German: Frau-Weibliche?

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
This is more of a question for German language but focusing on a peculiarity but also for a historical account. Namely, this is what I'm asking about


man
German: Man adjective:männliche

woman
German: Frau adjective:weibliche

So, I would like to know is, is there a word in German like frauliche,fräuliche being used as something belonging to a woman. And in what context is Weib used for a woman and why
did Weib replace Frau in the case of an adjective.
 
  • dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    That still doesn't answer the irregural adjective form. I only heard that Weibe is a derogatory term, but it is possible that in some dialects is a synonym for wife. That would be like
    if English would have woman with no womanly but woman-wifely.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    That still doesn't answer the irregural adjective form. I only heard that Weibe is a derogatory term, but it is possible that in some dialects is a synonym for wife. That would be like
    if English would have woman with no womanly but woman-wifely.
    There is nothing irregular about weiblich. The modern word Frau is a polite form with the literal meaning lady. As it happens often, once a polite form has become the regularly used form, it loses its connotation and takes over the meaning of the original word. And with Frau taking over the meaning of Weib (the cognate of English wife), the latter assumed a derogatory meaning. There was no reason for the same shift to happen with the adjective and the regularly derived adjective weiblich has never been replaced. The original OHG form is wiblih.
    English would have woman with no womanly but woman-wifely.
    That is indeed what it had. The Old English word for female was wiflic, an obvious cognate of the aforementioned OHG wiblih. The OE word for woman was wif (again an obvious cognate of OHG wip, modG Weib). The modE woman has developed out of a contracted form of OE wifmann (wif+mann).
     
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