Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: George J. Smith, Google [Bot] and 6 guests

Why do we refer to our ships as SHE

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:21 am

Weird Harold
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 4320
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:25 pm
Location: "Lost Wages", NV

Bill Woods wrote:
Weird Harold wrote:Tradition!

The ad that came with that, for the Purple™ seat cushion ... oy!
I wasn't sure whether it was a joke or a real product. Apparently both.


Unfortunately, I can't do anything about the ads, but that scene was the first thing that came to mind re: the OP's question.
.
.
.
Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by Annachie   » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:14 am

Annachie
Admiral

Posts: 2436
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:36 pm

Basically.

While English has lost most of the verb/noun gender declinations etc of it's proto Germanic origins, ships are one of the few that have stayed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are so going to die. :p ~~~~ runsforcelery
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
still not dead. :)
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by isaac_newton   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:54 am

isaac_newton
Captain of the List

Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:37 am
Location: Brighton, UK

phillies wrote:Because we speak English.

English going back to the original Saxon started with more gendered nouns, but still has a few gendered nouns left. "ship" is one of them. In at least one dialect spoken in England "stone" (as in "rock") is another.

roseandheather wrote:Because Reasons.

Any questions? :lol:


hmmm - never knew that. Out of interest, which dialect[s]
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by phillies   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:46 am

phillies
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1810
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:43 am
Location: Worcester, MA

isaac_newton wrote:
phillies wrote:Because we speak English.

English going back to the original Saxon started with more gendered nouns, but still has a few gendered nouns left. "ship" is one of them. In at least one dialect spoken in England "stone" (as in "rock") is another.



hmmm - never knew that. Out of interest, which dialect[s]


Alas, it was 60 years ago that I learned this. While the county where this grammatical feature was named, I do not remember the name.
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by robert132   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:29 pm

robert132
Captain of the List

Posts: 580
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:20 pm

Dauntless wrote:don't the Russians and Chinese use HE as the pronoun of choice for their ships?


I'm not certain about the Chinese or other oriental cultures but the Russians refer to their warships in the male sense, as "He," war is traditionally man's domain after all.

Their merchantmen for the most part are referred to in the feminine, "She."

Westerners like the French, British and, of course us "colonists" pretty much refer to all ships in the feminine.

USN retired.
****

Just my opinion of course and probably not worth the paper it's not written on.
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by The E   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:07 pm

The E
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1980
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 1:28 pm
Location: Bielefeld, Germany

Gustav Lindemann, Captain of the WW2 battleship Bismarck, was very insistent that Bismarck was male.

German is an interesting language in that regard: "Schlachtkreuzer" (Battlecruisers) as a classification are male (i.e. "der Schlachtkreuzer"; this extends to every variant of Cruiser/"Kreuzer"), "Schlachtschiffe" (Battleships) are neutrums (as are all "Schiffe"), "Fregatten" (Frigates) and "Korvetten" (Corvettes) are female.

But here's the trick: Individual ships are female. FGS Nordrhein-Westfalen will invariably referred to as "die Nordrhein-Westfalen" or "die Fregatte Nordrhein-Westfalen"
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by Dauntless   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:28 pm

Dauntless
Commodore

Posts: 890
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:54 pm
Location: United Kingdom

robert132 wrote:
I'm not certain about the Chinese or other oriental cultures but the Russians refer to their warships in the male sense, as "He," war is traditionally man's domain after all.

Their merchantmen for the most part are referred to in the feminine, "She."

Westerners like the French, British and, of course us "colonists" pretty much refer to all ships in the feminine.

USN retired.


interesting.

thanks
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by thanatos   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:57 pm

thanatos
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:29 pm
Location: United States

All nouns in Hebrew have a masculine and feminine tense that changes the way one refers to given objects. And the word for ship or vessel in Hebrew is "ספינה" (Sfina) and "אוניה" (Oniya) which are both feminine-tense words. I'm pretty sure that's the case in Arabic and other Semitic languages, which are some of the oldest on the planet. So I think the reason goes much further back - etymological reasons that made their way into mariner traditions thousands of years ago.
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by ldwechsler   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:42 pm

ldwechsler
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1068
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 12:15 pm

thanatos wrote:All nouns in Hebrew have a masculine and feminine tense that changes the way one refers to given objects. And the word for ship or vessel in Hebrew is "ספינה" (Sfina) and "אוניה" (Oniya) which are both feminine-tense words. I'm pretty sure that's the case in Arabic and other Semitic languages, which are some of the oldest on the planet. So I think the reason goes much further back - etymological reasons that made their way into mariner traditions thousands of years ago.



I believe, and I am going back over a half century to my college days, that at least some of the boats in Homer's work were "she's".

That might have been a peculiarity of the translation I was reading.
Top
Re: Why do we refer to our ships as SHE
Post by ldwechsler   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:46 pm

ldwechsler
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1068
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 12:15 pm

ldwechsler wrote:
thanatos wrote:All nouns in Hebrew have a masculine and feminine tense that changes the way one refers to given objects. And the word for ship or vessel in Hebrew is "ספינה" (Sfina) and "אוניה" (Oniya) which are both feminine-tense words. I'm pretty sure that's the case in Arabic and other Semitic languages, which are some of the oldest on the planet. So I think the reason goes much further back - etymological reasons that made their way into mariner traditions thousands of years ago.



I believe, and I am going back over a half century to my college days, that at least some of the boats in Homer's work were "she's".

That might have been a peculiarity of the translation I was reading.


Also, there were entreaties to goddesses for protection and some romantics say that they were called she because they carried human lives.
Top

Return to Honorverse