Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I met a long-time couple recently, and I frequently heard the wife calling her husband "Mensch."

As an example, at one point she asked

"Was ist das, Mensch?"

and at another

"Ach, Du Mensch!"

It was said in an exasperated, yet still clearly affectionate, manner.

(I'd seen it translated in other contexts — e.g., in a libretto for Alban Berg's Wozzeck — as an insult; hence my confusion as to what the word means.)

share|improve this question
2  
Please take a look at leo - the translations with exclamation mark (Mensch! = Blimey, Gee, Gosh...) seems to be the translations you look for. –  knut Feb 12 '12 at 23:01
2  
@knut: Not really—the "Mensch" didn't really seem to have that sense. It was used too often during the conversation, and it was always being addressed specifically to the husband. –  aeismail Feb 13 '12 at 8:17
1  
@aeismail: I am pretty sure, that she didn't name her husband "Mensch". I guess it's more like a tic to use it that often. –  Feroc Feb 14 '12 at 15:31
    
Shouldn't it be "muasi" instead? Or maybe it was her husband's name which sounded like "mensch". –  user508 Feb 15 '12 at 13:02
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I never heard that in this way you conjecture. And I can hardly imagine that this is just regional.

Mensch is used as interjection, especially when you're surprised about something.

It means gosh, gee, ... LEO

Alternatively you can say Menschenskind(er). LEO AGAIN

Both sentence you give sounds odd to me. Maybe they fit in context, but I would use it that way:

Mensch, daran hätte ich nicht gedacht.

Note also Mensch Meier.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would say, that this is just a personal habit of your friend, it's neither used in regular German, nor did I ever heard it colloquially.

But I guess the best way to find out is asking her...

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.