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  5. "Das Geschlecht"

"Das Geschlecht"

Translation:The gender

February 20, 2013



Why does "schlecht" mean bad, but "geschlecht" means gender..? ge?


As christian already said, it isn't related; but to expand:

Schlecht comes from the Old High German word sleht (from Proto-Germanic slihtaz) which actually meant smooth or even. It's related to the verb schleichen (to creep) and the adjective schlicht (plain). Anyway, the meaning of sleht shifted towards plain or easy in Middle High German times and then in New High German, sleht became schlecht and the meaning shifted again to mean substandard and finally bad. The Middle High German meaning is still kept in the phrase schlecht und recht.

Geschlecht on the other hand, has nothing to do with schlecht. It comes from the Middle High German word geslehte which in turn came from Old High German gislahti. This derived from the Old High German word slahta which meant type or sort. It's related to the modern German verb schlagen in the less common sense of to take after someone. Essentially, that which goes in the same direction.


Can you please elaborate on what "schlecht und recht" means? I've seen it translated as "after a fashion" but also as "more bad than good"...


"As good as possible" or "it's right, but still not good" or "it's good, but not that good."

Source: de.wikipedia.org


"Geschlecht" is not related to "schlecht".


I don't know if it is related or not. I can just say that, in my learning process, I am noticing quite a lot of words in german that are composed with particles and words wich have independent meaning and if we put togegher this particles and words the new word that comes up seems to have a kind of relation with the original words and particles.

For example:

  • Gesicht (face): prefix "ge" and noun "Sicht" (sight / view) As long as the face is our most visible part in a person, it makes kind of sense to me and I can see a kind of relationship with "Gesicht" (face).

  • Geschichte (history): prefix "ge" and noun "Schichten" (layers) Sounds to me like the different layers of history, the same as the geological layers wich also tell us the history of the planet.

  • Mitglied (member): preposition "mit" (with) and noun "Glied" (rank) Looks like to be within a rank or membership.

  • Schuhlöffel (shoehorn): "Schuh" (shoe) and "Löffel" (spoon) This one is so visual that, even if you don't know the meaning of the whole word, you can deduce its meaning.

  • Neugierig (curious): "Neu" (new) and "Gierig" (greedy) Someone curious is someone greedy for new knowledges or experiences.

Anyway, I like this way of learning new words analizing the words within the originals. Besides, I blelive it is a good method to remember the meaning of new vocabulary. :)


Firstly, viele dank for reminding me I am a total scrub for not thinking like this from the very start. Secondly, if I had to guess as to the origin or meaning - if there is one - concerning the use of "schlecht" here, it would be this; gender, especially when one is interacting with the other, is a source of conflict and troubles {see: any freakin' opera}. This could simply be commentary on relationships as a concept or just be some coincidence that let me go on a tangent for a hot minute on a forum.

Your decision, really. Tschüss.


Is it the same with "Lufthansa"? I know that "Luft" is air, but don't know about "Hansa".


Hansa is (or rather, was) the Hanseatic League: "a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coast of Northern Europe."


I use those kinds of mnemonics a lot when learning new words. In this case was: guessing gender is bad => geschlecht At least it works for me.


its not that hard to guess. only 50%


Not really. There are three genders: Maskulinum, Femininum, und Neutrum.


So you've realized that German is full of compound words? They're infamous for it! Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften is a nice one, as is Kaftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung, and you'll have to look up the "Floor stripper rentals" meme. Unlike German, English etymology is based on knowing the roots from many other languages.


Like in English: "Teacher" has nothing to do with "Tea"!


If you ask the British, Teacher and tea have a lot to do with each other :)


If you ask the British, Anything and tea have a lot to do with each other :)


Although I never assumed they were related, I used it as a mnemonic: It's "bad to guess" the gender => Geschlecht :-) I do this a lot when learning new German words. Of course, the goal is to eventually memorize the word without the trick.


You can use this site to find out more about word formation: http://goo.gl/vyjAU


Does this mean biological gender, grammatical gender or both?


Thanks for the confirmation, TrioLinguist.


I am curious whether "Das Geschlecht" indeed has all of the following meanings "gender", "generation", "family". Is it correct?


''darum, dass er von dem Hause und Geschlechte Davids war'', Luke 2:4 . Here I guess family or lineage(King James). Duolingo rejected ''lineage'' but dict.cc lists it.


To add to this: Apart from the biblical use, there is also 'das Adelsgeschlecht' = 'the noble family'/'nobility'. But aside from these two specific uses, 'Geschlecht' is usually used meaning 'gender'.


The new Langenscheidt © 2011 lists only sex and gender; the 1952 edition gives "sex; kind; species; race; family; generation; gender.

Shifting meaning? Or just different editors?


There's no shift in meaning. My Langenscheidt Muret-Sanders (Langenscheidt's most comprehensive English-German dictionary) still gives all of these meanings. When in doubt, the best place to check is http://www.duden.de.


Thanks! Yes, my Langenscheidt is just the Standard Dictionary -- about the right size to have in the chair with me for frequent reference, and still fit a sleeping cat in too.

Duden.de looks very useful, but my German isn't yet up to extracting the additional meanings from the text.


How do you translate "That gender" ?


The same way: das Geschlecht.


how do we know if "das" is "that" or "the"? Because I put "that" and it was marked wrong.


In general, you will find that for the purposes of the translation exercises--especially the isolated nouns--das, die, and der are best answered as "the", even though they can be used either way auf Deutsch.


Does this word also apply to grammatical gender?


Yes, Geschlecht can refer to biological gender/sex or grammatical gender. Another word that exclusively refers to grammatical gender is the Latin Genus, but only educated speakers will be familiar with this term. When it comes to socially constructed gender, we use the English word Gender.


I do thank you for your answer, though as a high school Latin teacher I am familiar with "genus".

In fact, my familiarity with Latin is what drove my inquiry into whether "Geschlecht" is being used for grammatical gender, or if it only functions biologically.

Thanks again.


In German, either. In English, it depends. Traditionally, sex has to do with the mechanics of animal reproduction, gender with grammatical classification of nouns, pronouns and adjectives. Nowadays we have the added complication of reassigned or chosen sexuality, usually spoken of as "gender" options rather than "sex" options. But I'm pretty sure that for most people, most of the time, sex and gender are interchangeable - though I can't imagine anyone in their right mind would want to have gender with me.


" . . . have gender with . . . " That's a marvelous illustration of how "sex" and "gender" are not interchangeable.


this should be sex, not gender, right? It's also geschlächtliche Fortplantzung, sexual reproduction, not genderful reproduction or however you would translate this.


this should be sex, not gender, right?


Human gender (sociological) as distinct from sex (biological) is a fairly new distinction.

Geschlecht works for all of grammatical gender, human gender, and human sex.

(And historically also means something like "line of descent, heritage, tribe" as in Adelsgeschlecht, a noble family line.)

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