Amy West amy at W-STS.COM
Tue Jun 6 03:46:21 UTC 2000

>Date:    Thu, 1 Jun 2000 16:35:47 -0600
>From:    Gerald Cohen <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
>Subject: Ich bin ein Berliner
>     „Haven¼t those chuckling ignoramuses ever heard of polysemy?  Even
>though åBerliner¼ is also used in northern Grmany to mean åjelly-filled
>doughnut,¼ when someone says åIch bin (ein) Berliner,¼ it means åI am a
>male person from Berlin¼ only. ...
>      „No intelligent native speaker of German tittered in Berlin when J.F.
>K. spoke, just as no native speaker of German, or one who does know this
>language, would titter if someone said åIch bin ein Wiener¼ or åHamburger¼
>or åFrankfurter.¼ Only a chuckling chucklehead would translate åIch bin ein
>Wiener¼ (åI am a male Viennese¼) as åI am a sausage¼ (or åpenis¼ or
>åineffectual person¼ or åjerk¼ or åvery serious student¼) Only a tittering
>twit would translate åIch bin ein Hamburger¼ (åa male person from Hamburg¼)
>as åI am a meat patty¼ (or åhobo¼ or åbeggar¼ or åscarred prizefighter¼ or
>åinferior racing dog¼ or åmixture of mud and skin nutrients¼).  And only a
>babbling bubblebrain would translate åIch bin ein Frankfurter¼ (åa male
>person from Frankfurt¼) as åI am a long, smoked reddish sausage¼...

I'd like to add the following:

1) I was familiar with the Berliner double-entendre *before* I spent
the summer in Kassel in 1988. There the Berliners were jelly-filled.

2) yep, it's more colloquial to leave out the definite article before
occupations and nationalities.

3) Aman evidently hasn't met any of my husband's relatives: the
Wursts ("sausage"). And, yes, Germans do laugh at it. Some German
(ahem, Bavarian) friends have teased him about it to his face, and my
poor father-in-law, Dick Wurst ("thick/fat sausage"), will be the
object of many a snigger when he travels to Germany in September.

>     åAs a male native of åBayern¼ (Bavaria), it is correct for me to state,
>åIch bin ein Bayer,¼ åI am a Bavarian.¼ If some ignoramus chuckles that it
>_really_ means åI am an aspirin,¼ I¼ll shove a wiener up his nose.¼¾
>-----That concludes Aman¼s article.

Well, that explains everything...he's a Bavarian.

---Amy "ain't no way I'm takin' that last name if I'm gonna be a
Germanist" West

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