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Old 15-06-2015, 06:18   #1
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Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Some people don't care much about words -- and that's a perfectly reasonable life choice.

Other people do -- and that would be me, probably as the result of spending most of my adult life struggling with new languages, plus being the disappointingly inarticulate descendant of four generations of writers.

I've bored some of you already with my opinions about the use of the word "rope".

Not leaving well enough alone, I'm now going to bore you with my opinions about the word "stateroom".

For full disclosure, my agenda on sailing terminology is twofold: (1) terms should be used precisely, because it makes for better communication and understanding; but (2) terms should not be used as pretentious synonyms for land terms, adding no meaning, just to show off that we are sailors. Actually these two points are entirely consistent with one another, because a term used as a pretentious synonym is not adding any meaning, so can't be said to be used precisely.

I particularly hate the pretentious synonym thing, and so I condemn the insistence on "line" as a synonym for the perfectly good -- but more specific in its application -- word "rope", and "head" as a synonym for "toilet" ("the heads" are, rather, the space in which the toilet, or bucket , is installed).

Now to "stateroom". How in the world did this get into our vocabularies? State Room is a Room of State, a grand room in a palace, possibly stretched to cover a really grand cabin on a really big ship, made for the queen, like the presidential suite in a top class hotel. How could anyone think that this could be an appropriate term for a tiny, dark, spartan, cabin in a little, plastic sailboat?

My guess is that it's marketing BS evolved through several generations of constantly inflating absurdity. From Room of State on the royal yacht, it became a pretentious term for expensive cabins on transatlantic steamships, on to cruise ship cabins, and finally some over-exuberant advertising copywriter got hold of it for some boat brochure, somewhere, from which this disease spread to the lips of some cruisers.

To my ear, you might as well call the en-suite master bedroom in a three bed, two bath ranch house, the "royal apartments", and the little eat-in kitchen the "banqueting hall". Does it not sound like that to anyone else?

Whew, glad I got that off my chest!
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Old 15-06-2015, 06:59   #2
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

LOL, you are right about bedrooms on boats (an area of expertise perhaps? ). "Cabin" (owners' or guest) is about as far as my vocabulary extends when it comes to anything other than huge super yachts. Lowly crew are given space merely in "quarters".

"Head" is not pretentious though. The term specifically refers to the area on a boat designated to carry out certain bodily functions (best ladylike term I can come up with ). It contains a toilet (which could be a marine one, composting, portable etc) or, as you mention, even a bucket.

Same with the term "galley". This is specifically a kitchen on a boat.

"Salon/saloon" I can't quite get my head around though (no pun intended).

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Old 15-06-2015, 08:36   #3
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

for some reason, formosa 41 and their ilk have a bedroom labelled master stateroom. as it is only enclosed and private room in entire boat, it is a lil superfluous, and somewhat pompous label. i try to avoid that label, but it was attached to the marque before i bought mine, so......
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Old 15-06-2015, 09:24   #4
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"



The terminology of boats is a fascinating subject.

As you point out, the places where we sleep on boats are called different things by different people: "Stateroom" or "Cabin" and lately "Bedroom."

Then there are the things one sleeps on: "Bed" or "Bunk" or "Berth."
___________

Notice to Mariners: Some Tongue-in-cheek humor follows.

What qualifies a sleeping room on a boat as a "stateroom?"

Answer: "It must have a writing desk."

Why?
It must have a writing desk, in order to have a place on which to put the inkwell and blotter when one is writing all the postcards one will send to one's friends and family when in the next port.

The photo below is of what I think truly qualifies as a "Stateroom." It is on a classic yacht made in 1912 and is only 88ft long. It is an Abeking & Rassmussen boat, Koningen2. It is a beautiful boat, in my opinion.
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	YW AR 1912 88ft Konigin2  WOOD $2300K Stateroom 1.jpg
Views:	163
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ID:	103772  
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Old 15-06-2015, 09:43   #5
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Surely it depends on your point of view:


If you're selling it's a 'Stateroom' if you're buying, then it's a pilot-berth
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Old 15-06-2015, 09:57   #6
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

I simply suggest you get a dictionary if you want to analize over language :>):
state·room
ˈstātˌro͞om,ˈstātˌro͝om/
noun
noun: stateroom; plural noun: staterooms; noun: state-room; plural noun: state-rooms
  1. a private compartment on a ship.
    • a captain's or superior officer's room on a ship.
    • North American
      a private compartment on a train.



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Old 15-06-2015, 10:16   #7
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

I'm still trying to figure out what all the ropes are, now you throw THIS at me.
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Old 15-06-2015, 10:27   #8
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I simply suggest you get a dictionary
How about a MARINE dictionary. Anyway one which's not written by landlubbers
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Old 15-06-2015, 10:29   #9
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Nautical terminology is perhaps the oldest jargon in the English language, so old that it actually evolved a bit separately from modern english from a common middle-english root.

Jargon in all fields has the goal of increased precision in communication, but is generally used more to convey mastery of and status in the subject matter rather than to impart real precision. I work in information technology, which is also steeped in its own specific jargon, so I have to put up with tiresome jargon-infested dominance displays daily.

If you want to use language precisely, then you should use nautical terms for nautical things. This is especially important when crewing with strangers, because words like port and starboard mean entirely different things than left and right, and because knowing the specific names of objects is critical to safety. Referring to sheets by color is a really hassle in an emergency.

If you want to be understood by non-experts, then you should use the terms they will understand. I tend to respect the listener by speaking to them in terms they'll understand and not presuming to teach unless I've been asked to act in that role, which I do assume to be the case when I'm introducing people to sailing. But if they're going to work with me, they need to be competent in the jargon of the work. Otherwise they're just passengers.

I joined the Navy at age 18 and have been using nautical terminology my entire adult life, as it is required for shipboard life, so I find it quite natural and have taught my children to use nautical terminology onboard our boat. But I switch immediately away from it when my goal is to be understood. And we don't use some of the toilet terms that are common in the Navy.

To the immediate subject, a stateroom is a centuries-old term for a senior officer's quarters on a ship and specifically refers to a compartment (not room) which is not shared with anyone other than than perhaps the captain's spouse if aboard. That is what makes it distinct from a cabin, which is a shared berthing.

Junior officers shared cabins (although they often referred to them as their staterooms), which are multi-person but still relatively private and small compartments.

Enlisted crew slept in berthings, were large open-space multi-person sleeping compartments.

There's no specific meaning on private recreational craft other than superficial similarity to those compartments on larger professionally crewed ships. I think a reasonable distinction for private boats would be that a stateroom includes a private head, and a cabin does not. I would call anything with more than one rack (bunk) a berthing.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:38   #10
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
Nautical terminology is perhaps the oldest jargon in the English language, so old that it actually evolved a bit separately from modern english from a common middle-english root.

Jargon in all fields has the goal of increased precision in communication, but is generally used more to convey mastery of and status in the subject matter rather than to impart real precision. I work in information technology, which is also steeped in its own specific jargon, so I have to put up with tiresome jargon-infested dominance displays daily.

If you want to use language precisely, then you should use nautical terms for nautical things. This is especially important when crewing with strangers, because words like port and starboard mean entirely different things than left and right, and because knowing the specific names of objects is critical to safety. Referring to sheets by color is a really hassle in an emergency.

If you want to be understood by non-experts, then you should use the terms they will understand. I tend to respect the listener by speaking to them in terms they'll understand and not presuming to teach unless I've been asked to act in that role, which I do assume to be the case when I'm introducing people to sailing. But if they're going to work with me, they need to be competent in the jargon of the work. Otherwise they're just passengers.

I joined the Navy at age 18 and have been using nautical terminology my entire adult life, as it is required for shipboard life, so I find it quite natural and have taught my children to use nautical terminology onboard our boat. But I switch immediately away from it when my goal is to be understood. And we don't use some of the toilet terms that are common in the Navy.

To the immediate subject, a stateroom is a centuries-old term for a senior officer's quarters on a ship and specifically refers to a compartment (not room) which is not shared with anyone other than than perhaps the captain's spouse if aboard. That is what makes it distinct from a cabin, which is a shared berthing.

Junior officers shared cabins (although they often referred to them as their staterooms), which are multi-person but still relatively private and small compartments.

Enlisted crew slept in berthings, were large open-space multi-person sleeping compartments.

There's no specific meaning on private recreational craft other than superficial similarity to those compartments on larger professionally crewed ships. I think a reasonable distinction for private boats would be that a stateroom includes a private head, and a cabin does not. I would call anything with more than one rack (bunk) a berthing.
Extremely interesting post.

I have never heard professional mariners refer to any cabin on a ship as a "stateroom". I have always heard them call compartments for sleeping "cabins", if they are enclosed, whether there is one or multiple berths in it. Living quarters consisting of more than one space are "quarters". But this is just what I have heard so can't say that it's authoritative.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:44   #11
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I simply suggest you get a dictionary if you want to analize over language :>):
state·room
ˈstātˌro͞om,ˈstātˌro͝om/
noun
noun: stateroom; plural noun: staterooms; noun: state-room; plural noun: state-rooms
  1. a private compartment on a ship.
    • a captain's or superior officer's room on a ship.
    • North American
      a private compartment on a train.



Before spouting off about words I usually look first at all available dictionaries

But I do take them with a grain of salt, too, especially if it's Webster's after the second edition, or any of the increasingly terrible derivatives. For me, only the OED is really authoritative, and that's because it is entirely based on actual citations from literature, which are given.

This dictionary entry is not very helpful. And the "private compartment on a train" is obviously just the kind of advertising hype I was talking about.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:48   #12
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Extremely interesting post.

I have never heard professional mariners refer to any cabin on a ship as a "stateroom". I have always heard them call compartments for sleeping "cabins", if they are enclosed, whether there is one or multiple berths in it. Living quarters consisting of more than one space are "quarters". But this is just what I have heard so can't say that it's authoritative.
Interesting. In the U.S. Navy, "Quarters" referred to ashore facilities, where the aboard terms are never used.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:48   #13
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
LOL, you are right about bedrooms on boats (an area of expertise perhaps? ). "Cabin" (owners' or guest) is about as far as my vocabulary extends when it comes to anything other than huge super yachts. Lowly crew are given space merely in "quarters".

"Head" is not pretentious though. The term specifically refers to the area on a boat designated to carry out certain bodily functions (best ladylike term I can come up with ). It contains a toilet (which could be a marine one, composting, portable etc) or, as you mention, even a bucket.

Same with the term "galley". This is specifically a kitchen on a boat.

"Salon/saloon" I can't quite get my head around though (no pun intended).

SWL
Agreed -- "the heads" contains the toilet; the "galley" contains the stove. "The head" is American (and Straylian?), but I think this is just a corruption of "heads".

But what is there is a shower as well as a toilet? Is it then a "shower room"? I've heard people say that, and I can't say that it's wrong at all. I think my Moody manual even calls them "bathrooms" -- also maybe right if bathing takes place, besides "bodily functions". But I personally call them "the heads".
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Old 15-06-2015, 12:27   #14
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

Might as well get used to it..... language is constantly evolving. It's just that way. Words developed from sounds; cave man A pointed to a root and said "poto" or something like that. Cave man B liked it and repeated it. Pretty soon the whole tribe used it.
Ain't wasn't a word but now it is.
a long list of new words made out of old words arrives every year. Recent words:


Wikihole


Mediaphile


Spambot


Prelationship


suckuppery


nostalgiate


Larboard, Starboard, Foc'sle etc evolve. It's all in flux. LOL, AWOL, MFLAO....


No point in nostalgiating about old nautical terms.... :>)
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Old 15-06-2015, 12:46   #15
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Re: Terminology -- "Stateroom"

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But I personally call them "the heads".
The head on our new boat (separate to the shower) has been referred to as "restroom" in the specs. Guess that beats "powder room", but perhaps I should tell them labelling it "dunny" would be more appropriate for an Aussie boat .

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