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rhubarbodendron February 12 2013 02:21 PM

astronomical genders
In another thread we happened to stumble across the problem of astronomical objects having different genders.

Rhubarbodendron wrote: (Post 7673218)
Interesting that in both your languages both nouns are female. In German, Earth is female but the moon is male =)
And while in Italian (and in French, too, I believe) the sun is male, our German one is female :D


The Mirrorball Man wrote: (Post 7673230)
I think there are symbolic reasons why one would associate the moon with the female gender, but maybe it's just my linguistic bias showing.


iguana_tonante wrote: (Post 7673272)
Yeah, I've thought about it as well, and I think there must be some kind of climate-related reason at work here.

I rather think it has something to do with traditions and cultural connections (for example all former Roman provinces having the same system, all Celtic countries using another system.)

What's your opinion on this subject? Symbolic, climatical or cultural reasons? Or completely different ones?

What genders to sun, moon and earth have in your own language (and do you happen to know why?)

iguana_tonante February 12 2013 02:44 PM

Re: astronomical genders
As stated in the other thread, the Sun is male in Italian ("il Sole"), while the Earth and the Moon are female ("la Terra", "la Luna").

MacLeod February 12 2013 03:05 PM

Re: astronomical genders
But as English is the language of science, gender confusion isn't an issue. As pointed out above it only becomes an issue when it's translated to another language.

That isn't to say individual names for celestial bodies might be feminie or masculine in nature.

Asbo Zaprudder February 12 2013 08:03 PM

Re: astronomical genders
Yes, no gender in English apart from poetic imagery, which usually has mother Earth, sister Moon, father Sun, father time, and so on. Ships are also usually considered to be feminine, although I guess submarines must be male as they're full of seamen.

Nerys Ghemor February 12 2013 08:35 PM

Re: astronomical genders
Yeah, even in English we still get The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, despite words having no grammatical gender.

smiki February 13 2013 02:32 AM

Re: astronomical genders
In Serbian the Earth is female, the Sun is neutral and the Moon is male.

I believe this has more to do with random chance (and linguistic history and origin of the words and thus some patterns showing up) than anything else. :shrug:

rhubarbodendron February 13 2013 08:57 AM

Re: astronomical genders

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: (Post 7674619)
although I guess submarines must be male as they're full of seamen.

And they are torpedo-shaped... :D

Gul Re'jal February 13 2013 09:35 AM

Re: astronomical genders

smiki wrote: (Post 7676500)
In Serbian the Earth is female, the Sun is neutral and the Moon is male.

Same in Polish, another Slavic language. And in Russian too.

Gender is nothing more than the endings of words which assign them to a certain gender.

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