0

Are the words "sie/sein(e)" are related, by analogy with blieb -> bleiben and by analogy with Old Slavonic "она/ona/sie" -> онаго/onago/sein(e)"?

quote: bible Genesis 2:22

Und Gott der HERR baute ein Weib aus der Rippe, die er vom Menschen nahm, und brachte sie zu ihm.

context:

21Da ließ Gott der HERR einen tiefen Schlaf fallen auf den Menschen, und er schlief ein. Und er nahm seiner Rippen eine und schloß die Stätte zu mit Fleisch. 22Und Gott der HERR baute ein Weib aus der Rippe, die er vom Menschen nahm, und brachte sie zu ihm. 23Da sprach der Mensch: Das ist doch Bein von meinem Bein und Fleisch von meinem Fleisch; man wird sie Männin heißen, darum daß sie vom Manne genommen ist.

Other bibles at same paragraph:

Textbible 1899: Alsdann gestaltete Jahwe Gott die Rippe, die er von dem Menschen genommen hatte, zu einem Weibe und brachte sie zu dem Menschen.

King James: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

  • Would say no. 'Sie' is in english 'She' or a formal 'You' or plural. 'Sein' is either maskulin "his" or a futur if "ist" (is). "Sie werden sein" -> "They will be" – Offler Mar 26 at 16:08
  • @Offler I had this question while reading the bible. "Sie" ist eine Rippe von "ihm". "Sie" ist "seine" Rippe. – – prostorech Mar 26 at 16:27
  • In the bible is a part where god takes a rib from Adam to create Eva. Adams rib = his rib = seine Rippe. In the Lutherbibel it is "Und Gott der HERR baute ein Weib aus der Rippe, die er vom Menschen nahm, und brachte sie zu ihm." God built a woman from a rib (vom Mensch -> therefore his = seine) and braught her (sie, the woman) to him (ihm, the human). – Offler Mar 26 at 16:35
  • @prostorech: as I lack knowledge of Old Slavonic: could you explain a bit more how your example is related (in itself) – Shegit Brahm Mar 27 at 12:24
  • @ShegitBrahm The Old Slavonic has the pronoun "она/ona", which means "En. she/De. sie". The Old Slavonic also has the short adjective "она/ona" and the full adjective "онаго/onago", which both mean "En. his/De. sein". – prostorech Mar 27 at 12:42
2

Before I get to the essence of your question—whether or not sie and sein are etymologically related—let me get out of the way that no translation of the Bible has any effect on that matter.

The oldest accepted translation of the Bible into German was made by Martin Luther in the 16th century. By this time, the language spoken in the area now known as Germany is already known to present-day historic linguists as Neuhochdeutsch or modern high German. Before that, in the Middle Ages, Mittelhochdeutsch or medieval high German was spoken and even prior to that Althochdeutsch (old high German) was the collection of dialects at the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. The German language thus already had centuries of evolution meaning pronoun words were known and fixed by the time Luther translated the bible. Furthermore, the original text that Luther translated is probably at least two millenia older than him and was originally written in Hebrew. Luther might have punned while translating the Bible but that cannot be used to construct etymological relations.


To answer the actual question, a peek into the etymological dictionary by Wolfgang Pfeifer, which is made available by DWDS.de is often helpful. However, the sentences are often hard to understand, even for natives. This dictionary traces sie, the singular pronoun, back to an old pronoun stem s-. This stem is noted to have been used also as an alternative form of the demonstrative pronouns (now der/die/das) but these ‘were given up early and replaced (in old high German prior to tradition) adapted to the other cases by analogy’ (source). A lot of the additional text concerns how the formal forms changed over time.

Sein, the pronoun meaning his, is traced back to the root *se ("him-/her-/itself"), whose locative *sei is adjectivised by the suffix -no. While si and *se may look similar, the text does not note this relationship nor any reference to the demonstrative pronouns.

So without diving all too deeply into the labyrinth of etymology, it already seems rather clear that the two derive from different roots that probably trace back to different Proto-Indo-European words. Thus, there is no relation.

  • Please don't mix up "The earliest known cognate of 'sie' appears in Gothic" and "The German word 'sie' comes from Gothic". The first is correct, the second is wrong. – sgf May 1 at 15:24
  • @sgf I invite you to make a corresponding edit to improve my answer =) – Jan May 1 at 15:26
  • Is this okay? I also added the proposed original meaning of se – sgf May 1 at 15:31
  • @sgf Yes, this looks fine ^^ – Jan May 1 at 15:34
0

If you are asking whether these words are etymologically connected the answer is probably no. "Sie" (she, they, you polite) is from a Germanic demonstrative pronoun si. "Sein" (his) is from the reflexive pronoun reflected also by "sich".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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