What gender is your country?

Jordi   Tuesday, August 03, 2004, 16:57 GMT
"Pond" and not "pong" although I've checked that a pong is an unpleasant smell, a very informal word used in British English. Let us say the Atlantic hasn't reached that stage yet.
Deer38   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 02:22 GMT
Feech that was funny, and I really sorry it for your country.
Pierre   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 19:51 GMT
France is Gay
kikey   Friday, August 06, 2004, 11:13 GMT
Indonesia Has no gender, ........poor me !
Damian   Friday, August 06, 2004, 16:01 GMT
<<Indonesia Has no gender, ........poor me !>>

Aaaw...poor Indonesia...neither one nor t'other! Think positive and have the best of both worlds.

Do you think there is any doubt about OMAN and YEMEN? :)
Feech   Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 07:33 GMT
"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! ;-)"

Well, seeing as no-one in Ireland says begorrah....

Free? Small matter of the military occupation of 6 counties to be dealt with first Damian!!!

Nevertheless, Ireland's contribution to the modern UK is sizable.

Xatufan   Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 16:57 GMT
The land where you were born = patria (in Spanish)

It is a femenine word, but it comes from pater (Latin word, it means father)
Easterner,   Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 17:44 GMT
Xatufan and all,

Based on what you say, people from most countries perceive their country as "female" (be it due to grammatical gender or to sentiment, as is the case with Britain or Ireland). German is a notable exception ("Vaterland", the linguistic gender is neuter, but the sentiment is that of a strong father - much in the ancient Roman tradition). And it has also struck me that in many languages the word itself is of feminine gender, but there is also the idea of a father behind it (as in Spanish, Russian, Polish or Croatian). In Hungary, where the language has no grammatical gender at all, the idea is definitely that of a mother. Maybe this is more typical of countries where the idea of the country was traditionally identified more with the land than with the nation - this has been definitely true for Hungary, and also for France (where officially everybody living within the "hexagone" is perceived as French, though linguistically or culturally this is not true). These are of course just plays of the mind, not statements aiming at scientific accuracy :-). And of course this doesn't mean that countries can be grouped according to male or female stereotypes. However, I do think that the female stereotype is consciously used most of the time to create the idea of belonging in the masses, especially in crisis.

By the way, I find it funny that although there have been several threads dealing with Germany, I have not encountered any German contributors. Anybody met somebody from Germany on this forum?
Jordi   Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 19:52 GMT
Dear Easterner,
I think the Germans are now busy learning Hungarian ;-)
nic   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 07:28 GMT
Damian, you said : "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?"

France is as you know feminine, la mère patrie, as said Jordi, it's something related to patriotism in the past. Soldats, vous êtes tous les fils de la France, votre mère patrie!

About these expressions like "la belle France", i think it's outdated, it makes me think about Charlrs Trenet's songs. These kind of douce France, belle France, vive la France are no more used today. New generations are very differerent from their "grand parents"
Criostóir   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 08:14 GMT
Interesting question, the gender of a country - that depends on how different languages work.

In German, virtually every land is neuter gender or it's plural, where gender no longer matters gramatically. Sometimes it is clear why - Deutschland, Russland, Island - the word "Land" in German is a neuter word. "Reich", or kingdom, is also neuter, hence "Frankreich" for France. Other countries end in -ien, like "Italien", "Belgien", "Spanien" etc. Some countries are also plural in form: die Niederlanden (Netherlands), die Emiraten (the Arab Emirates), and notably die Vereinigten Staaten (the United States - yes, it's correct in German to say the United States are, not is). A very few countries are feminine - die Schweiz (Switzerland), die Türkei (Turkey), die Tschechei/die Slowakei (Czech Republic/Slovakia).

As far as I know, most countries in Irish are feminine. This is easily seen in that language, as most countries also always take the definite article - one speaks of "the England" or "the France", and feminine nouns in Irish are lenited after the definite article in the nominative. A few examples:

Éire - Ireland (a notably exception in the nominative!)
genitive = na hÉireann

an Fhrainc - France
genitive = na Fraince

an Íoslainn = Iceland (a masculine noun would prefix a t- to the noun)
genitive = na hÍoslainne

United States of America = na Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá.

And then again, as Easterner well knows as a speaker of Hungarian, some languages do not use gender as a marker at all. Finnish is like this as well, so one doesn't think about that at all.

Finland - Suomi
Sweden - Ruotsi
Russia - Venäjä
Germany - Saksa
France - Ranska
England - Englanti
Nic   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 08:36 GMT
In french Germany "l'Allemagne" is feminine but le Mexique is maculine, it depends of the country. But there's not neutral, it's all the time masculine or feminine even Niederland "Les pays bas".
nic   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 08:53 GMT
and sometimes it can be masculine in 1 case "les pays bas" but feminine on an other case like "La Hollande" which is the same country.
Criostóir   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 09:38 GMT
The French names for parts of Canada vary:

British Columbia = La Colombie-Britannique
Alberta = l'Alberta (f)
Manitoba = le Manitoba (m)
Saskatchewan = le Saskatchewan (m)
Ontario = l'Ontario (m)
Quebec = le Québec (m)
regions within Québec: la Gaspésie, l'Acadie (f), les Cantons-de-l'Est [Eastern Townships in English, masc.]
New Brunswick = Nouveau-Brunswick (m)
Nova Scotia = Nouvelle-Écosse (f)
Prince Edward Island = Île-de-Prince-Edward (m)
Newfoundland = Terre-Neuve (f)
Labrador = le Labrador (m)
Nunavut = le Nunavut (m)
Northwest Territories = les Territoires du nord-est (m)
Yukon = le Yukon (m)

and lest we forget...

le Canada (m)
Criostóir   Wednesday, August 11, 2004, 09:40 GMT
C'était ma faute - bien sûr, l'île est un nom féminin!