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I have also heard that cars, trains, and other modes of transportation are referred to as female in the English ... in French cars are feminine. It may be something that has crept into the English language via world language acquisition.

You mean like Renault 5, "Le Car"?

Jan
OED has a string of cites under 'ship' showing that usage has varied. A poem of 1426 has 'Every ship wayed his anker...'

This is likely a neuter "his", not a masculine one. "His" was the original 3s neuter, as well as masculine, genitive pronoun. I believe it's used in Chaucer, where nary an "its" is found. It's a modern novelty.

That would relate to a sentence in the rest of your cite which reads "Though they
also say that in instances before 1650 'his' may mean 'its'."
and one from 1588 indicates the purpose of a rudder ... say that in instances before 1650 'his' may mean 'its'.

John Dean
Oxford
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Not all figureheads were females. For some American counterexamples see:

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Ayaz Ahmed Khan
But in English, words do not have genders, with the exception of the pronouns "he" and "she" and pronouns and adjectives related to them.

Since, as you say, English nouns do not have grammatical gender, then of course the pronouns don't either since the nouns have no gender for the pronouns to match. Pronoun choice in English is determined by the sex, or the notional sex, of the noun referred to. Grammatical gender plays no role, not even with the pronouns.

German speakers have a feel for this, because German pronouns are used both for gender matching and for sex reference. A mentioned "Mädchen" ("girl," neuter gender) will be referred to by the neuter pronoun "es" until the gender-salience of the word itself has passed, at which point the speakers will switch to using the pronoun "sie" (used both for feminine-gender nouns and for females), because the Mädchen is a female. Once awareness of the specific gendered noun has faded, the fact of the noun's sex takes over and makes the gender reference go away. The two pronoun systems gender reference and sex reference operate in tandem and switch back and forth.
I think it would drive me crazy.
\\P. Schultz
Hm. I think the above sentence has two readings ... you meant the infinitive-or-present reading of "read", not the past.

Sometime in recent weeks or months, I've written about spelling (ri:d) and (rEd) two different ways, both different from "read". ... "reed" is intended. (Yes, there is a verb spelled "reed". It has to do with using reeds for certain purposes.)

There's always the older form "rede" (although I think that meant "speak").

Rob Bannister
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But in English, words do not have genders, with ... and "she" and pronouns and adjectives related to them.

Since, as you say, English nouns do not have grammatical gender, then of course the pronouns don't either since the ... reference and sex reference operate in tandem and switch back and forth. I think it would drive me crazy.

You get used to it. In Macedonian, the words for 'boy' and 'girl' are both neuter; as in German, the pronoun switch soon occurs, but it's all to do with what you are thinking about - you think about the word: you think neuter; you think about the person: you think masc. or fem. It's not a problem - maybe even less so than singular 'they' in English.

Rob Bannister
(snip)
(Yes, there is a verb spelled "reed". It has to do with using reeds for certain purposes.)

There's always the older form "rede" (although I think that meant "speak").

Specifically "advise" or "counsel". I think the verb is now extremely rare; the noun meaning "advice" or "dictum" is still occasionally seen in old-fashioned usage, e.g. in J.R.R. Tolkien's writing.

Odysseus
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I agree, but I think that should be "... fewer than about 26 characters."

Odysseus
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Not all figureheads were females. For some American counterexamples see:

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Know. Don't think it a good idea,
for several reasons,
Jan
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