Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 23:55:33 -0500 From: "Jeutonne P. Brewer" Subject: Re: "Ich bin ein Berliner" When my husband lived in Germany in the middle 60s (Cologne/Rhineland) we asked out German friends and landladies/landlords about "Ich bin ein Berliner." As Kendra Perry and Duane Campbell noted, the Rhineland Germans explained that a Berliner was what we call a doughnut with a jelly filling. They definitely did not view Kennedy's use of the phrase as a disastrous gaffe. They recognized the humor in the comment, but more important to them, they appreciated Kennedy's attempt to use German. (These were blue collar workers not college instructors.) The Berliner was a distinctive and widely known pastry. I don't remember the distinction that Duane Campbell pointed out about the use or non-use of "ein" except in the Kennedy example. (I'm not as fluent in German now because I don't use it very often.) For example, I don't think that "Ich bin ein Rheinlaender" vs. "Ich bin Rheinlaender" would provoke a chuckle. Jeutonne On Fri, 28 Nov 1997, Kendra Banks Perry wrote: > When I was in Austria studying German, my teacher told us that the word > "Berliner" does indeed refer to a jelly doughnut in some areas (every > little district seems to have different words for pastries). He said > that Kennedy's remark was, however, easily understood with its original > intent and was not the disastrous gaffe some people make it out to be. > > Kendra Banks Perry > > banks[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > > ********************************************** Jeutonne P. Brewer, Associate Professor Department of English University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC 27412 email: jpbrewer[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] URL: ***********************************************