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Thread: What implies personification of transport?

  1. #1
    kib
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    What implies personification of transport?

    Why do people sometimes say "she" or "he" speaking about their cars, their ships or about a train? I actually do have an idea of the reason, but I don't know for sure. It would be nice, if you clear it up for me. Thanks in advance.
    Я изучаю английский язык и поэтому делаю много ошибок. Но я не прошу Вас исправлять их, Вы можете просто ткнуть меня носом в них, или, точнее, пихнуть их мне в глаза. I'm studying English, and that's why I make a lot of mistakes. But I do not ask you to correct them, you may just stick my nose into them or more exactly stick them into my eyes.
    Всё, что не делается, не всегда делается к лучшему
    Но так же не всегда всё, что не делается, не делается не к худшему. : D

  2. #2
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    hi,

    i asked the question about 'ship' here some time ago:

    Why Seoul is feminine? Is 'ship' always feminine?

  3. #3
    Hanna
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    That is because it is men who set the tone, so to speak. When they like something a lot, or they are very familiar with it, then they sometimes talk about it as if it was a woman. It is almost implicit that it is a man who is speaking, although women could speak this way if they wanted. It is not common to pretend that something is male, only female.

    Male sailors talk about their ship as "she". Ships (other than war ships) often have a female name.

    Same with cars, if it is a car that the man really likes. "Have you seen my 1962 Porche Boxter? Isn's she a beauty?"
    I saw a war film where the soldiers referred to their tank as "she" and had a female name for it. The tank was practically their home, and their life depended on it.

    Cities are sometimes also referred to as women, usually famous, beautiful cities - not ugly and unpleasant cities.

    For example "Paris, that eternal city of love and youth.... "She lies snugly among the green fields of the central plateau, by the river Seine... Her beauty is known around the world...." (PS - there are no fields near Paris, I just made that up! )

    I don't know why people refer to Seoul as "she" - apparently it's a very ugly and somewhat soulless city.
    Throbert McGee likes this.

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    As is often the case, our Swedish friend Hanna perfectly understands and explains English usage. The only points I would add:

    (1) While it's traditional to describe ships, cars, airplanes, science-fiction spaceships, etc., as "she"; and sometimes also cities and countries and churches, it's ALWAYS acceptable to use "it" instead. "She" is never обязательно when speaking about inanimate or abstract objects.

    (2) As Hanna said, it's not common to use "he" when talking about non-living things. However, note that in science fiction, robots with "human personalities" are most often "he", whether or not they physically resemble human males. For example, Commander Data from Star Trek is a "he", and so is C-3PO from Star Wars. But it might be less obvious that R2-D2 (who did not have a humanoid design, and spoke only in beeps) is also a "he", not a "she" or an "it". However, the "Evil Maria" robot from the film Metropolis, who inspired the design of C-3PO, was definitely a "she", because she had tits, and her name was "Maria"!


    "He"


    "He"


    "She" (on the left)


    Also "He", though for no logical reason...


    There are TWO robots here (the humanoid robot, and the disc-shaped robot that the humanoid robot carried like a кулон around "his" neck) -- and they're both "He"!

    P.S. However, I'm not sure whether Dr. Who fans would say that "The Dalek fired his weapon" or "The Dalek fired its weapon"!

  5. #5
    kib
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    Thanks a lot to everyone! Now I've got it.
    Я изучаю английский язык и поэтому делаю много ошибок. Но я не прошу Вас исправлять их, Вы можете просто ткнуть меня носом в них, или, точнее, пихнуть их мне в глаза. I'm studying English, and that's why I make a lot of mistakes. But I do not ask you to correct them, you may just stick my nose into them or more exactly stick them into my eyes.
    Всё, что не делается, не всегда делается к лучшему
    Но так же не всегда всё, что не делается, не делается не к худшему. : D

  6. #6
    Hanna
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    Throbert McGee.... by any chance are you a sci-fi fan?

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