Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 07:57:17 -0800 From: Dan Moonhawk Alford Subject: Re: why are ships referred to as she (fwd) I have a buddy who's an old salt, and one of my specialties has been animacy in English pronouns for quite a while, so here goes: For whatever reason (probably lack of females on board and the sea herself being called she), ships are indeed SHE -- but only as long as they are 'in use'; as soon as a military ship is decommissioned, it goes back to being called 'it'. Therefore the animacy itself has to do with the animate activity going on, and the 'she' is dependent on a functional context. On Mon, 29 Jan 1996, Benjamin Barrett wrote: > >One of our area libraries directed this question to us which we have not > > been > >very successful in answering. Apparently a class has been given the > >assignment of finding out why ships and boats are referred to as SHE. > >We have looked in all sorts of ship and sea lore books but all we can find > >is, yes they are referred to as SHE. Any information and sources as to why > >sailing vessels are spoken of in the female gender would be appreciated. > > Nothing but a guess here. I always thought it was because sailors were male > and they always talked about being married to the sea, etc, etc. I guess it > could be the other way around, though it seems less likely. > > I also have so no particular reason, perhaps, that mother country is the > reason we refer(red) to countries as she also. > > yoroshiku > Benjamin Barrett >