10

Mein Wassermelone

Das ist Meine Wassermelone

Mein

I saw that meme on Imgur and wondered about the usage of Meine and Mein, which lead me to this answer. From what I can tell from that answer, mein is for singular male, and meine is for everything else. The meme is using two forms of mein, so I was wondering if it was accurate? If it is accurate how so; since there's only one cat in the image?

  • The image isn't working for me. Can you describe the meme, what does it say? – BruceWayne Nov 3 '18 at 10:09
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    Updated, thanks to @andrew-t. – Blerg Nov 3 '18 at 14:27
13

No, this usage of "mein" is not correct. It has to be "meine" since the grammatical gender of "(die) Wassermelone" is female in German. You might possibly think it could be "meine" because "(die) Katze", which is female in German, is expressing this sentence, but the gender of the speaker doesn't matter at all.

So the grammatically correct version of the meme is

Das ist meine Wassermelone. Meine.


From what I can tell from that answer, mein is for singular male, and meine is for everything else.

"Mein" is also used for singular neuter, as in

Das ist mein Haus.


If it is accurate how so; since there's only one cat in the image?

Even if there were multiple cats in the image, the inflection of the possessive pronoun would still solely depend on the gender of "Wassermelone" and thus the sentence would have to read

Das ist unsere Wassermelone. Unsere.

  • Some mistakes are common so they are an essential part of colloquial German like omitting the final e in verbs with ich e.g., ich hab'/ich hab. Is this incorrect usage of Mein is common in German? Or else why would supposedly a native speaker do such a mistake? Only a typo? – Abdullah Nov 3 '18 at 7:22
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    @User This is not a case of being lazy in speech, and I don’t think it’s dialect. Nobody with a decent grasp of the German language would say mein instead of meine. Maybe it refers to something I don’t understand. Maybe there are English memes with a similar structure, like »This is my watermelon. Mine.«? Otherwise, it could be like suggested in Beta’s answer, but I don’t think so. I’d say it copies something else. – Philipp Nov 3 '18 at 8:57
  • Though, using wrong grammar is quiet common for cat memes. On the other hand, the grammar of the preceding sentence is too good for intentionally wrong cat-meme-grammar. – Holger Nov 4 '18 at 14:17
  • If I would want to use wrong grammar here, I would say "MEINS" in this case, and not "MEIN". Because "meins" is a colloquial expression and means something like "this is mine!!" - but that too isn't very common, it sounds infantile, and it's certainly not grammatically correct. – Michael Nov 4 '18 at 20:47
  • I think although the grammar is wrong in the meme, the joke comes from the similarity to the word "nein", the most famous and most made-fun-of german word. I can almost hear the cat say "mein, mein, MEIN!" – Kaspar Scherrer Nov 5 '18 at 15:55
10

I want to add to the previous answer. Such constructions are not always necessarily wrong. Endingless forms of possessives are sometimes used in special circumstances.

From Duden, Die Grammatik I quote:

Das nachgestellte attributive Possessivpronomen ist in bestimmten Fällen (in der Bibelsprache und in der Poesie, besonders im Anruf) endungslos:

Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel... (Gebet). Nimm auf meine Seel' in die Hände dein... (Uhland). Schöne Schwester mein ... (Penzoldt).

From Hammer's German Grammar and Usage I quote:

Endingless forms of the possessive are occasionally found in set phrases, archaic expressions or poetic language:

Dein ist mein Herz!

Die Welt ist unser.

Die Rache ist mein.

  • 2
    Important to note the parenthesized text: (in the bible and poetic works, [...]). Not really in day to day usage – lucidbrot Nov 4 '18 at 11:13
7

This could actually be interpreted as correct, if you think of the single "mein" as a shortened sentence, where the longer version was something like.

Die Melone ist mein.

Here "mein" is not inflected, because it isn't in an attributive position, and thus shouldn't be inflected either.

This is also what you'd expect a very small child to say, when in conflict with another child over a toy: "MEIN"

  • 9
    @User »Die Melone ist mein« is antiquated language, but it’s possible. A more understandable example would be the German equivalent of »Victory is mine«: Der Sieg ist mein, where meiner would be correct. Die Melone ist mein would be possible in that context, but as a single word in the meme, mein seems out of place and incorrect. edit: I just saw your answer after my comment. – Philipp Nov 3 '18 at 9:02
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    This is quite correct. Some aspects of slightly antiquated language use and childish use are also evident in popularising this use, in memes, like in LOTR Gollum Main Schatz, mein. – LangLangC Nov 3 '18 at 10:37
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    It may be worth mentioning that it can be thought of as a short form of "mein Eigentum". Anyway, it is comparatively often used to express an emphasis on "mine alone", as in "Mein, und nur mein!", especially in literature. This is the gist of the use in the meme, IMHO. – Philip Klöcking Nov 3 '18 at 11:13
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    @LangLangC Yes, I thought of Gollum independent of your comment. It may be an antiquated word, but there is nothing childish with the word itself - while it may be more often used by children. I think the comment of Philip Klöcking between ours is very good to the point. It's a valid sentence, as is "Mine." in English. Alice: "Who's apple is this?" Bob: "Mine." The meaning is similar, but differs something like tone or style. – Volker Siegel Nov 3 '18 at 15:16
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    A version with "Meine" seems to be more common (google "dies ist meine wassermelone", images). I'd say it's a mistake made by an English native speaker who thought of "mine". – Peter A. Schneider Nov 3 '18 at 17:03
4

As has been said, it is incorrect grammatically.

A grammatically correct sentence would be inapproporiate on a Lolcat image, so this is still sort-of correct.

However, "mein" is archaic, which isn't what a Lolcat image usually conveys; you want silly and childlike. And children tend to deviate not into archaic but into gender-neutral speech, so a German child would say "MEINS".
It's also an allusion to "das ist alles meins", where the object is "alles", which is neutral - it's packing a hidden meaning into the expression, giving the unexpected twist that makes us humans laugh.

2

TL;DR:

NEIN.

To a German speaker, it mostly feels grating and awkward, since, as mentioned, "mein/meiner/meine" are dependent on noun gender.

2

I think the point of that meme is to be a reference to the "Vong language" and hence misspelling Nein as Mein.

0

DIE WASSERMELONE IST MEINS

MEINS

would sound right to me as a native German speaker. Why? I don't have a clue. German is so weird.

  • Native speaker here, too. This is wrong and sounds awful. While you can use "Meins!" as an exclamation, the first sentence is just plain wrong. – Polygnome Nov 4 '18 at 12:59
  • Where are you from? I found a discussion corroborating my version: forum.wordreference.com/threads/meins-nein-meines.2084170 – nalply Nov 4 '18 at 14:49
  • @naply Meins/Meines is a different discussion then meine/mein – Polygnome Nov 4 '18 at 19:46

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