Sunday, April 25, 2010

die Micky Maus

[ Mickey Mouse ]

One of the most beloved cartoon characters in the world has a curious trait here in Germany. I have learned the different names of the character around the world, from ミッキーマウス [ Mikkii Mausu ] in Japan to Mikki Hiiri in Finland, yet, in Germany it is pretty straight forward, "die Micky Maus," following suit with German generally always having an article attached to the noun.


For those that know some German, or remember from a previous post on German grammar, this is another thing that can make your head spin. Don't double take, because the "die" listed above is not a typo. Micky Maus is given the feminine article "die", and when described, usually also with feminine grammar - die Micky Maus, eine kleine Maus. Mickey, a small mouse.

When reading comics about Mickey here in Germany, the character is "die" but it seams that anything attributed to him uses "sein" [seine Freundin Minnie] which is masculine. The word mouse in German - the easily recognizable Maus - is a feminine word in German, hence "die Maus". But when a fictional character that is male is still a mouse, all the sudden German's strict grammar rules equate to stories of male mice running around with feminine articles attatched to their name. Maybe things like this happen in other languages around the world? Regardless, German is the only language I know off hand that a mouse can cause confusion for being masculine or feminine, but a child is an it - neuter, das Kind...