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Thread: Death

  1. #41
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    Re: All languages: Death

    In Italian the word is "la morte", feminine.
    But I'm not sure that "La morte" is a woman... as it's a skeleton in a black dress!
    Anyway in Italian the "neutral" form doesn't exist... (not for Death, not for any other word).

  2. #42
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Setwale_Charm View Post
    Qcumber, read the first post again I am asking about literary and mythological perceptions.rather than grammar.
    Perhaps you didn't realize grammatical gender reflects ancient mythological and modern literary perceptions.

  3. #43
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Vietnamese:

    Tử Thần / Thần Chết / Dead Deity

    No gender
    Be Good ? Be Bad ? The best is Just Be !

  4. #44
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Lithuanian:

    death - mirtis

    it's feminine
    The girl who has nothing to say...

  5. #45
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Hi,
    Quote Originally Posted by Qcumber View Post
    Perhaps you didn't realize grammatical gender reflects ancient mythological and modern literary perceptions.
    This would strike me as quite odd... Wouldn't this mean that mythology preceedes language? Which is quite contradictory...
    Any which way, what are the arguments to state that grammatical gender reflects mythology? How does Fr. 'la chaise' (f) / Du 'de stoel' (m) fit in this theory?

    Groetjes,

    Frank

  6. #46
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Setwale_Charm View Post
    Qcumber, read the first post again I am asking about literary and mythological perceptions.rather than grammar.
    Not quite. You asked:

    Quote Originally Posted by Setwale_Charm View Post
    Is Death a he or a she in your language when it is portrayed in a symbolic way, as a personality? Does its gender always correspond with the gender of the actual word: la mort, la muerte etc?
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank06 View Post
    This would strike me as quite odd... Wouldn't this mean that mythology preceedes language? Which is quite contradictory...
    Not to mention that word genders frequently change with time or dialect. Il mare, o mar, la mer...
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  7. #47
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Tolovaj_Mataj View Post
    In Slovene: smrt (of feminine gender)
    Same in Serbian: smrt /смрт (feminine).
    Уби ме прејака реч!

  8. #48
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by linguist786 View Post
    In Urdu/Hindi and Gujarati, the word for death is "maut" (موت/मौत/મૌત) - borrowed from Arabic I guess - and it is feminine.
    Interesting! maut or mawt الموت in Arabic is a masculine word.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzwozzer View Post
    Azrail is what people call Death and it is usually considered as male, though not really portrayed or Turkish being a non-sexist language.
    Interesting too !!
    Azrail is the angel of death in Islam. I don't know if Arab Christians use it as well or not.
    So, when we "personify" death, we simply think of the angel of death, Azrail عزرائيل , who takes peoples' souls to heaven where they await the Judgment day يوم الحساب .
    We refer to Azrail, as to all angels, by masculine.

  9. #49
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    Re: All languages: Death

    In Mexico "la muerte" (feminine)
    cada cabeza es un mundo

  10. #50
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by linguist786 View Post
    In Urdu/Hindi and Gujarati, the word for death is "maut" (موت/मौत/મૌત) - borrowed from Arabic I guess - and it is feminine.
    What makes it feminine? Its ending? What is the mark of the feminine in Urdu?

  11. #51
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank06 View Post
    Nope, as written before, in Dutch the word 'dood' has two genders, masculine and female.
    Wasn't "de dood" masculine in Old Dutch?

  12. #52
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Hi,
    Quote Originally Posted by Qcumber View Post
    Wasn't "de dood" masculine in Old Dutch?
    I checked things out in an etymological dictionary, and all the oldest Germanic cognates are masculine indeed. I couldn't find the grammatical gender of the Old Dutch word, but I think it is quite safe to assume it was also male, indeed.
    Oddly enough, in Middle Dutch the word '(de) dood' was (quote) mostly female (unquote), in modern Dutch both.
    As for the gender of the Germanic words: it seems that the basis for the male gender has to do with... well, grammar, rather than with mythology (or iconography), since Proto-Germanic *dauthu- is -- and here English fails me again -- a 'verbaalabstract' (lit. verbal abstract), roughly put, the nominalization of a verb. And those nouns, those nominalized verbs, were grammatically male.

    Groetjes,

    Frank

  13. #53
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    Re: All languages: Death

    What I am asking for is the cultural image which in turn often determines the gender of the word.
    It takes great courage to speak out loud about things which on the quiet are known to everybody.

  14. #54
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Who said it's the cultural image that determines gender?
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  15. #55
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    Re: All languages: Death

    I am saying that this often happens.
    If in russian, for example, Death has been painted as a woman since the pagan times , it is logical that Death is feminine. In English Death was portrayed as the King of Terrors, so in literature , though the word is denoted with the pronoun IT in common language, Death is still most often referred to as He.
    It takes great courage to speak out loud about things which on the quiet are known to everybody.

  16. #56
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Setwale_Charm View Post
    I am saying that this often happens.
    Based on what evidence?
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  17. #57
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    Based on what evidence?
    Outsider, read my posts again and stop playing a grand detective
    It takes great courage to speak out loud about things which on the quiet are known to everybody.

  18. #58
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    Re: All languages: Death

    I asked you for evidence of your claim that gender is "often" determined by cultural preconceptions. You have provided none. I conclude that you have never stopped to examine this proposition critically. It's just something you always assumed was true, because it "made sense" to you. Well, it makes absolutely no sense to me.

    The fact that death is often represented as a female in Russian culture and that the word for "death" is feminine in the Russian language can just as easily be explained in the opposite direction: it is not culture which predetermines language, but language which has predisposed Russian speakers to personify death as a female. After all, if you are used to referring to death as a "she", it's simply easier to depict it as a female character, since doing the opposite might confuse your audience.

    Even so, I assure you that in Portuguese for instance I have seen death represented as a) female, b) male, or c) of indeterminate sex, and none of these three possibilities feels more or less natural than the others to me, even though the word morte is grammatically feminine. Death is, after all, an abstraction, not a living being -- why should it be expected to have a fixed sex?
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  19. #59
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    I asked you for evidence of your claim that gender is "often" determined by cultural preconceptions. You have provided none. I conclude that you have never stopped to examine this proposition critically. It's just something you always assumed was true, because it "made sense" to you. Well, it makes absolutely no sense to me.

    The fact that death is often represented as a female in Russian culture and that the word for "death" is feminine in the Russian language can just as easily be explained in the opposite direction: it is not culture which predetermines language, but language which has predisposed Russian speakers to personify death as a female. After all, if you are used to referring to death as a "she", it's simply easier to depict it as a female character, since doing the opposite might confuse your audience.

    Even so, I assure you that in Portuguese for instance I have seen death represented as a) female, b) male, or c) of indeterminate sex, and none of these three possibilities feels more or less natural than the others to me, even though the word morte is grammatically feminine. Death is, after all, an abstraction, not a living being -- why should it be expected to have a fixed sex?
    It is something that I have seen happening in numerous languages and therefore concluded that it often so happens.
    It takes great courage to speak out loud about things which on the quiet are known to everybody.

  20. #60
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    Re: All languages: Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank06 View Post
    I checked things out in an etymological dictionary, and all the oldest Germanic cognates are masculine indeed. I couldn't find the grammatical gender of the Old Dutch word, but I think it is quite safe to assume it was also male, indeed. Oddly enough, in Middle Dutch the word '(de) dood' was (quote) mostly female (unquote), in modern Dutch both.
    Thanks a lot, Frank.
    By the way, how is death represented in Medieval Dutch iconography and then by Flemmish painters?

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