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Frage:
pronoun for country/ state names  
von rethink (DE), 2010-12-04, 10:16  like dislike  Spam?  
I came across the use of “she“ as pronouns for countries. Is this the usual form or are there differences according to the consitutional form or the name of the country (e.g. in German it's: die USA, die Niederlande etc. - sie (pl), aber Deutschland, Großbritannien etc. - es)
Antwort: 
von chicken (DE), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 10:34  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559642
USA (f.)  in dict. is actually wrong; the states are plural, but masculine
die Niederlande is plural, but neutral gender (das Land)
Antwort: 
von rethink (DE), 2010-12-04, 10:50  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559643
And countries like Spain or India etc. that do not refer to the plural of a confederation in their names, are they all female? I'm talking about the use in English.
Antwort: 
And  #559644
von JamesP (UN), 2010-12-04, 10:51  like dislike  Spam?  
until relatively recently "the United States" was/were plural in English, too.
Antwort: 
von rethink (DE), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 11:04  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559645
Ok, I don't want to know about the plural pronouns, sorry that I didn't make the point clear. What I want to know is whether all the other countries, to which is referred with a singular pronoun, the pronoun “she“ is to be applied.
Antwort: 
von chicken (DE), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 11:58  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559647
no, we use the pronoun "it":

"Spanien ist ein großes Land"  -  n.

in English: Spain, India, Greece . ....   she
Antwort: 
Unless a country is used with a definite article, it is neutre, singular or plural.  #559656
von Baccalaureus (DE), 2010-12-04, 13:32  like dislike  Spam?  
Die Türkei, der Jemen usw. are what their article says and are thusly referred to.
Antwort: 
...  #559662
von quentincassidy (US), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 13:50  like dislike  Spam?  
The term "she" is obviously used to describe countries in a fairly literary/metaphorical sense, and stems from the idea of a country being a "motherland" (i.e. feminine). As such, in English, all countries - when referred to in this manner - are referred as "she"

China used the Korean War as an opportunity to flex her military might.

Although England's situation was dire, she showed great resolve throughout the war.

Despite her rising national debt and alarming unemployment, America's underlying economic strength remains second to none.

Also, keep in mind that the use of a feminine pronoun to refer to a country does imply a certain degree of subjective support for the country in question. Thus, in more objective texts, its standard to the use the gender-neutral "it".

On the subject of the United States being referred to in the singular vs plural, it is in the present day unequivocally referred to in the singular - "The United States is going to...."

However, when the nation was first founded, it was viewed by its own citizens not so much as a single entity as a union of more or less independent states, and the country was thus referred to in the plural - "The United States are going to..."

Some historians have pointed to this shift in how Americans refer to their country (which happened ~around the time of the American Civil War) as reflective of how Americans had finally come to appreciate their overarching national identity.
Antwort: 
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 15:14  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559680
It is traditional for nations, like ships, to be treated in English usage as feminine.  If all countries are referred to equally as 'she', then no partiality or prejudice can arise from this.  If anything, it serves to remind us of our common humanity with other nations.  Calling an assemblage of our fellow beings 'it' seems dehumanising.

Some historians have pointed to this shift [from 'the United States are' to 'the United states is'] in how Americans refer to their country (which happened around the time of the American Civil War) as reflective of how Americans had finally come to appreciate their overarching national identity.
For Americans, three great changes have become merged into one: the gaining of independence, the attaining of democracy and the achievement of union.  The union is now seen as the means towards independence and as the guarantee of democracy.
For Europeans, the movement towards union involves the sacrifice of independence and the diminution of democracy.
Chat:     
Not necessarily  #559697
von Proteus, 2010-12-04, 15:42  like dislike  Spam?  93.82.148...
For Europeans, the movement towards union involves the sacrifice of independence and the diminution of democracy.  

If Brussels-driven, yes - if at long last / in the end citizen-driven, NO. Even in the medium term, the eurocrats seem to be on a hiding to nothing.
Antwort: 
Well...  #559702
von quentincassidy (US), 2010-12-04, 15:47  like dislike  Spam?  
...I think the usage of feminine pronouns to refer to countries is - and should be! lol - generally reserved for when the author intentionally wants to impart some degree of sympathy toward the nation in question. It would just get a little tedious (not to mention silly) to use them everywhere...

- I just came back from Mexico. She is such a beautiful country!
- If Iraq can rebuild her war-torn infrastructure, it should be easier for her people to embrace democracy

Also, its interesting to note that the exact same description you used to describe Europe's present move toward union would have been perfectly applicable to the American states after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783 and before the US Constitution was ratified in 1787...many states felt that they were sacrificing their independence to join the newly formed United States....however I'm not sure how - in that case or in Europe's - democracy was/is being 'diminuted'....
Antwort: 
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 18:15  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559706
Democracy is certainly diminished when, although I can vote for an MP to represent me at Westminster, neither the MP nor I can can stop the flow of legislation determined in Brussels and mechanically driven through the UK parliament by the government majority.  There is no democratic input into this large and increasing flow of laws.

David Cameron: “Almost half of all the regulations affecting our businesses come from the EU”.
http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2009/05/David_Cameron_Fi...

Regarding the two examples of Mexico and Iraq:  The Mexico one seems like spoken language, where the traditional usage does not so much apply.  In the Iraq case, the traditional expression not only sounds better but also reminds us we are dealing with people, not things.
Chat:     
Heard of the European Parliament, wandle, and ever voted in a European election?  #559710
von Proteus, 2010-12-04, 16:01  like dislike  Spam?  93.82.148...
http://europa.eu/institutions/inst/parliament/index_en.htm

On the other hand, the European Parliament does not sufficiently control the executive branch and, as citizens, Europeans have very little say in what goes on mostly over their heads in the capital of eurocracy.
Antwort: 
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-12-04, 16:42  like dislike  Spam?  
 #559721
I vote at all levels from local to European, despite the feebleness of the process.  The European Parliament does not decide the measures determined by the European Commission and then pushed through at national level.  Should the day ever come when there is a single European government, democratically subject to a European Parliament, that would mean the beginning of democracy at European level at the same time as the end of independence at national level.
However, by that time, the mountains of non-democratic legislation which will have accumulated across the continent will be too vast to alter significantly under the constant pressure of new government business.
Chat:     
À bas les tyrans, à bas les despotes, à bas les eurocrates!  #559723
von Proteus, 2010-12-04, 16:26  like dislike  Spam?  93.82.148...
Chat:     
Interesting brand use of Eurocrates   #559727
von Proteus, 2010-12-04, 16:30  like dislike  Spam?  93.82.148...

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