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aion Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 07:47 AM
Original message
Fatherland vs. Motherland vs. Homeland
I am curious if anyone else has any insights into the distinction? Why is it that communist countries seem to use 'Motherland' while fascistic countries seem to use the 'Fatherland' term? Is this simply coincidental, or is there something deeper? And is it revealing at all that the USA avoids both, and refers to the country as the 'Homeland'?


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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Step-Fatherland ???
Edited on Wed Jun-08-05 07:58 AM by welshTerrier2
our divorce rate is so high that maybe we could call the US Step-Fatherland ... just a thought ...

they used to call America the "Land of Opportunity" but now we have vigilantes guarding the borders ... or maybe we should just call it a "wasteland" after the mess we've made here ...

here's a great song called "Motherland" by Natalie Merchant on the subject:

*****************************

Where in the hell can you go far from the things that you know, far from the sprawl of concrete that keeps crawling its way 'bout 1,000 miles a day?

Take one last look behind. Commit this to memory and mind, but don't miss this wasteland, this terrible place. When you leave keep your heart off your sleeve.

Motherland cradle me, close my eyes, lullaby me to sleep. Keep me safe, lie with me, stay beside me don't go. Don't you go.

Oh, my five & dime queen tell me, what have you seen? The lust and the avarice, the bottomless, the cavernous greed, is that what you see?

Motherland cradle me, close my eyes, lullaby me to sleep. Keep me safe, lie with me, stay beside me don't go.

It's your happiness I want most of all and for that I'd do anything at all, oh mercy me! If you want the best of it or the most of all, if there's anything I can do at all.

Now come on shot gun bride what makes me envy your life? Faceless, nameless, innocent, blameless and free, what's that like to be?

Motherland cradle me, close my eyes, lullaby me to sleep. Keep me safe, lie with me, stay beside me don't go. Don't go.

*****************************
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
2. Some of it might be historical. Russia was the "motherland" before Marx.
Don't know why.
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aion Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. North Koreans and Vietnamese and Chinese all have the 'Motherland'
I believe you're right, but I think this goes deeper than Marxism. As far as I understand it, the North Koreans and Vietnamese and Chinese all have the 'Motherland' -- and I don't think Marx was at the heart of their revolutions.

I don't want to offend anyone, but is there a difference between 'fatherly' and 'motherly'? Do fathers approach things differently than mothers?
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
22. Lakoff says...
The "Strict Father" types are Republican, authoritative, disciplinary.

Communists and Mother... I don't know.
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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. I think Russia called it that under the czars?
I maybe wrong as the Czar was always known as the Little Father. I bet if you made a study on it you would find it is a church thing and since we were from the enlightenment it just did not fit. It is one of those great subject that does not mean a hill of beans that I just love. Getting old and finding you have a brain filled with useless informations in really fun. Are you doing the same?
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AllegroRondo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
5. Its more cultural than political
Germany called itself 'the fatherland' long before Hitler.
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aion Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. This goes beyond any single political figure
I am sure they did. This goes beyond any single political figure. It is indeed cultural, but may also manifest itself politically as well.

Are there any communist countries which use the 'fatherland' terminology? Are there any fascistic countries which used 'motherland'?
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haktar Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
7. All were and are used to boost illogical patriotism in the people
By the way it was "Mother Russia" in Russia
Fatherland is from the german "Vaterland".

And "homeland" you should know yourself. :-)
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aion Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. But you're only begging the question
Edited on Wed Jun-08-05 08:22 AM by aion
I agree completely that it results in an irrational fervor in the population. It is definitely a sign of nationalism, but the question still remains. Why do communists, by in large, refer to their country using feminine-terminology, while fascists seemingly prefer using masculine-terminology?
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haktar Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Several causes:
To boost patriotism you have to create a personal relationship with the country, And the closest relationship is with parents.

The Mother gives birth and nurtures the child.
The Father was historically the leader of the family.

Which was used depended on cultural preferences and intention of the Leaders.
In Russia there were less wars but people were starving. So the Czars created Mother Russia to imply "We care for you"
In Germany we had a history of wars with France, so the rulers had to use a "strong fatherfigure" to prepare us for the next war.
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leftyclimber Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. I also wonder how much of it has to do with languages
that have gender in them. Masculine and feminine nouns.

Unfortunately, Russian class is about 15 years away from me and I can't remember the word for "country" -- it would be interesting to know if it's feminine. Any Russian-speakers out there that can address this? Never had German, so I can't say.

I agree with your analysis as well, though.

I think That Man in the White House and his cronies probably stayed away from "mother-" and "fatherland" because of the connotations it brought from other countries. But "homeland" is much, much creepier. Ugh.
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haktar Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Sorry to dissapoint you.
Edited on Wed Jun-08-05 10:45 AM by haktar
While gender is a way to identify the origin of people,
(I often refer to a dog as "he" and a cat as "she" because of "der Hund" and "die Katze"), at least in german "the land" is simply "das Land". Even "das Vaterland" is neuter.(it inherits its gender from the noun "das Land".)
Btw: In french its "la patrie" whitch comes from patiotique and not from "la m`ere" or "le p`ere" (#!"$"! How do i write this f...ing accents on a german keybord in linux? :-) ) but there's no rule without an exception.

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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
9. Interesting,
Motherland implies, protection, security, nourishment. Fatherland implies strength, power, support.

Perhaps they are trying to appeal to nationalism for different reasons. You would protect mother, join the military. She provides security and nourishment so you wont complain about the neighborhood spy.

You would stand by father and listen to what he has to say. You will obey father more readily.

Just a thought.
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aion Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. I tend to agree...
In the animal kingdom, is it normally the females which/who expand territory? I don't believe so. I cannot claim to have knowledge of every species, so there may be exceptions to the rule.

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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
12. I refer to America as my country.
"Homeland" has too many connotations with Fatherland and Motherland for me.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. You know you're right.
Edited on Wed Jun-08-05 09:38 AM by fasttense
When I first heard the term Homeland security, it reminded me of Nazi Germany.
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Protagoras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
16. They all creep me out.
Closest I've ever come accepting anything like it is "This land is your land...this land is my land"

How about OURLAND!

Creepy jackbooted thug way of talking about things.
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Surely the all powerful
Bart Simpson renamed the US as Bonerland.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Me too!
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
17. Slavic languages have the word for 'motherland' as
Edited on Wed Jun-08-05 10:53 AM by igil
one word, not a compound. Most of their words are similar, so I'll stick with Russian. Russian 'rodina', for example. It's where you're born. It's what your attachment is to. Russian "rodnoi" is 'maternal', but also 'native' (as in 'native language'), but Polish uses rodzinny for 'native' (clearly parallel to Russian rodina). /rod-/ is a root that yields a lot of word--rodit' 'to give birth', rod 'clan', rody 'childbirth, delivery'. I can't think of a Slavic word for 'homeland'.

Russian otchestvo, which looks like it should mean 'fatherland' (otets = father), means patrimony. There's votchina, one's home-estate (obviously only used by the landed, and a term long since gone from daily use.) Otechestvo means 'fatherland', and isn't much used; the derived adjective 'otechestvennyi' winds up frequently translated as "patriotic". Mostly used in Otechestvennaia voina 'Patriotic War', i.e., WWII (although I'm fairly sure I've seen it used in previous eras for WWI and the Napoleonic War). There's a fairly famous quasi-dissident song by a 'bard' in which "Mozart doesn't choose his otechestvo", and I've never been able to figure out if it's because Mozart's German(-speaking), and otechestvo is a better equivalent of 'Vaterland', or if there's another reason--perhaps one can choose a fatherland, but not a motherland? Perhaps there's a colder relationship implied, or a more authoritarian one? Dunno.

The fatherland/patriotic connection isn't surprising: _patria_ is the Latin equivalent, and the word Latin-derived languages inherit their words for mother/father/homeland/country from: Fr. patrie, Spanish patria, and the root for our word 'patriotic'. And, of course, _pater_ is Latin 'father'.

English is a trash-heap of a language. We translate and borrow all kinds of terms. Neither motherland, fatherland, nor homeland strike the same chords with me that Vaterland, la patrie, or rodina strike, and I'm a non-native speaker of German, French, and Russian (respectively). The closest I can come is "my country".

I think of homeland as the equivalent of German Heimat 'homeland'. Rather a colorless term. I'm not sure songs are written for one's Heimat. No family connection there. Oddly enough, I'm not sure that 'patria' in Spanish has any great sentimentality or fervor attached to it, either.

The use of the terms may reflect the relative importance of father versus mother, or the relative importance of the centralized state when the terms suddenly became important, or something else. But rodina has been kicking around as an important term in Russian even since before feudalism was all that widespread. In any event, hisorical linguists tend to make bad psychologists, and I've never met an anthropologist whose linguistic work I've been able to tolerate.
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
20. It wasn't until the BFEE took over in 01 that
the creepy term "homeland" became part of the lexicon. I have never heard a commentator question it or suggest that it has facist overtones. I refuse to use it. I was brought up at a time when "domestic" was the word of choice when discussing matters within the US, and I'll stick to that. No "homeland" for me.
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B3Nut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. Actually...
"homeland" was the South African term for the ethic reserves the white establishment relegated the blacks to. It was one of the things that sprang to mind when I first heard the term "Homeland Security"...I was a GOP'er back then, and yet was creeped out by that. One of the first holes knocked in the facade for me, so to speak.

From http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~cale/cs201/aparthe... :

"In 1951, the Bantu Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government in African reserves, known as ``homelands.'' These homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). All political rights, including voting, held by an African were restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of the homeland, losing their citizenship in South Africa and any right of involvement with the South African Parliament which held complete hegemony over the homelands. From 1976 to 1981, four of these homelands were created, denationalizing nine million South Africans. The homeland administrations refused the nominal independence, maintaining pressure for political rights within the country as a whole. Nevertheless, Africans living in the homelands needed passports to enter South Africa: aliens in their own country."

Another wrench in the pile....

Todd in Beerbratistan
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
21. When did United States of America or USA go out of style?
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. When bush was selected by the Supremes. n/t
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
25. i just had a post
where i saw the democrats, (motherstate, socialism) lol taking away individualism and republicans, patriarch society, a father land, dictating to me how to live life. white male telling me the choices i am to make. not going to happen on either side. time for a third party, what,.......the rebellious yongest child, leave me the fuck alone, allow me to make my own choices, i assure you i can do better, than you doing for me.
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