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Old 24th April 2019, 01:12 PM   #41
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If one's life is so shallow and meaningless that the mere reference to an inanimate object in a non-gender neutral term is so offensive that one wants to reverse centuries of common usage - then one might as well take a long walk off a short pier as one's problems are certainly far too dire for mere mortals to repair.
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Old 24th April 2019, 01:18 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Perhaps because they had been named after females?
Ships that have male names are referred to in the masculine gender.
The Edmund Fitzgerald come to mind as well as the Nimitz.
Maybe we are looking way too deep into this. It's all just a matter of names.
Well, that's what you get if you insist on naming ships after blokes. The Royal Navy never had a problem as using "her" to refer to HMS Dreadnought, Warspite, Ark Royal, etc.
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Old 24th April 2019, 03:49 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But "gendered" words have changed in just my lifetime, several words that seemed ludicrous when they first started being used have made the transition to mainstream usage.
We still don't refer to a female "manager" as a "damager" yet.
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Old 24th April 2019, 03:51 PM   #44
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Then "hudam" is just around the corner.
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:13 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
In response to the title of the OP:

Okay, as long as I'm still allowed to have sex in a boat.

Or drink American beer, which I understand is just like it.
Especially "Love in a Canoe" brand...

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Old 24th April 2019, 04:21 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Ships that have male names are referred to in the masculine gender.
Really? I've never heard of anyone calling a ship "him" or discussing "his armaments" even when the ship is named after a man or otherwise has a masculine name.

Edit: In the summary section of the USS Nimitz article on Wikipedia it refers to the ship as a "she".

Quote:
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a supercarrier of the United States Navy, and the lead ship of her class. One of the largest warships in the world, she was laid down, launched and commissioned as CVAN-68; "aircraft carrier, attack, nuclear powered", but she was later redesignated as CVN-68; "aircraft carrier, multi-mission", nuclear-powered", on 30 June 1975, as part of a fleet-wide realignment that year.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nimitz
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Last edited by Arcade22; 24th April 2019 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:24 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Well, that's what you get if you insist on naming ships after blokes. The Royal Navy never had a problem as using "her" to refer to HMS Dreadnought, Warspite, Ark Royal, etc.
A passage from a book I read as a child. For some reason, this one stuck in my head for all these years...
"Well," said Commander Pott, "that's how I've come to call her. It's funny, but all bits of machinery that people love are made into females. All ships are 'she'. Racing drivers call their cars 'she'. Same thing with aeroplanes. Don't know about rockets or sputniks — somehow they don't seem very feminine to me — but I bet the rocketeers and sputnicators, or whatever they call the sputnik experts, I bet they call their space ships and things 'she'. Odd, isn't it? I used to serve in a battleship. Gigantic great ship stuffed with guns and radar and so on. Called the George V. But we called her 'she'."
- from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:27 PM   #48
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Note one of the biggest conceptual problems with actually referring to ships as being females is that the notion of gender makes no sense unless there are multiple genders. If there are female ships then there ought to also be male ships. You can't have shipgirls without shipboys.
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:31 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But "gendered" words have changed in just my lifetime, several words that seemed ludicrous when they first started being used have made the transition to mainstream usage.
Exactly. You still sometimes hear “lady doctor” and “male nurse” but these terms, and hundreds like them, are disappearing, at least in Australia.
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:47 PM   #50
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AP Style: Boats, Ships
Quote:
A “boat” is a watercraft of any size but generally is used to indicate a small craft. A “ship” is a large, seagoing vessel.

The word “boat” is used, however, in some words that apply to large craft. For example,

Ferryboat
PT boat

Use “it,” not the pronoun “she,” in references to boats and ships.
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Old 24th April 2019, 04:57 PM   #51
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I dunno, the loss of aviatrix, has made the language less rich in my humble opinion.

By the way, lots of great references to pioneering female pilots turn up if you search for that term.
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Old 24th April 2019, 05:04 PM   #52
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"Testatrix" was in my business law textbook in 2018.

Freakin' love that word. "Testator" doesn't have the same magical air.
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Old 25th April 2019, 02:18 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
But there are plenty of ships that are not named for people, and I think they generally default to "she," as do spips that are not specified. Though I read that English warships were "he" as a rule. But I think it's mostly a holdover from previous languages in which nouns are gendered as they are not in English. It seems easy enough simply to drop the gendering and call ships "it." The argument that doing so is uncomfortable for some people is no better than the argument that leaving it alone is uncomfortable for others.
Which previous languages? "Ship" and "boat" are both native English words. When English still had grammatical gender, scip was neuter; bat was feminine, but I'm pretty sure that the tradition of calling ships "she" has nothing to do with the gender of bat.
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Old 25th April 2019, 05:52 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
"Testatrix" was in my business law textbook in 2018.

Freakin' love that word. "Testator" doesn't have the same magical air.
When I finally read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", I was enchanted by the mother of the main character working as a "janitoress"!
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Old 25th April 2019, 07:08 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Right

So she is a bit pick and chosey

Personally think concepts like freedom, peace etc are slightly more important than a bunch of words, but all good
There's absolutely no reason why someone can't work for those things in addition to using gender-neutral language.

Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I would note that, aside from being a matter of general principle, it is also possible for some people, even feminists, to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.
Yes, this.

Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Are you talking like Chairperson rather than Chairman etc?

As that has kind of been around way before modern day usage
These days, the word that is generally used is "Chair". I am the chair of this committee. Similarly, you don't need to say "fireperson" because we have the term "firefighter". There's all sorts of ways to work around gendered language. "Chess men" becomes "chess pieces". And of course words like soldier, waiter and, yes, aviator, are already gender neutral in their construction. Good writers write around the problem.

I've linked to Douglas Hoftadter's brilliantly satirical Person Paper on Purity in Language before. It's what first turned me around to realising that gender neutral language is preferable.

And it's so easy - why wouldn't you?
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Old 25th April 2019, 09:04 PM   #56
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I think we are on the way with boat names. "Boaty McBoatface" doesn't appear to be a gendered name.
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Old 25th April 2019, 09:25 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
I think we are on the way with boat names. "Boaty McBoatface" doesn't appear to be a gendered name.
No, but you can bet that its crew refer to it as "she". Heck, the Wikipedia page for the USS Nimitz - named after the very male admiral Chester Nimitz - starts like this:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a supercarrier of the United States Navy, and the lead ship of her class. One of the largest warships in the world, she was laid down, launched and commissioned as CVAN-68; "aircraft carrier, attack, nuclear powered", but she was later redesignated as CVN-68; "aircraft carrier, multi-mission", nuclear-powered", on 30 June 1975, as part of a fleet-wide realignment that year.
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Old 25th April 2019, 09:27 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
If one's life is so shallow and meaningless that the mere reference to an inanimate object in a non-gender neutral term is so offensive that one wants to reverse centuries of common usage - then one might as well take a long walk off a short pier as one's problems are certainly far too dire for mere mortals to repair.
"Tradition" isn't a great reason for doing something, and it's a terrible reason to avoid changing something for the better.
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Old 25th April 2019, 10:35 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Will be much more interesting when this kind of thing is applied to a gendered language.
Any furriner speaking types here? Do the French, Spanish, etc... call boats/vessels "she".
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Old 25th April 2019, 10:49 PM   #60
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Quote:
Thou shalt not have sex with a boat anymore
Dammit, I was just about to enter her poop deck
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Old 25th April 2019, 11:18 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
"Tradition" isn't a great reason for doing something, and it's a terrible reason to avoid changing something for the better.
This is usually the bit where you explain how changing something utterly trivial yet age old in it's historical reference is "better"
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Old 25th April 2019, 11:24 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
If one's life is so shallow and meaningless that the mere reference to an inanimate object in a non-gender neutral term is so offensive that one wants to reverse centuries of common usage - then one might as well take a long walk off a short pier as one's problems are certainly far too dire for mere mortals to repair.
Or, alternatively, languages are highly mutable and alter as society alters.
Even English, which is relatively static, has changed a lot in the last century, let alone in several.
For instance, the autocorrect of this site wants to change the clearly correct honour into honor. While the first version of the word clearly has centuries of history.

It also makes linguistic sense to clear up some of those old remnants, why should inanimate objects have a gender at all? Especially if we keep making more things. What gender is a Fiat panda? A refrigerator? A pentium chip? An F-16?
English already is a pretty arbitrary hodgepodge of exemptions, so why not clear that up a bit?
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:10 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
This is usually the bit where you explain how changing something utterly trivial yet age old in it's historical reference is "better"
The opposite of conservative isn't liberal. The opposite of conservative is progressive. Conservative thinking is that the status quo is better than change. Progressive thinking is that change is desirable when it is done for valid reasons.

There is no valid reason to maintain the status quo on referring to ships as "she". The only argument you have is that "it's the way we've always done it", ie. tradition. Unless you are of the idea that preserving tradition is somehow an inherent good in and of itself (and let's stick to language here - traditional culture is something different), there's no reason to keep doing it.

On the other hand, gender neutral language is an inherent good. Language has been marginalising women from time immemorial. When asked to describe what they see when they picture a "hero", most people will describe a hero who is tough, brave, a risk-taker, and overwhelmingly, male. "Hero" is not a gendered word, but the "default" hero is male. For one of those female heroes, we have a special word - heroine. An "actor" is by default male. If you have an actor who isn't male, you have to single her out with the word "actress". Women are a deviation from the norm. They are aberrant, an exception. Think of how many times you hear or read about a "female professor". No! She's a professor. But if I start telling you about a professor I know, the image that will be conjured up in your mind is overwhelmingly likely to be male unless I take steps to make sure I refer to her as female. If I don't take such steps, then in your mind the professor is male. Male is the default.

Did you read the Person Paper I linked above? The tl;dr is that Hofstadter analogises the genderedness of language by imagining a world where instead of language being divided into male and female, with male being the default, language is divided into white and black, with white being the default. Then he makes ALL the arguments that people have made against gender neutral language in the form of arguments against race-neutral language. And it's shocking. It should be shocking. That's its purpose. I was shocked by it when I first read it, and it completely changed my opinion about gendered language.

Women can be heroes. Women can be actors. Women can be firefighters, soldiers, aviators, professors, engineers, electricians, pilots and doctors. We don't need gendered language. We don't need to single women out as something other than the default. If we really want a world where men and women are treated equally, which I think we do, then treating them equally in language is a good start.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:15 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Or, alternatively, languages are highly mutable and alter as society alters.
Even English, which is relatively static, has changed a lot in the last century, let alone in several.
For instance, the autocorrect of this site wants to change the clearly correct honour into honor. While the first version of the word clearly has centuries of history.

It also makes linguistic sense to clear up some of those old remnants, why should inanimate objects have a gender at all? Especially if we keep making more things. What gender is a Fiat panda? A refrigerator? A pentium chip? An F-16?
English already is a pretty arbitrary hodgepodge of exemptions, so why not clear that up a bit?
People anthropomorphise objects all the time. So, if a person anthropomorphises a ship, what is gained by forcing them not to?

It's petty authoritarianism.
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:18 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by ThatGuy11200 View Post
People anthropomorphise objects all the time. So, if a person anthropomorphises a ship, what is gained by forcing them not to?

It's petty authoritarianism.
You shouldn't anthropomorphise ships. They really hate that.
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:43 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Any furriner speaking types here? Do the French, Spanish, etc... call boats/vessels "she".
I'm guessing that it would be weird in French, as boat is a masculine noun.
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:49 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by ThatGuy11200 View Post
People anthropomorphise objects all the time. So, if a person anthropomorphises a ship, what is gained by forcing them not to?

It's petty authoritarianism.
I didn't do nothing is wrong, but I can still use it.

What is wrong with updating grammar?
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:58 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post

I've linked to Douglas Hoftadter's brilliantly satirical Person Paper on Purity in Language before. It's what first turned me around to realising that gender neutral language is preferable.

And it's so easy - why wouldn't you?
Easy in English, perhaps, but a bitch in many other languages. Some would have to be extensively rewritten.
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Old 26th April 2019, 01:07 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Easy in English, perhaps, but a bitch in many other languages. Some would have to be extensively rewritten.
Yes, which is what I said here:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Spanish, being a Romance language, like French, is strongly gendered, and thus much harder to degenderise (that's a word now). I still think it should be worked towards, but will take a lot longer and change the language much more significantly. In a few hundred years time I think the global lingua franca will be a blend of English and Chinese anyway.
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Old 26th April 2019, 02:18 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
I'm guessing that it would be weird in French, as boat is a masculine noun.
And you'd guess wrong.

In German (and I am sure lots of what I am about to say has analogies in French etc.), the various words for different sorts of water-going vessels have different grammatical genders:
* The basic words happen to be neuter: Das Boot, das Schiff
* Many varieties are male: Der Katamaran, der Dampfer ("steamer"), der Kreuzer (cruiser)...
* Some varieties are female: Die Fregatte, die Jolle (a small sail boat), die Fähre (ferry)...

Individual named vessels however are generally female, even if the name is lent from a man (die Hindenburg, die Bismarck...). You could even give your ship a male first name, and she'd be "die Willy" etc.!

When you talk about a vessel without using the induvidual name, you use the pronoun that goes with the word you refer it by: "das Schiff ... es..."; "der Dampfer... er..."; "die Fähre... sie...".

But if you refer to it by name, you use the female pronouns: "der Dampfer Willy... sie..."!

There is one exception: der Imperator, at the time of HIS maiden voyage the largest ship in the world. Named in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm II., and refered to as "he" by Wilhelm's personal request.
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Old 26th April 2019, 07:40 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by ThatGuy11200 View Post
People anthropomorphise objects all the time. So, if a person anthropomorphises a ship, what is gained by forcing them not to?

It's petty authoritarianism.
Actually, the petty authorities like various maritime bodies have been getting away from "she" for vessels for a long time.

Petty authoritarianism is, to be clear, "Well, that's just the way it is and that's how we're gonna do it 'cuz my daddy did it that way, and his daddy and his daddy's daddy." In short, the opposite of what you seem to be arguing.

I spent fifty years in shipping and have been on many ocean vessels. It is not as customary as you think for masters and mates to refer to ships as "she". In the industry, we more often call them "it".
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Old 26th April 2019, 09:15 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
On the other hand, gender neutral language is an inherent good. Language has been marginalising women from time immemorial. When asked to describe what they see when they picture a "hero", most people will describe a hero who is tough, brave, a risk-taker, and overwhelmingly, male. "Hero" is not a gendered word, but the "default" hero is male. For one of those female heroes, we have a special word - heroine. An "actor" is by default male. If you have an actor who isn't male, you have to single her out with the word "actress". Women are a deviation from the norm. They are aberrant, an exception. Think of how many times you hear or read about a "female professor". No! She's a professor. But if I start telling you about a professor I know, the image that will be conjured up in your mind is overwhelmingly likely to be male unless I take steps to make sure I refer to her as female. If I don't take such steps, then in your mind the professor is male. Male is the default.
A classmate did their BSc psych thesis on gendered language. Sets of 3 sentences shown 1 at a time when the student pressed the enter key. The 1st sentence would introduce <entity>, the 2nd some action, the 3rd more info including a gendered pronoun. All showed a significant increased reading time if the pronoun was female. One interesting set tried to remove the "prior experience" argument ; e.g most doctors are male therefore we expect "he" was something like:
The alien emerged from the spaceship.
..something..
His/her tentacles were long and green.
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Old 26th April 2019, 09:34 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
We still don't refer to a female "manager" as a "damager" yet.
I've had a few managers (of both genders) for whom "damager" would be a more appropriate title.
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Old 26th April 2019, 09:43 AM   #74
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Speaking of boats that are ladies, how about the QE2? It was intended to be named after Queen Elizabeth the First, and as it was the second vessel of that name they stuck the 2 on in reference to the second ship, not the second Queen Elizabeth. But the latter, arriving to smash champagne on it for the launch, apparently believed the ship was named for herself and called it 'the second' instead of 'two'. Most embarrassing for everyone. Personally, I think she knew all along and knew nobody would dare to correct her.
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Old 26th April 2019, 10:09 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Well, that's what you get if you insist on naming ships after blokes. The Royal Navy never had a problem as using "her" to refer to HMS Dreadnought, Warspite, Ark Royal, etc.
Not like they don't name ships after men... Prince of Wales, King George V, Iron Duke.
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Old 26th April 2019, 12:10 PM   #76
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Back when crews were all male, using male pronouns for the ship was just too confusing.

CAPTAIN: Bring him about!
BO'S'N: You mean the cabin boy, Cap'n? Even though it's barely past noon?

CAPTAIN: He's rising slow on the upswell. Is he taking on water?
BO'S'N: No, Sir, that's just how Fitch gets after his salt pork and grog.

CAPTAIN: (peering through spyglass) By God, he's struck a reef! His bottom's torn out! He's going down!
BO'S'N: Well, we'll put a stop to that. (calling down gangway) Jenkins! Behave yourself!

CAPTAIN: Clap him in the brig!
BO'S'N: Aye aye sir! (goes to brig) (applauds) Yay, ship!
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Old 26th April 2019, 02:14 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Grammar Nazis are worse than Femi-Nazis. Especially AP style purists.
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Old 26th April 2019, 02:51 PM   #78
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Has this thread run her course?
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Old 26th April 2019, 02:54 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Has this thread run her course?
Shirley, you mean: Has this thread run it's course?
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Old 26th April 2019, 09:03 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Has this thread run her course?
It ran its course in the first post. Another opportunity for our resident poster boy for the "Get Off My Lawn Junior Auxiliary".

Don't like changes. Nosirree. Changes just change things. I was fine the way it was before. Don't need no new-fangled ideas 'round here. No sir!
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