Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 09:03:32 -0800 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: "Ich bin ein Berliner" On Fri, 5 Dec 1997, Larry Horn wrote: > David Bergdahl writes: > > >There is no question that Kennedy's utterance was interpretable in the > >sense he meant it, but I believe the usual utterance would be "Ich komme > >aus Berlin"--the "Ich bin. . ." sounds like a calque. > > Interesting. For an English speaker, "I am a New Yorker" is quite different > from "I am from New York". Is the distinction neutralized in German? LH > Both "Ich bin Berliner" and "Ich bin [or komme] aus Berlin" are perfectly acceptable German, with meanings entirely parallel to, e.g., "I'm an American" and "I'm from the U.S." "Ich bin ein Berliner" is (as many have pointed out) perfectly comprehensible in German, although a native speaker would not use the "ein" in this context. With an adjective, however (e.g., "Er ist ein alter Berliner" (He is an old Berliner), the article reappears. Peter McGraw