• O. L. Nikulina
Keywords: cultural awareness, taboo, omen, symbol, sign, talisman, custom, tradition, etymology, marine superstitions


Nowadays intercultural awareness and cooperation of people working together that have different cultural background is highly spread and very effective. It is of utmost importance and relevance to those who work in international teams, a good example of such a team is a ship’s crew in a multinational or mixed crew. While working together in one crew on board one ship people have to communicate and solve professional problems 24 hours a day. For successful communication they not only have to know the universal language, English, which is adopted as maritime language worldwide, they also have to be in the know of customs and traditions, symbols and signs, taboos and omens related to different countries and cultures, which is essential at sea, to escape possible psychological misunderstanding and even collisions while achieving their common target. That is why we decided to concentrate our research on the origin and etymology of marine superstitions. The history of marine superstitions dates back to the very first days of seafaring. At the time when the first ships appeared and the first voyages started to be organized, the mariners didn’t have any maps or navigational aids, they relied mostly on their intuition. The seamen of those times wanted to prove that the Earth is round, which explains the fact that great Columbus sailed west to reach the coasts of India while in reality he reached the coasts of America, that’s why the locals are still called Indians. The existence of this continent the Europeans were not aware of. Needless to say that such long expeditions required not only a solid stock of food and water on board but also psychological support for the people in the open ocean that could not communicate with their relatives and families, the mariners were restricted to the company of only their crew fellows. The big helper in this situation were believes. That is how the marine superstitions began to appear. They still exist on board every ship until now, but not all the seamen can explain them. That is why the aim of this paper is to investigate and systematize the terms and phrases reflecting marine superstitions according to their functions and attribution to the notions that they suggest: people, animals, objects, traditions. This is the first attempt of such classification made in the domain of maritime English not only in Ukraine. The methods used were mostly historical comparative and contemporary comparative. The suggested paper will hopefully trigger the interest not only of the seafarers and people related to the maritime business, but also to all those interested in etymology of marine/nautical ESP.


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4. Beavis B. & McGloskey R.G. Salty Dog Talk. The Nautical Origin of Everyday Expressions. Sheridan House, London: New York : Granada, 1983. 96 p.
How to Cite
Nikulina, O. L. (2020). ORIGIN AND ETYMOLOGY OF MARINE SUPERSTITIONS. New Philology, 2(80), 83-87. https://doi.org/10.26661/2414-1135-2020-80-2-13