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

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

    Hallo,

    I found this sentence in National Geographic's article about South Korea:

    To capture Seoul in all her glory, National Geographic photographer 'so-and-so' returned to the city four times...

    Why Seoul is feminine? Does this rule apply to all towns and cities? I can't see any logic in it. I understand that gender is a complicated category and has different nuances in different languages. But is there any rule regarding such examples as 'Seoul'? That is, could you use feminine with London, Berlin, etc.

    My 2nd question is "Is ship still feminine?". I found lots of information explaining why 'ship' is feminine in English, but is it still always feminine in modern day English?

    I believe it's better to ask actual speakers of present-day language to fully understand these points.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms
    Why Seoul is feminine? Does this rule apply to all towns and cities?
    I've just read an Edgar's Poe story in which a ship was only refereed as "she". Being curious I've found the following in the wikipedia
    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    The pronoun "she" is sometimes used to refer to things which can contain people such as countries, ships, or vehicles, or when referring to certain other machines. This, however, is considered a stylistically marked, optional figure of speech.
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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong using "it" here, both with cities and with ships. However, sometimes such things as cities or ships can be personified, which elevates them somewhat over all the other neuter items in the world. That may also happen with abstracts such as fate (which implies the goddess of Fate) or with language ("English as she is spoke" [sic]).
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    As wiki goes: This, however, is considered a stylistically marked, optional figure of speech. This usage is furthermore in decline and advised against by most journalistic style guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style. That's why i am asking present day speakers how they would say nowadays. E.A.Poe, of course, uses 'she' when he writes about ships (i also remember noticing this in his stories), but he is the 19th century writer.

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    "She" to refer to a ship or a place is more poetic, more sentimental. Chicago Manual of Style be damned, if you are talking about a place that you love, feel free to use "she". However, as bitpicker says, you'll never go wrong with using "it".

    I think most modern day speakers would normally use "it", unless they were particularly poetically-minded or had a particular affection for the place in question.
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    thanks UK, that's quite clear now.

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    E.A.Poe, of course, uses 'she' when he writes about ships (i also remember noticing this in his stories), but he is the 19th century writer.
    Actually he was a 19th century writer, not "the", as there were rather more than one.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker View Post
    Actually he was a 19th century writer, not "the", as there were rather more than one.
    i wanted to underscore the 19th century, not the word 'writer', meaning his language is not present-day. )) but the language of the 19th century.

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    i wanted to underscore the 19th century, not the word 'writer', meaning his language is not present-day. )) but the language of the 19th century.
    Oh, in that case it doesn't work like that at all. You have to write "he was a writer of/in the 19th century".
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    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    As wiki goes: This, however, is considered a stylistically marked, optional figure of speech. This usage is furthermore in decline and advised against by most journalistic style guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style. That's why i am asking present day speakers how they would say nowadays. E.A.Poe, of course, uses 'she' when he writes about ships (i also remember noticing this in his stories), but he is the 19th century writer.
    Argh! I was raised sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and we lived aboard for awhile here in Florida. No self-respecting sailor, then or now, calls a sailing craft anything but "she." Definitely not in decline amongst sailorfolk!

    Когда я была молодой, моя семья отправилась в плавание летом на Чесапикского залива. Мы жили на борту некоторое время, в Флориде. Нет морской волк все звонки ничего лодку, но "она". Конечно, не «сокращение» среди моряков.

    I cannot speak for motorboats or ships, although I have heard them called both "she" and "it."

    Я не могу говорить о катерах или кораблях, хотя я слышала, как называют их «она» и «он.»

    Sailing, though, has its own terminology in English. For example, there is only one rope on a sailboat: the bucket rope. All others are called lines. The lines that lift the sails are called halyards (also spelled halliards). The lines that steer the sails are called sheets. And, so forth.

    У паручного спорта есть своя терминология на англйиском языке. На пример, есть только одна веревка на паруснике: ведро веревкой. Все другие называются линиями (линия – не так ли?). Линии, что поднимает паруса называются фалы. Линии, что управлять паруса называются шкоты, и так далее.

    Is there a special vocabulary for sailing in Russian?

    Есть ли морская терминология на русском языке? (Думаю, что да!)
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    Not only boats, but "she" is often used to talk about cars. A guy who really loves his classic car will say, "she's a real beauty."

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred View Post
    Argh! I was raised sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and we lived aboard for awhile here in Florida. No self-respecting sailor, then or now, calls a sailing craft anything but "she." Definitely not in decline amongst sailorfolk!
    Когда я была молодой, я часто ходила в плавание летом по Чесапикскому заливу. Мы жили на борту некоторое время, во Флориде. Ни один морской волк не называл лодку никак иначе как "она". И уж тем более среди моряков. (I am not sure since I've not got the English sentence too.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred View Post
    I cannot speak for motorboats or ships, although I have heard them called both "she" and "it."
    Я не могу говорить о катерах или кораблях, хотя я слышала, как называют их «она» и «оно»

    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred View Post
    Sailing, though, has its own terminology in English. For example, there is only one rope on a sailboat: the bucket rope. All others are called lines. The lines that lift the sails are called halyards (also spelled halliards). The lines that steer the sails are called sheets. And, so forth.
    У парусного спорта есть своя терминология на англйиском языке. На пример, есть только одна веревка на паруснике: у ведра с веревкой. Все другие называются тросами (или канатами). Канаты, которыми поднимают паруса называются фалы. Канаты, которыми управляют парусами называются шкоты, и так далее.
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    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    Oh, CoffeeCup, thanks so much for taking the time to make corrections!!

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeCup View Post
    И уж тем более среди моряков. (I am not sure since I've not got the English sentence too.)
    This usage is furthermore in decline and advised against by most journalistic style guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style.
    "Definitely not in decline amongst sailorfolk!" - I am responding to the quote from the Chicago Manual here, which says that calling a boat "she" is declining, or, fading out, or, not being used as much. My comment is a sentence fragment, I'm saying that calling boats "she" is definitely not "in decline," i.e., definitely not "disappearing" or "lessening," wherever there are people who love sailing.

    I am also assuming that "морской волк," which translates as "sea wolf," or, "old salt," can be synonymous with "моряк," which I think translates as "mariner" or "sailor."

    So, I am not sure either about "И уж тем более среди моряков," I'm not familiar with the phrase "И уж тем более." Google translates it as "even more so among seamen," but that translator is often inaccurate. I am not looking for "even more," just "not."

    Hoping this isn't even more confusing. Translating this into Russian will take me 5 years, so please be patient....))))
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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred View Post
    "Definitely not in decline amongst sailorfolk!" - I am responding to the quote from the Chicago Manual here, which says that calling a boat "she" is declining, or, fading out, or, not being used as much. My comment is a sentence fragment, I'm saying that calling boats "she" is definitely not "in decline," i.e., definitely not "disappearing" or "lessening," wherever there are people who love sailing.
    Ok. In this case your sentence "Definitely not in decline amongst sailorfolk!" is "Такое обращение к лодкам, совершенно точно, не исчезнет среди моряков."
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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Oh 1 more thing I forgot to mention earlier - subject line should read "Why is Seoul feminine?" As you're asking a question, the word order changes (you've successfully done this with the second part of your question - "Is 'ship' always feminine?" is correct).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic_Duck View Post
    Oh 1 more thing I forgot to mention earlier - subject line should read "Why is Seoul feminine?" As you're asking a question, the word order changes (you've successfully done this with the second part of your question - "Is 'ship' always feminine?" is correct).
    thanks for this correction.

    I also wanted to apologize for that reference to Chicago Manual of Style (it appeared because i copied the full sentence as it appears in Wikipedia), which is a guide for American English writers and journalists (of course, i am fully aware of the difference between American and British English).

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    Heh, no need to apologise for it, I dare say it's a useful guide and tool for many purposes. However, it's never going to be a completely authoritative guide to a language as diverse as English, with so many different dialects and colloquial quirks. It's not as simple as "American English vs. British English" - either one of these terms can actually cover a wide variety of dialects (although "British English" is often taken to mean Received Pronunciation, a broad Scottish accent (which is still technically "British English" as Scotland is in Britain) is much further from RP than RP is from most dialects of American English).

    I think "she" would probably be just as common to describe a ship amongst American sailors as it is amongst English ones. But of course, this usage is still colloquial, so unlikely to be approved by style guides.
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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    This is from J.G. Ballard's "The wind from nowhere"
    Chin in one hand, Maitland leaned against the window, reading the flapping headlines on the newspaper stands.
    QUEEN MARY AGROUND NEAR CHERBOURG
    High Winds Hamper Rescue Launches
    A good number of would-be passengers who should have picked up the liner at Southampton had been at the airport, Maitland remembered, but she had been over a week late on her live-day crossing of the Atlantic, having met tremendous seas headwinds like a wall of steel. If they were actually trying to take off passengers, it looked as if the great ship was in serious trouble.
    Donald Maitland is a male character, who failed to depart from the London airport to Canada due to the incredible wind which have stopped all the flights. The question is what is "she" referring to: an airplane, the ferry "Queen Mary", the airport as a whole thing, Southampton port or anything else?
    Last edited by CoffeeCup; May 16th, 2011 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Upd: more context added
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker View Post
    Actually he was a 19th century writer, not "the", as there were rather more than one.
    And yet it would perfectly correct to write "E.A Poe, the 19th century writer, always used "she" when referring to ships."

    Ain't English fun...

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