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die Mensch

date. 2017- ongoing

city. Weimar/Wroclaw/Kyiv


Die Mensch is by fact the word der Mensch written with a mistake, either more precisely translated from Ukrainian the word людина that means man/human in German, however in German it does not have female gender. Ukrainian is a one of a few languages, in which the word Mensch is of female gender.

Russian-american linguist and literature theorist Roman Jakobson in his essay Linguistic Aspects of Translation wrote that the initial question which arose in Slavic literature at its very beginning is the translator’s difficulty in preserving the symbolism of a gender, and the cognitive irrelevance of this difficulty. This appears to be the main topic of the earliest Slavic original work, the preface to the first translation of the Evangelarium, made in the early 860 A.D. by the founder of Slavic letters  and liturgy, Constantine the Philosopher. Greek, when translated into another language, cannot always be reproduced identically, and that happens to each language being translated. The nouns potamos (river) and aster (star) are masculine in Greek and feminine in Slavic languages. Thus the symbolic identification of rives with demons and of stars with angels in the Slavic translation of Matthew’s verses was lost.

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