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mensch

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mensch

Postby uncronopio » Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:08 pm

From Wikipedia:
In Yiddish (from which the word has migrated into American English), mensch roughly means "a good person". A mensch is a particularly good person, like "a stand-up guy," a person with the qualities one would hope for in a dear friend or trusted colleague. According to author and Yiddish popularist Leo Rosten,

[a] mensch is a someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being "a real mensch" is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous. (Rosten, Leo. 1968. The Joys of Yiddish. New York: Pocket Books. 237)


Menschlikhkeit is the properties which make one a mensch.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." -- Mark Twain
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:02 am

Funny that in German, where Yiddish got it from, Mensch only means person, be they good or bad (but be good for Christmas' sake!).

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Postby frank » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:48 pm

While in Dutch -- or rather in my region -- there are two meanings for "mens" (<mensch), both with an article of their own:
de mens: human being (neutral)
het mens: an annoying (older) woman (pejorative).
[no idea how widespread it is, but a few seasons ago, there was a major theater play over here called "Het mens", so i guess it's widely understood.]
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Postby Spiff » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:18 pm

Frank, I reckon everyone in Flanders knows what "het mens" means.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:20 pm

Spaceman and Frank : I thought «het» was the undeclined definite article in Dutch, corresponding to the English «the» ; would not then «het mens» be ambiguous ? (Timorous type that I am, I shan't say what the phrase would mean in Swedish, as that could lead to certain difficulties....)

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Postby Spiff » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:13 am

"Het" is the neuter definite article, whereas "de" is used with either male or female words. "Het mens" is only used for women, though, not for men.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:23 pm

So you chaps neuter them first ! All my prejudices concerning the Dutch criminal system are therewith confirmed !...

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