What gender is your country?

Jordi   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 11:01 GMT
I hate typos and I've found a few in my previous mail. Too fast.
Easterner   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 11:36 GMT

Of course I think what you said is normal in your language, and any language that makes a grammatical distinction between masculine and feminine gender. However, I must disagree with your first statement. I have found a lot of documents where England or Britain or even other countries are referred to as "she" - here are some random examples from the Web (not exhaustive, of course):

"All over Britain her people are today busy preparing for a once-in-a-century event - a great National Festival." (http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/frames.shtml?http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/MOLsite/exhibits/festival/international.htm)
"England: Her People, Polity and Pursuits" (title of a book by Thomas Escott)
"Why were Britain and her Allies successful in defeating Germany in 1918?" (title of an essay: http://www.coursework.info/i/25016.html)

For other countries:

"Crimes of Communism against Ukraine and her people" (www.artukraine.com/commcrimes)

For planet Earth:

"The Changing the Face of the Earth campaign is a world-wide program to bring about a solution to the problems currently faced by this planet and her inhabitants." (krishna.org/ctfote)

I think it is quite common to refer to countries or the Earth in this way - the question for me is only if it is appropriate for any context or just when you want to create an emotionally charged atmosphere.
Jordi   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 11:48 GMT
Thank you and "emotionally charged atmosphere" is exactly what I meant by "poetic licence". I wasn't aware that it was used as often as you state for countries so I appreciate the references. Although I was brought up in Australia I hadn't realised the strong literary use of "feminine" gender to speak of the planet Earth and its countries.
I definitely have the feeling that it is done to create that particular atmosphere "of belonging" or "patriotism". The examples you set are very illustrative. Ukraine speaking of Ukraine, Brits speaking of Britain and Krishna speaking of the Earth. Do you see my point?
Easterner   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 17:49 GMT
Jordi, I see your point and basically agree with you. At times it may be the point to create a feeling of belonging or sympathy, and I don't think it it is a bad thing. On the other hand, from the postings I feel that here in Europe (Central and Eastern Europe at least) most people prefer to use a more neutral way of speking about their country, therefore they may find it better to use "it" instead of "she" in English.
Damian   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 19:10 GMT
I would like to hear how French people refer to their lovely country in this gender topic...I mean, I have already mentioned "La Belle France". I can't help it, but in my mind I think of France as being deliciously feminine, and not an "it" at all! I can't relate to things French in gender neutral terms. As I have said in previous postings the French language positively exudes sexuality. It would be the same as calling it an hermaphrodite....but is that not the same line you guys have been taking...sort of?

"The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay,
I heard the laughter of her heart in every street cafe".

"France...you can't but help love this land...she has taught us six hundred and eighty five ways to cook eggs."
Jordi   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 20:14 GMT
<< her heart was warm and gay

That's a funny one, Damian, since "gay" doesn't mean exactly what it originally did when the song was written. You know, speaking of hermaphoditism... :-)
Easterner   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 20:26 GMT

Sorry, I'm not French (though a lover of French culture), but when I read something in French, I also imagine a woman saying it much more than a man. I would not like to cathegorize the country but the language is definitely "feminine". Same for most Romance languages, except perhaps Spanish. I have much the same feeling with Czech or Polish, while on the other hand in German a man seems to be standing behind each sentence :-). Of course this is subjective, but I think languages do carry such associations for everybody... Mais écoutons aussi les Francais!
Random Chappie   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 21:47 GMT
It's easier for me to visualise a woman speaking Russian than a man. As for French, it's easier for me to visualise a man speaking the language.

I have an odd tendency to "soften" stereotypically male characteristics by associating them with modern-day young girls (for instance, bossy junior school girls bullying their male classmates) and to "de-feminise" stereotypically female characteristics by associating them with young boys from a bygone era (for instance, Dickens' timid schoolboys). An odd tendency indeed.
Samuel.   Sunday, August 01, 2004, 22:41 GMT
Good! the name of my country is masculine (the Mejico) republic of Me-
Mexico but when we talk about land we're talking about feminine,because
we're talking about land (the land).
In my country we use motherland.
Damian   Monday, August 02, 2004, 07:40 GMT
<<her heart was warm and gay,>>


I didn't know those words came from a song. I looked up a book of quotations and saw under the heading "France" several entries using the feminine gender in reference to the country which I thought were appropriate to use in this thread and to try and validate my comment.

<<You know, speaking of hermaphoditism... :-)>>

LOL. I guess "gay" meant something different when that song was written, but to be honest I don't think there is any connection at all between being gay (homosexual) and hermaphroditism!
Jordi   Monday, August 02, 2004, 07:58 GMT
You're right but you should know that according to legend "mankind" had originally only one sex. It suits both homosexual and heterosexual theories and cases who see in this a search for the lost half, as far as pleasure and not reproduction is concerned.
Since hemaphrodites have both sexes they would be nearer the original human being.
Do you see the connection now?
Regarding the song it's a Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein 1941 song. This song was written early in World War II at a time when the long-term future of the city was very much in doubt; the wistful lyric acknowledges that "the Paris" the world had known might never again exist. I know the tune and can whistle it.
There is also a 1954 film called the "last time I saw Paris" with Liz Taylor, Van Johnson, Donna Reed and Eva Gabor...
I love musicals and 1930s/1950s pictures. I already did when I was a young boy so I've always been that strange.
I dedicate this to the English brat who pops up in threads from time to time unaware that Antimoon is made up of quite a cosmopolitan crowd, something he will never be.
By the way Damian:
Oh you'll take the high road
and I'll take the low
and I'll be in Scotland afore ye...
I learnt that one in the school choir in Australia ages ago and I've sung it ever since when I'm in that special fast car mood.
Damian   Monday, August 02, 2004, 14:06 GMT

I admire your choirmaster's/mistress's choice of song for you to sing! ;-) Too late though....I'm a'ready here, if not by yon bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond...I'm too far east....actually, not far from the banks of the Firth of Forth. Go up our road to the top of the brae and you can see the tops of the towers of the Forth rail bridge in the middle distance. When ye do arrive ye'll have some tae 'n' bannocks hot from the griddle. Bye the noo......
Feech   Tuesday, August 03, 2004, 14:07 GMT
Ireland is feminine.

She'd want to be, having spent centuries being fucked by Britain!
Damian   Tuesday, August 03, 2004, 15:20 GMT
True...now she is a free spirit yet still HER sons and daughters flock across the Irish sea to the land of their former oppressors. Go to the Camden Town district of London and you would think you were in a suburb of Dublin...begorrah! ;-)
Jordi   Tuesday, August 03, 2004, 16:54 GMT
Wasn't it said in this forum that both Britain and Ireland are beautiful women, called Britannia and Eire? if ever there was a dominatrix relationship beween these two fair ladies I have the feeling they had a divorce back in 1917, which is a while back and they do occasionally send their children and grandchildren to visit each other. All very civilised and it should remain as it is. Although, I would say they both share the same male lover on the other side of the pong. Is that called a ménage à trois? Although it could also be a case of infamous bigamy with the beau having a good time with both of them.
Nevertheless, as happens with many ladies who've had a rampant affair, they seem to have similar tastes although diffferent accents. Anyway, they're still arguing about a plot of land that's definitely on one corner of one island and not on the other and that is far bigger than Camden Town.