In KHM 1812/1857 #19 "Von den Fischer und siine Fru" the fisher uses the following words to summon the fish:
»Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!
Buttje! Buttje in de See!
Mine Fru, de Ilsebill,
Will nich so, as ick wol will.«
- What do the words Mandje! Mandje ! mean?
- Does each word mean the same thing, or does each word mean something different?
- Do the exclamation points have meanings in the 1st line?
- Is the fishers first name "Tim" and his last name is "Te" or "The"?
- Is there any evidence that the Low German “je" ending was shifted from the Latin “dō” ending?
- Is the analysis correct, or am I way off?
Possibly it means: “Hello here is! Here stand I, Tim Te!”
I have seen some translators say that it is a variation of “Männchen,” High German for “little man” or “man-let” (with the diminutive). Others say it is from “mon Dieu” (my God!). These explanations seem rather unlikely.Link to Bolte here.
My theory is the following: The Low German or Pommeranian dialect that the story is written is very similar to the Dutch language. Both are Western Germanic Languages.
Mandje is the Dutch diminuitive of "mand," meaning “basket.” While “basket” seems to be unrelated, it does lead to “Mande.”
Mande is a Danish term derived from "mand" meaning “man.” "Mande" comes from the latin “mandō” meaning *manus (hand, handwriting, power) +dō (I give, I offer or render, I yield surrender, concede).
Mander is also French for the Latin mandō and also means to “command, summon, or to inform, to send news of.”
The Latin mandō when used as a verb also means: “I order, I command, I put in hand, I confide, I entrust.”
So in this story, the fisherman says “Mandje!, Mandje!” twice. With an exclamation point we should not forget. The first “Mandje!” can then mean: “I summon you!, I command you!” The second “Mandje!” can then mean: “I offer myself!, I confide!” and then the fisherman says who he is - he says his own name: “Tim(pe) Te!”
“Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!” can mean:
“I summon you! I offer myself! [Here I am/ my name is] Timpe Te!” or
“I command you! I surrender! [Here I am/ my name is] Timpe Te!”
“I summon you! I offer myself! Timpe Te!”
There is probably a more direct way to get to the Latin “mandō” that does not take the detours through Holland and Denmark, but that is how I got there. There is most likely a direct route that goes from Latin “mandō” directly to the Low German “mandje.” It is certainly possible that the Latin “dō” was shifted to the Low German “je” over the course of time. It makes more sense if it is an invocation to summon the fish rather than a word for “little man.” It also may be a good example of why translating the repetitions the same number of times is important (sometimes if a word is written and repeated 4x in the original, the translation will only write it 3x ignoring the 4th repition). If my theory is correct, each word has a different meaning.
It is said that “Timpe” is the fisherman’s first name. “Te” is his last name. So he is called “Tim Te.” There are still people in Northern Germany whose last name is “Te” or “The.”