It is a cognate because English was originally a Germanic language and
it is the same term in both. It did not appear in English by accident
and it was not borrowed; it is just the Anglo-Saxon term. In
Anglo-Saxon "man" did mean "adult human." Now its primary meaning is
"adult male." Check the OED.
And it is not "das Mann"; it is "der Mann" or it is "man" if you mean
the impersonal pronoun. Gender is often arbitrary in German but
sometimes it is connected. In English the word "man" has been
historically used however it was most convenient. No one says "my
sister is a lovely man." And "all men are created equal" did not mean
women could vote or own property.
It doesn't matter if you buy it or not; it is in the language, not in
you. Gender does not refer just to words in languages that have
gendered nouns. Grammatical gender is not the same as the term in
culture, where it refers to socially defined roles, and it is now
specifically distinguished from "sex." It has long been recognized that
what are called "masculine" and "feminine" characteristics do not
necessarily match genetic sex difference. That is a very long-term
meaning and is no more up to you to choose or not than it is up to you
to decide whether "cow" refers to a four-legged domestic farm animal
from which we get milk and beef or a red cloud in the sky. Words have
arbitrary meanings but they are not individual choices.
All this is just easily accessible information in dictionaries and
linguistics, not me.
>>> Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> 07/11/07 12:17 AM >>>
Just because the englsh MAN is a cognate of the german MANN
does not mean that the German word carries any of the same meanings
or connotations. In German Das Mann, as I take it, means HUMAN.
The word with sexual dimension is MENSCH.
Using the word GENDER here is very confusing. Strcitly
speaking, gender is an attribute of words -- words can be male,
female, neuter. People are indeified by sex, male or female.
I know that the politically correct police have tried to coopt
gender for various power and control porpoises, but I for
one am not buying it.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles McElwain" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: a Jeremiah ...?
> I'm not sure why you refer to the German impersonal "you" as
> "annoyingly gendered".
> At least in German, what is commonly - and annoyingly - used in
> English as "man" becomes "*Das* Mann" - *neuter* gender.
> My own prejudices were surprised when I expected "Der Mann", and
> learned "Das Mann".
> At 12:36 PM -0400 7/10/07, Nancy Gish wrote:
> >But that is Diana's point: in German the impersonal "you" would be
> >written as "Mann": annoyingly gendered but accurate. I am not sure
> >matters that he chose the "you" but "one" is a bit stuffy in a
> >conversation. In any case, according to Valerie Eliot, "his
> >of the sledding, for example, was taken verbatim from a conversation
> >had with this niece and confidant of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth."
> >Eliot was staying in Germany and spoke German, but she may well have
> >spoken English. So it is not clear whether or not Marie simply said
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