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  #1  
Old June 08, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Death

I have always wondered why Death is a she in Spanish and a he in English. Any ideas?
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Old June 08, 2008, 03:21 PM
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It is most likely because of the language roots we stem from. The romance tongues use a feminine article (where there is an article). The non-romance tongues generally assign a masculine quality, or personification, to death. English, as you know, does not have the concept of masculine, feminine, or neuter words, but we personify a couple of nouns, like cars, ships, and death.

Cars, ships, the earth, mother nature, tempests, and other words are all feminine.
Examples:
She's a beautiful car/ship. The storm was fierce; she packed a mighty punch. The earth, with her 10,000 flowers ...

Death is masculine. Other words are, too, but I can't think of any right now.

Last edited by Rusty; June 08, 2008 at 03:28 PM.
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Old June 08, 2008, 03:25 PM
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You've made me wonder. When we personify a car or a ship in Spanish, are they feminine like in English?
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Old June 08, 2008, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Iris View Post
You've made me wonder. When we personify a car or a ship in Spanish, are they feminine like in English?
Good question. I'd like to know the answer to it too.
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Old June 11, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Going out on a limb here..........

When we personify something, we usually use the opposite sex of what we are. We let everyone know how much "in love" we are with our car or with the ship that is going to carry us across the ocean.

My college professor used to say that it was more "socially acceptable" no matter what the language was.

Is it true? I don't know.

Elaina
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Old June 12, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Interesting. Never heard that theory before. I have no idea if it's true or not.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Elaina View Post
Going out on a limb here..........

When we personify something, we usually use the opposite sex of what we are. We let everyone know how much "in love" we are with our car or with the ship that is going to carry us across the ocean.

My college professor used to say that it was more "socially acceptable" no matter what the language was.

Is it true? I don't know.

Elaina
In Britain toilets are now often described as MALE TOILETS / FEMALE TOILETS. Since Male and female are used as adjectives, we are in effect giving the toilets a gender!!
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:38 PM
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In Britain toilets are now often described as MALE TOILETS / FEMALE TOILETS. Since Male and female are used as adjectives, we are in effect giving the toilets a gender!!
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Old May 20, 2009, 09:46 PM
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Death is masculine. Other words are, too, but I can't think of any right now.
I'd say "time" and "wind" are probably masculine. (father time, old man wind).

(I know this is an old post, but I think it's still relevant)
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Old May 21, 2009, 08:45 AM
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Interesting question. In Spanish gender is often confused with sex, but this is a great mistake. Words have gender, neither humans nor animals have it, but sex. There've been several studies about Spanish words gender; most of Spanish words derive from Latin, of course, and have taken their gender from this language. However, there are other words which have changed their original Latin gender into another, masculine or feminine, depending on several causes. A lot of Spanish feminine words ending in -a come from a neutral plural Latin word ending in -a (arma, leña). Other Spanish words ending in -a (el día, el poema) have maintained their masculine gender although they end in -a.

When we personify an inanimate object, usually we give it the sex that is related to the gender it has. I could call my car with a name such as "Manolito". A ship would have a male personification. However, a lot of ships have female names (Aurora, Carmen, Sirena, ...). Even people who live besides the sea usually don't say "el mar", but "la mar".
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