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#113740 - 10/15/03 01:37 PM The Gender of Nations  
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Scilla Offline
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Why are nations assigned genders? Why are most English as first language speaking countries female? Whay aer others male?
I am extremely curious about this. Please tell me!


#113741 - 10/15/03 01:46 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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La belle France? La Argentina? ¿La España? Das Deutschland?



#113742 - 10/15/03 03:40 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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maahey Offline
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Maybe because she is your motherland! The feminine provokes more fidelity, I suppose; 'Breathes there a man with soul so dead....' and all!
But seriously, I have no idea why "mother"-land, but have enough time today to search.


#113743 - 10/15/03 05:17 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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But the Germans say 'Fatherland.' (nice to see you, maahey!)

I'm not quite sure I understand what you're driving at, Scilla. What is your target language? I mean, in English, country names, and nouns in general, have no gender anymore.


#113744 - 10/15/03 05:40 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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the Germans say 'Fatherland.'

True, but Vaterland is neuter, in't it then?


#113745 - 10/15/03 09:01 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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JohnHawaii Offline
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And then there's Mother Russia (mats rossiya).


#113746 - 10/15/03 09:05 PM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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what about hienmat? (homeland?) i've heard this is a more common word that is used by germans to speak of germany.

i can't think of any names used in US for the land.. (the are some 'land where our fathers died..' but very few with the idea of father land or motherland..
there is 'down east' in main, and 'old home' (used up and down the east coast.(my M-I-L's family in Northern NE uses Old home to speak of the area, and there is the song "my old kentucky home" and a whisky (tennessie?) called 'old home'...

cathleen has been used in ireland as a 'code word' for ireland. (when english laws made it a crime to express patriotism, love songs sung to 'cathleen' were patriot songs...)


#113747 - 10/16/03 01:51 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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maahey Offline
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Thanks AnnaS! The feeling is entirely mutual!
Well, I searched a little bit, but returned home empty-handed. Rather than fidelity, (which I really was only joking with), fertility is probably at the heart of the matter. The country that you are *born in, being the motherland. Fatherland, got me thinking....In Sanskrit , 'mathrubhoomi' is motherland and means the land that you are born in, whilst 'pithrubhoomi', means the land of your ancestors. FWTW

(mathruh - mother/ pithruh - father/ bhoomi - land).


#113748 - 10/16/03 04:55 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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wsieber Offline
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country names, and nouns in general, have no gender anymore. Yet, talking of France, or Italy, you invariably use the pronoun "she". - Do you ever say "they" for the U.S.A.?



#113749 - 10/16/03 10:10 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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Heimat is feminine.


#113750 - 10/16/03 10:25 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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Alex Williams Offline
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When speaking of France or Italy I would use the pronoun "it."

cathleen has been used in ireland as a 'code word' for ireland. (when english laws made it a crime to express patriotism, love songs sung to 'cathleen' were patriot songs...)

That's very interesting. Thank!


#113751 - 10/16/03 11:07 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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>When speaking of France or Italy I would use the pronoun "it."

I use "it" of most countries, including NZ. I use "she" of the UK, because of Britannia, and occasionally use "she" of China, but normally, I don't assign a specific sex, or gender for that matter, to countries.


#113752 - 10/16/03 11:11 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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Re:Do you ever say "they" for the U.S.A.?

These or the "Life in these United States" or "Life in the US" (said U-S).


#113753 - 10/18/03 05:42 AM Re: The Gender of Nations  
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I think Max has got it about right. If you are referring to a symbol of a country - Britannia, for instance, for Britain, and perhaps Liberty for France, you would use the feminine gender and appropriate apronouns. But otherwise ... nada. They're it, so to speak.


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