Mann vs. Mensch

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Traveosa, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Traveosa New Member

    English - United States
    Hello. I was just wondering which version of man I should use in German (if it even matters)

    The terms in question are "Der Mann" and "Der Mensch"

    My current thoughts of this would be "Der Mann" for talking about just a person (look at the man), and "Der Mensch" if talking about humans (man has progressed far since the 18th century).

    Is this correct?
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Hi Traveosa,

    and welcome to the forums.

    You're quite correct. "Mensch" focuses on the "species" of human beings, e.g. "Der Mensch ist ein vernunftbegabtes Wesen."

    Furthermore "der Mann" can only be used when talking about male humans. "Schaue dir den Mann/die Frau an" (Look at the man/woman).
  3. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi, Traveso, welcome to the forum.
    I want to add, when "man" in English is used for "human being" it is in German "Mensch".

    In English "man" in old English documents can be misinterpreted as male only today, but mostly it is male and female. In English it depends on context whether it is Mensch or Mann.

    In German the grammatical gender of "Mensch" is male.
    So it is "der Mensch" and "er", but independent on biological sex of the person.
    It is used for men, women and children with "er".
  4. Traveosa New Member

    English - United States
    Another question. If you wanted do describe a dog as being male, would you use mann in this case also? Sorry if the question seems like common sense. I just started learning German and want to clear some things up.
  5. alvincrew Member

    In my understanding,

    Mensch (German noun) = Human/person
    Mann (German noun) = Male/man/husband
    Man (German pronoun) = "one"
    Man (English) = Male or man

    In der Internet kann Mensch sogar Lebensmittel einkaufen.

    I think Mensch can be better replaced with German pronoun man rather than Mann.

    In der Internet kann man sogar Lebensmittel einkaufen.
    In der Internet kann Mann sogar Lebensmittel einkaufen. - Depending on the context, mann can actually mean male or even husband.
  6. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    No, the noun Mann (capital "M" is obligatory!) can only be used for a male human but the derived adjective männlich can be applied to animals as well: a male dog = ein männlicher Hund.

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