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

ein Professor._)"

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.

--Gerald Cohen