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Thread: Is the ship a 'she'?

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    Senior Member Lexoplast's Avatar
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    Is the ship a 'she'?

    There is a tradition of referring to ships and boats of any size as "she". Some argue that it is anachronistic, even insulting towards women (see, for instance, The Guardian). I find it pointless and confusing, like a purposeless exception to a rule.

    What do you think? Would you still say "the boat and her crew" in a contract or a court document? And does "its crew" sound wrong to you?

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    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    These objections contributed to the decision by the National Weather Service to discontinue its practice of identifying hurricanes solely by women's names.
    The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style (2005)
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Βρε, θα περάσει κι αυτό!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

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    Super Moderator Alexandra's Avatar
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    Μια χαρά μού φαίνεται το "its crew".
    Μένω Ευρώπη
    Keys of change

  4. #4
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    I asked around re this usage and found that the tradition of referring to a ship as 'she' is alive and well. People will still say 'the ship and her crew', esp. if they have an affinity for the vessel: if, for instance, a member of the crew is talking about the ship. The vessel may be called 'Bruce' and still be referred to as 'Bruce and her crew.'

    The tradition is gender-based, but the amount of sexism brought into it depends on individual bias & intentionality. One may refer to a vessel as 'she' because one believes 'she' must be treated right. Or because one has thrown a lot of money at 'her', the implication being that women are extravagant.

    I was thinking about this tradition while watching "Ford v. Ferrari", where Ken Miles (Christian Bale) repeatedly refers to his car as 'girl'.

    That said, 'a ship & its crew' is perfectly acceptable, probably even preferable. Personally, I wouldn't use 'her' in an official document.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dharvatis's Avatar
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    Ενδιαφέρον άρθρο για το θέμα:

    Metaphorical Gender in English: Feminine Boats, Masculine Tools and Neuter Animals

    Seafarers, historians and writers alike provide various reasons for the tradition of calling ships she, ranging from viewing a vessel as a motherly, womb-like, life-sustaining figure to jokingly likening a ship to a woman who is expensive to keep and needs a man to guide her and a lick of paint to look good. Some view the practice as outdated and patronizing toward women, while others view it as an important tradition and a sign of respect toward the vessel.
    ...
    Just as we have abandoned feminine pronouns for hurricanes, and as the explicit mention of gender (when irrelevant) and gender stereotypes become increasingly criticized, many institutions have begun referring to ships as neuter entities. The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.) as well as the style guides for the Associated Press and the New York Times recommend treating ships as neuter. However, the Royal Navy and the US Navy continue to refer to ships using both she and it. In general, feminizing and masculinizing inanimate objects is considered outdated or poetic in English, and the practice is discouraged in official documents, newspapers and other formal contexts.
    Life is an aberration; it appears under unusual conditions, where there is an abnormal amount of resources, and then proceeds to expand and evolve, consuming those resources until eventually it dies away, leaving behind only bare rock and empty soda cans.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    Ωραία ερώτηση, που μας επιτρέπει να κάνουμε προεκτάσεις.

    Τι ονόματα δίνουμε στα άψυχα (εργαλεία, μηχανήματα κ.ο.κ.); Δηλαδή πώς τα αισθανόμαστε, από τη στιγμή που τα ανθρωποποιούμε;

    Για αρχή, ξεκινώ από τα βάθη της ιστορίας: Athenian trireme names

    Λύκαινα
    Αύρα
    Αμφιτρίτη
    Μέλιττα
    Αχίλλεια
    Σαλαμινία
    Ελευθερία
    Ηγησώ
    Νικησώ
    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dharvatis's Avatar
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    There calls the mariner
    There comes a ship over the line
    But how can she sail with no wind in her sails and no tide
    See, onward she comes
    Onward she nears out of the sun
    See, she has no crew
    She has no life, wait but here's two
    Life is an aberration; it appears under unusual conditions, where there is an abnormal amount of resources, and then proceeds to expand and evolve, consuming those resources until eventually it dies away, leaving behind only bare rock and empty soda cans.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    Εγώ αναφέρομαι και στα μωρά ως it και με αγριοκοιτάζουν οι Άγγλοι γιατί όλα τα μωρά είναι she.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Earion's Avatar
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    Όχι μόνο τα πλοία (της θάλασας) αλλά και τα πλοία του αέρα (αερόπλοια και αεροσκάφη).

    Why are airplanes called ‘she’?

    Ερώτηση:
    What is the reason that airplanes in English have a female gender?
    Απαντήσεις:
    Much of aviation has a history in nautical terms, lore... and law.
    Aircraft, like ships, can evoke a fair amount of affection on the part of the aircrew, or ship's crew.


    What is the gender of an aircraft?

    If an aircraft is given a gender, it is normally female, along the same lines as for ships and for much the same reasons (complex creatures with very fickle attitudes toward their men, that are nonetheless objects of affection).

    The anthropomorphism of aircraft is rarer than for ships, but still very common especially in the military, where bombers and even fighter aircraft have traditionally been given a name and "nose art" for good luck (more commonly as simply something for the lonely pilots and ground crew to ogle). The bigger the plane, the more likely it is to be anthropomorphized. Race cars are also anthropomorphized by their drivers from time to time.

    Άλλο πληροφορία, άλλο γνώση· άλλο βία, άλλο δύναμη.

  10. #10
    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    Με εξαίρεση τους δρόνους, π.χ.

    This is a small sized professional drone. It has a 4k camera and very stable flight. It has collision avoidance. It can also fly using hand gestures and has face recognition technology.
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    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Βρε, θα περάσει κι αυτό!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

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