QUOTE (dvandorn @ Aug 22 2007, 09:36 AM)
I have it on good authority that any Russian sailor you may meet would say that his ship, he is a good ship. He is a strong ship. He serves well the Rodina.
Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that.
I can't speak for sailors
in particular, but for us land dwellers it depends on the exact word being used. "Kohrabl'" (Russian for "ship", especially when the ship in question is military) is masculine, "soodno" (Russian for something like "vessel", i.e. a general term) is neuter, and "lodka" (Russian for "boat") is feminine.
So, when I say (in equivalent Russian) "this ship was ...", I use masculine, when I say "this vessel was ...", I use neuter, and when I say "this boat was ...", I use feminine.
But there's also a question of the craft's name. So when I say "Mary Celeste
was ...", I use feminine, but when I say "Admiral Kuznetsov
was ...", I use masculine.
"na gavareet Russki" (which means, in pidgin Russian, "I don't speak Russian,")
Something like "no speak Russian", yes.
... it's one of the rather nastier epithets found in the language, as I understand. All I will say is that it is a comment on one's mat.
Does it consist of two words, both beginning with 's'? Then rest assured that there are a lot of nastier epithets in Russian.
Going back to topic--I think of Spirit as a "he" because: 1) the English word "Spirit" sounds masculine to a Russian ear, 2) the corresponding Russian word "dookh" is
masculine. "Opportunity", on the other hand, sounds vaguely feminine, while the Russian word for "Mars rover" ("marsokhod") is masculine, so I'm slightly torn. There's also the Russian media, who usually call them "Mars rover Spirit" and "Mars rover Opportunity", which, I guess, is one way of solving the problem.