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My mother used to tell me something that her mother (who had German parents) used to tell her, and I would like to know if anyone else has heard of it.
It’s – “Ach de Himmel de Liebekens”
I wrote the first part in German, but that last part, “de Liebekens”, is unclear to me. (The “kens” is pronounced as a North American would pronounce: “kinz”.) I once asked a Swiss friend if she’d heard of something like this, and she said that she’s heard of “Ach de Himmel de Liebe Gute” (umlaut on the “u”), but she couldn’t figure out what the “kens” would refer to.
Do you know what the last part of the expression my grandmothers said might be? Has anyone else heard this expression?
This book has a long passage describing a beautiful maiden, and then:
She was Fritz’s liebeken, and Fritz was a passable judge of female beauty.
So, could that be- a knockout chick.
I have trouble linking it, but Google book finds it with “Liebekens.”
I suspect, Liebekens is dialect for a term of endearment. like ‘dear heart’ or ‘sweetie’. I’m finding it in book called ‘Gedanken und Erinnungen’ (Thoughts and Memories) from Otto von Bismarck, where he talks mentions the King (not sure of what, didn’t read the entire section).
Quote: Der König […]sagte im Berliner Dialekt: »Liebeken, das is sehr schöne, aber es is mich zu theuer.
Translation: The King said in Berlin dialect: Dear, that is very nice, but its too expensive for me. (VERY rough translation, because I’m not sure when a King would call an advisor ‘Dear’.)
So Liebeken is (most likely) a term of endearment, and in your phrase I would roughly translate ‘De Himmel de Liebekens’ as being ‘oh, the heaven of my dear’ (the s on the end of Liebekens indicates genitive grammar to me). In high German, I would write it as ‘Der Himmel des Liebekens’.
I’m also finding a bit of a possibility it may have been someone’s name? either first or last name. I’m not sold on this, since there weren’t a lot of results. – this would then influence the phrase to being ‘The heaven of Liebeken’. But like I said, I’m not sold on it.
Its hard to find things when wading through a multitude of Barbie fan sites (‘Ich liebe Ken!’ – I love Ken!)
Were your grandparents from northern Germany? specifically from the Brandenburg region?.[Note! I am just an ex-pat living in Germany, I’m not a native speaker of German (though I’m pretty darn good). I just have a good idea how to search google in German. ]
Before reading Ex-Pat’s response, my (high-school acquired) German-influenced learning was translating the phrase _in isolation_ as something like “Oh, the lovely heaven of the children”; “liebekins” versus “liebekens” versus “liebekinds” versus some other phonetically similar representation.
Tweaking the originally reported phrase slightly in whatever direction, I can certainly see this as most likely analagous to “Oh, Dear Heavens!” (with various possible combinations of capitalization, verbal emphasis, and minor differences in word choice) in American, Canadian, and British English.