[Ads-l] "Ich bin _ein_ Berliner" redux

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 3 08:44:44 EST 2017


So then not at all like the distinction in English between “I am Danish” and “I am a Danish”.  (I’m not one myself, but I do prefer them to jelly doughnuts.)


LH


> On Mar 3, 2017, at 1:50 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> From the Atlantic:
> Afterward it would be suggested that Kennedy had got the translation wrong—that by using the article ein before the word Berliner, he had mistakenly called himself a jelly doughnut. In fact, Kennedy was correct. To state Ich bin Berliner would have suggested being born in Berlin, whereas adding the word ein implied being a Berliner in spirit. His audience understood that he meant to show his solidarity.
> 
> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/08/the-real-meaning-of-ich-bin-ein-berliner/309500/
> ________________________________
> From: Wilson Gray<mailto:hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: ‎3/‎2/‎2017 22:09
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: "Ich bin _ein_ Berliner" redux
> 
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Ich bin _ein_ Berliner" redux
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Arnold=E2=80=99s note,
> 
> "if you=E2=80=99re black [_in_ America and _many other places_] you never f=
> orget it"
> 
> gives me an opening to explain why, despite the discussions here and the
> fact that, surely, no one would have allowed the President to make a stupid
> blunder, I continue to feel that JFK "ought" to have said,
> 
> "Ich bin _0_ Berliner."
> 
> When I was stationed in the former West Germany/West Berlin, back when
> Germany was still under occupation and you=E2=80=99d think that Comrade had=
> long
> since become accustomed to the sight of black-American GI=E2=80=99s on the =
> streets,
> nevertheless, I must have been asked thousands of times,
> 
> "Sind Sie _0_ Afrikaner?"
> 
> and never once
> 
> "Sind Sie _ein_ Afrikaner?"
> 
> Maybe it has to do with the fact that the continent of Afrika is a vague
> location, whereas the city of Berlin is specific. Or maybe it=E2=80=99s the
> difference between
> 
> Are you _0_ African?
> 
> and
> 
> Are you _an_ African _?
> 
> Or not.
> 
> Youneverknow.
> 
> --=20
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
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