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  1. Jul 30, 2004 #1
    I just want to know... why is it that we say 'mother nature' and 'mother country', not 'father nature' or not 'father country'?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2004 #2


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    Do you mean Americans specifically? Because some nations do refer to their land as the "fatherland."
  4. Jul 30, 2004 #3
    Maybe it stems from Greek mythology. Mother Earth (Geia was her name?)
  5. Jul 30, 2004 #4


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    I could think of a few possible reasons (don't know if any are right).

    Mothers are considered more nurturing, so it may indicate a nurturing attitidue.
    In contrast, Father Time, is more of a strict character that isn't necessarily kind to us.

    It could be a carryover from other languages where gender is assigned to words, even if they are inanimate objects.

    It could mean nothing, maybe somebody said it once and it sounded catchy and stuck?
  6. Jul 30, 2004 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    STING! How have you been?
  7. Jul 30, 2004 #6
    Mother country is a matter of perspective. It is also possible to use the words motherland and fatherland.

    Mother nature is a different story. Nature, like science, is about space. In contrast, religion is about time. For example, the main ancient gods of religions were the sun, the moon, and the planets, the givers of awareness of the units of time (day, month, year). Space is associated with feminine and time is associated with masculine. Therefore, mother nature and father time. As well, in monotheistic religions, god is symbolized as a male father figure.
  8. Jul 31, 2004 #7
    Yeap, Geia or Ge... From there the world geology. She was like the mother of everything, and I think she was the mother of Chronus (time). and it does is related with the protection and nurturing of a mother. After the Greeks the romans called her Terra... which is translated as earth. In all the languages derived from Latin it is a femenine noun(french-terre, italian-terra, spanish-tierra) as moonbear said, and in fact it is also called Madre Tierra, Madre terra...etc.

    But the reason for mother country, I have no idea... but again in all the romance languages it is a feminine noun...well, not exactly country, country is masculine but we talk about Madre Patria...and Patria is feminine.
  9. Jul 31, 2004 #8
    But Patria comes from Pater which means father. So, in the latin languages as well as in German it's "father country" instead of "mother country". My explanation for this is: Traditionally it's your father from which you inherit things. You inherit his name, his fortune, maybe his profession, his title of nobility if he's got one...and as well you inherit his nationality.

    So, from that point of view I find it harder to explain why in English people say "mother country".
  10. Jul 31, 2004 #9
    I really don't know why in english it's mother country

    but in spanish it's Madre Patria and it's feminine

    Patria is latin= the place where you were born.

    Pater is father.

    maybe they were related in some way, but Patria is latin and it's feminine in languages derived from latin.
  11. Jul 31, 2004 #10
    In Norway, we refer to our country as Father land.
  12. Aug 1, 2004 #11
    Hey Ivan. I've just been hanging around in the math lab at school, weight training and writing depressing poetry to the Moon. And you? How are things in Forums?

    In India, they refer the country as the "Motherland". It may stem from the value of women (as wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters) in Indian society. Sure, the mother and father may contribute the same number of chromosomes but it is the mother that brings the child into the world. It is also the mother that feeds and sustains the young child with her milk and the mother is symbolic of comfort and the carer of the household. It might have something to do with that.

    I agree with Prometheus when I say that it's a matter of perspective.
  13. Aug 1, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have seen you pop in from time to time but usually not for long. It is good to know that things are well; less the depressing poetry. :surprise: Since I found PF my lunar poetry writing has diminished.

    As you can see we just keep growing. The S&D forum is ghouling along very nicely and we have many great members!

    You should stick around or visit more often.
  14. Aug 1, 2004 #13
    A bit of sardonic humor there :wink:

    Things are looking great. I'm happy for you guys that you all have a great forum.
  15. Aug 2, 2004 #14


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    "mother" has the connotation of "birth" (thus, mother nature) & "nurturing" (thus, mother country)
    "father" has the connotation of "authority" & "strength" (thus, fatherland)

    Useful tricks for propoganda, eh?

    Interesting to note that, in English, many vehicles are called "she" even when being used in war (e.g., boats, planes). Perhaps out of respect for something you need to care for so it protects you from death? (e.g., enemies, drowning, falling from the sky)
  16. Aug 2, 2004 #15


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    Maybe soldiers at war are just really desperate for female companionship.
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