Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 21:05:28 -0500
From: Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UMR.EDU
Subject: Re: "Ich bin ein Berliner."
I've located Reinhold Aman's article on "Ich bin ein Berliner:"
"Debunking Kennedy's 'I Am A Jelly-Filled Doughnut'"
_Maledicta_ vol. 11, 1990-1995 (dates: sic),
A few of Aman's observations are:
1) "About seven years ago, an American language professor claimed that John
=46. Kennedy's exclamation _Ich bin ein Berliner!_ really means 'I am a
jelly-filled doughnut!' This nonsense was reprinted widely, including in
_The New York Times_ of April 30, 1988..." ---The writers claimed that such
citizens never refer to themselves as "Berliners" and that the residents of
Berlin "tittered among themselves" when J.F.K. uttered his immortal words.
2) Aman--a native speaker of German, a former professor of German, and a
German dialectologist (among other qualifications) points out: "_Ich bin
ein Berliner_ means 'I am a Berliner,' [i.e.] 'a male person/native of
Berlin' and absolutely nothing else."
3) "A female from Berlin would say, _Ich bin (eine) Berlinerin_. Most
northern German s normally do not use the indefinite article _ein(e)_ with
place-name origins and professions (e.g. _Ich bin Berliner. Ich bin
Professor._), whereas most southern Germans, Austrians, and Swiss Germans
do use it. (_Ich bin ein Schweizer. Ich bin eine =D6sterreicherin. Ich bin
4) "No intelligent native speaker of German tittered in Berlin when J.F.K.
spoke, just as no native speaker of German...would titter if someone said,
_Ich bin ein Wiener_ or _Hamburger_ or _Frankfurter_"
--Aman, incidentally, is a native of Bavaria. He points out that he can
correctly say _Ich bin ein Bayer_ without any native-speaking German
supposing that he is calling himself an aspirin.
gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]umr.edu