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Old February 12 2013, 02:21 PM   #1
Rhubarbodendron
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Location: milky way, outer spiral arm, Sol 3
astronomical genders

In another thread we happened to stumble across the problem of astronomical objects having different genders.
Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
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
The Mirrorball Man wrote: View Post
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: View Post
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?)
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Old February 12 2013, 02:44 PM   #2
iguana_tonante
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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").
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Old February 12 2013, 03:05 PM   #3
MacLeod
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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.
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Old February 12 2013, 08:03 PM   #4
Asbo Zaprudder
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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.
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Old February 12 2013, 08:35 PM   #5
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: astronomical genders

Yeah, even in English we still get The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, despite words having no grammatical gender.
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Old February 13 2013, 02:32 AM   #6
smiki
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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.
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Old February 13 2013, 08:57 AM   #7
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: astronomical genders

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
although I guess submarines must be male as they're full of seamen.
ouch!
And they are torpedo-shaped...
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Old February 13 2013, 09:35 AM   #8
Gul Re'jal
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Re: astronomical genders

smiki wrote: View Post
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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