange variety from Earth, a side effect of adapting them to the less nutrient rich soil." Like the basic idea is that if you're using words in a way that's different than we're accustomed to as native speakers of English (or w/e language you're ultimately working in), you either need to convey that to the audience or it doesn't exist. And I think the least irritating and disruptive way to convey that to the audience is to integrate it into the narrative, assuming you do so sparingly.


There are purple carrots, though…


That's completely beside the point.


I’d say food, plants, animals, materials are fine to name as on earth. What I might suggest however is giving them a slight ‘extra’, such as instead of ‘rabbits’ they are ‘rock rabbits’, or instead of ‘alder trees’ they are ‘blue alders’ or something. This makes it clear to the reader exactly what something is, but also gives something a little bit different to really anchor them in place in your world. Another method I’m not such a fan of is alternate spellings, eg rabbitts, seeguls, elyphant. But you do what you feels right. After all, YOU know how far removed from ‘Earth’ you want your world to feel.


Ah, this is good. Adding some other prefix or suffix to the word does make it fit in more if you're going for high-fantasy/high-scifi. Simple and effective.


I may go this route, the adjective making it only slightly different but different, nonetheless.


The best way to think about it is treading your text as nearest translation for the readers benefit. Horses are animals you can ride to get around - if you horses have six legs that doesn't make them less horses. Everything that is called something the reader already knows is something you don't need to explain. Humans mostly think the same way anyway: If you encounter a snake on a new continent it's still a snake. If you find a wholly new animal that looks and acts very different to other animals you know, *then* you are giving it a new name.


So likely then I will be having a mix of things that are Earth-named, with a smattering of things that are unique. Which would be more realistic, anyway.


As long as the creatures are vaguely similar (e.g. you aren't calling a massive reptilian predator a "rat"), I wouldn't foresee a problem as long as you don't have both Earth cows *and* space cows simultaneously. Even then, you could just stick an adjective on to distinguish them.


It truly is up to you but I usually draw lines between genre. For example, I have a high-fantasy world where I use mostly Earth names for things because I'm not going to create a new cow stand in. We have more important things to do, like save the world. For my sci-fi world I do have more created creatures but most of that world's story focuses on creatures and their relationship to the human stand in race I created. The animals aren't necessarily stand ins themselves, aside from the as-of-yet-unnamed-glow-in-the-dark-horses. It's really all about how you feel. If it's not all that important I'd say just stick with Earth names, I find that very rarely you're going to talk about such things anyway. I've never detailed the contents of a salad.


I chose to keep it vague for my current project, because I had this exact same “carrot” dilemma (seriously, it was about what to call carrots) Now, instead of carrots, celery, onions, etc I just call them aromatic/woodland vegetables. Instead of “a mix of black pepper, allspice, oregano and nutmeg” I just call it a “southwest spice rub”. I can get away with it because food isn’t really central to my story, and because how I describe them gets across the taste I want. Maybe have the characters in-story refer to it as the in-story name while the narrator’s pov calls it by its earth name?


If you change names, it should be to something that can determined in context. For example, in Anne McCaffrey's Pern, horses developed into something called runners, and cattle also changed and were called herdbeasts. Sounds different but close enough to work out the type of animal.


That was what I was thinking, with the "fieldgrazers" and all. Just wasn't sure how that came across these days.