What is "Mien Kemp"?
April 4, 2005 8:17 AM   Subscribe

German scholars, historians, copyeditors, and anyone else: Can someone explain to me why an author whose book I'm editing has cited Hitler's Mein Kampf as "Mien Kemp"? Google doesn't elicit much in English, and I'm unilingual, alas. As far as I know, American English is my author's native language. Is he just a lousy speller? (Looks like it could be Dutch, but that's just a guess.)
posted by scratch to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
Not Dutch — Dutch would have mijn for "my," not mien. I don't know what it is, though.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:24 AM on April 4, 2005

Because he's either wrong, or he's citing a parody?
Mein Kampf means "My Struggle" (My Jihad, if you will). Kemp means nothing in German or Dutch (freetranslation.com).
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 AM on April 4, 2005

Mien looks like an English-oriented phonetic spelling, and Kemp looks like maybe Kampf in a bad German accent? (I don't know, I can't read "Mien Kemp" without pictuing Kenneth Mars in The Producers)
posted by dagnyscott at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2005

dagnyscott, that's pretty much what I thought too, except I heard the voice of Werner "Colonel Klink" Klemperer.

klang, I know what it means when properly spelled. Just checking to see if there is a real alternate I'm not aware of.
posted by scratch at 8:50 AM on April 4, 2005

Looks plain wrong to me.
posted by muckster at 9:05 AM on April 4, 2005

It looks like it is wrong, however in the local (Dutch) dialect where I come from 'mien' would be 'mein / mine', however Kampf would be Kamp, and only remotely phonetic could be Kemp. Since the author is american and not from the east of the Netherlands it is probably just a mistake.
posted by sebas at 9:33 AM on April 4, 2005

Oops no, not even in my dialect it would be Kamp, totally wrong word. hangs head in shame, dutch people living in a german area should know better
posted by sebas at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2005

A quick google seems to suggest that the phrase is only ever used in English and solely by people wishing to refer to Mein Kampf.
posted by biffa at 9:39 AM on April 4, 2005

It looks like unaccented vietnamese, but that seems rather unlikely.

I just checked a Low German dialect dictionary, and it's "Mein Kampf" there, too. sebas has ruled out Dutch, so the only (unlikely) players left are luxembourgish (but that generally follows lowlands or dutch), friese (know any Friesians, sebas?) or swiss german. But it sounds like your source is just sloppy.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:58 AM on April 4, 2005

I'm pretty sure your author is just a lousy speller.

By the way, you don't have contact info in your userpage so I'll just say here that I'd be interested in discussing freelance editing and how you get work, if you'd care to drop me a line: languagehat at yahoo dot com.
posted by languagehat at 1:37 PM on April 4, 2005

could it be yiddish?
posted by leapingsheep at 3:06 PM on April 4, 2005

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