Ships as "she"
Posted by ESC on January 05, 2003
In Reply to: She posted by R. Berg on January 05, 2003
: : Hello!
: : I'm a young researcher interested in the topic of gender and language. I know that in English the pronoun "she" could be referred to ships and cars. The conceptual analysis of the she-category brought me an unusual idea about the she-reference.
: : The analysis showed that there are at least six cognitive metaphors in the conceptual system that make us believe ships are feminine:
: : 1. SHIP IS PREGANANT WOMAN
: : 2. SHIP IS ATTRACTIVE WOMAN
: : 3. BAPTIZM OF SHIP IS BAPTIZM OF HUMAN BEING
: : 4. DECOMISSIONING OF SHIP IS DEATH
: : 5. SHIP'S BODY IS HUMAN BODY
: : 6. SHIP'S MOVEMENTS ARE BODY MOVEMENTS
: : The most prominent one is the first metaphor that can also be traced in cars. Ships, cars and women are "containers" that carry a load in themselves and finaly deliver it. Also ships and mothers secure the life of the load. The load is viewed as something precious.
: : These results of the analysis are so unusual that I want to put them on the agenda here looking forward to hearing your opinion.
: : Sincerely yours,
: : Roman Korolenko
: We tossed this one around a bit. See discussion at link below (https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/10/messages/142.html).
SHIPS AS 'SHE' - "Many people wonder why a ship is referred to as a 'she.' The explanation is that it was customary in early days to dedicate a ship to a goddess, under whose protection she sailed. The ship carried the diety's carved image on her bow not as a decoration, as later generations imagined, but as an aid to finding the way." From "How Did it Begin?" by R. Brasch (Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1969).