Author Topic: Почему корабль по-английски she?  (Read 3139 times)

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Offline Igelkott

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Раньше в английском, да и сейчас иногда корабль обозначался местоимением she. Почему так вышло, ведь в древнеанглийском это слово было среднего рода? Посмотрел в интернете - увидел разные версии.

Offline ameshavkin

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Причины чисто культурные, лингвистика здесь ни при чем.

Offline mail

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наверно от того, что большинство кораблей носят женские имена

Online Hellerick

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То же самое с названиями стран, например, England была среднего рода в древнем языке и обозначалась как she в позднем.

Наверное, это было характерно для "условно одушивляемых" слов.

Online zwh

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Anthropomorphism is also used with some vehicles such as cars and boats. Some people refer to their car as 'she', while sailors commonly refer to ships as 'she'. This use of 'she' with some cars and boats is probably due to the intimate relationship people have with these objects. Many people spend hours with their cars, while sailors can spend most of their lives aboard ships. They develop a personal relationship with these objects and give them human traits: anthropomorphism.

I've had my car for ten years. She's part of the family.
The ship was launched twenty years ago. She's sailed around the world.
Tom's in love with his car. He says she's his soul mate!


In formal English, especially in older written publications nations are often referred to with the feminine 'she'. Most people use 'it' in modern times. However, it's still quite common to come across the use of 'she' in more formal, academic or sometimes patriotic settings. For example, some patriotic songs in the USA contain feminine references. The use of 'she', 'her' and 'hers' is common when speaking about a country someone loves.

Ah France! Her bountiful culture, welcoming people and amazing cuisine always call me back!
Old England. Her strength shines through any test of time.
(from Song) ... bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her ...

Еще на прикольное объяснение наткнулся:

OK, there seem to be three issues floating through the above posts:

1.) Modern English has no sex assigned to inanimate/nonhuman objects. All are "it." (But, see the last point for some tradition.)

2.) Cats and dogs are known by the sex of the individual animal. An unknown animal may be referred to as "it":
"Some cat has been using my child's sandbox as a toilet! When I find who it belongs to . . ."

More recently, and especially if one is not irritated, there has been an increasing tendency to refer to companion animals (mostly cats and dogs) the same way one refers to humans: if the sex is unknown, most will use "he" as the generic. As far as I am aware, formal grammar rules have not changed and would specify the neutral pronoun.

Some people feel cats are more feminine by nature and dogs more masculine (I don't personally see this), but that is a separate issue from pronoun usage.

3.) Ships are historically referred to as "she". Technically, this applies to big ships, not rowboats:
"The rowboat is in the boat house, but it needs a new coat of paint before . . ."

A named ship is apt to be referred to / properly referred to as "she" and this is true whether the name of the ship is feminine or masculine.

It is usually claimed this is so because "A ship is so expensive to keep in paint and powder" (paint is obvious; the reference was supposedly originally to naval ships and the powder was gun powder). Some trace this to Henry the Navigator, who supposedly said all his ships were female, regardless of the ship's name. Other than an oft-repeated story, I am unaware of any evidence for Henry.

There is also the (stronger, to my mind) possibility that this is a hold-over from old English (Old English), which was more Germanic in nature than Modern English and did retain the use of feminine and masculine on the occasional inanimate.

Cars, and sometimes other forms of transportation and sometimes other large equipment (usually that operated by males) may also be referred to as "she" though there is no formal tradition as there is with ships. - Try calling a naval or commercial ship "it" to the crew and you'd best be prepared to run. (exaggeration alert)

Оттуда же:

For reasons unknown to me, computers have always been referred to as "he". Probably due to their tendency to be obtuse.

So, English is gender neutral, right? But I always see that in reality it is not that simple. People never say "it" about their pets, but either "she" or "he" instead. People also can say about a bird, "He is so beautiful!" Or about an alligator, "He is so mean, he can eat people if he gets hungry and no food available."
I once chased off a wasp from under the roof of the porch. A friend commented, "He will be back. Pissed off."

So, I suppose, the rule about gender is flexible: it depends on how significant is the subject. I remember a joke: someone else's cat is "it", but mine is "she".

All machinery is "she" as in women.
[1} They are expensive to run.
{2} Expensive to maintain.
[3] The older they get the harder they are to start.
[4] They fail to operate at the most inconvenient times.
Could keep going but I think you get the gist! :-)

> objects tend to be it unless there is an emotional connection.

Living things, it tells quite a lot about a person what they use. Everyone uses he or she for their pets, and maybe for other peoples pets, guessing the gender or assigning one from their past experience.

We could add any other animal besides a cat or dog as something we are emotionally attached to. Especially if it is named. What first comes to mind is horses. If you've got a horse called Thor, obviously a stud, I'm sure you'd use "he". It's the emotional connection as thar says. "It" seems rather cold and distant.

When it comes to other animals it gets more interesting. I would look much more kindly on someone who called a whale, a crocodile, an ant, a rat - he or she, showing respect and empathy for living creatures, than someone who uses it.

I agree, but I prefer to know the gender first. That said, once a stuffed animal in our house gets an name, it gets a gender.

The idea of assigning a sex to an inanimate object comes from when sailor worship goddesses of the sea for a safe voyage. They saw the sea and their ships and the sea as being female in nature or fickle and capricious this transferred to cars and trains so that any machine is referred to as having female characteristics in Northern Europe the idea is opposite so in Scandinavia Germany and Russia Ships are referred to as having male characteristics. Or you can have a language where inanimate object are neuter. Personally all machines are female to ma.


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