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把船称作“她”



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George Stimpson (l946) provides an amusing explanation of why ships are designated as female. It’s because the sailor holds his vessel dear to him and depends on it as he would upon a spouse; “it is natural that he should compare it with woman, man’s dearest and most cherished friend, from whom he is often long separated by the nature of his employment.” By this logic the soldier would call his rifle “she”, and likewise the carpenter his hammer. It seems more likely that the femaleness of oceangoing craft has to do with the fact that they embrace and protect their crews, as a mother would her children. Whatever the psychology involved, ship is feminine in many languages that assign a gender to nouns, although this is nowhere near being “almost invariably” the case, as Stimpson suggests. Latin navis is feminine, for example, as is nave in Spanish and Italian. But French navire and batiment are masculine, and Romance language terminology for small ships is “almost invariably” variable: From el buque to la barca and el barco; from le bateau to la barque, there is considerable confusion over whether boats are female or male. Only the Germans, pulling no punches, settle the matter through desexing: Both Schiff and Boot are neuter.

人们为什么把船作为女性指称?乔治·斯廷普森(1946)给出了一种有趣的解释。原因是水手对船感觉亲密,并且对它就像对配偶一般依赖;“很自然地,他把它比作女人——男人最亲密、最珍爱的、却由于工作而经常长期分离的朋友。”按照这种逻辑,士兵应把步枪称为“她”,同样,木匠也应把锤子称为“她”。看来,航船的阴性称呼更可能是与这一事实有关:航船就像母亲对孩子一样拥抱和保护着船员。不管这其中有着怎样的心理,“船”在很多名词具有性别的语言中都是阴性,尽管如斯廷普森指出的,事实并非“几乎总是”如此。例如,拉丁语中navis是阴性,西班牙语和意大利语中nave也是阴性,但是法语词。和navire和batiment则是阳性,而在罗曼语系中,指“小”船的词语其性别“几乎总是”可变的:从el buque到La barca 和el barco,从 le bateau到 le barque,在船是阴性还是阳性这个问题上存在着相当大的混乱。只有德国人,他们毫不留情地通过剥夺性别来解决这一麻烦:Schiff 和Bootng两个词都是中性。 (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
 
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