Kennedy & "I'm a Berliner": I KNOW we've done this

But I couldn’t find it. Links anyone?

Presidential multilingualism

The second half of this thread deals mostly with the Kennedy-jelly donut question.

I was in Berlin last month and everyone there says its true.

So it must be true :slight_smile:

It is true that “Ich bin ein Berliner” means “I am a jelly filled donut”. But it also means “I am a citizen of Berlin”. I am sure that very few Berliners misunderstood it or even noticed the double meaning immediately. So it is not true that Kennedy made a mistake.

When this thread started, it was “Where was the prior discussion on…” and thus was in ATMB forum. It’s now become an interpretation of Kennedy’s German, and thus belolngs in General Questions, and ergo, here it is.

“Ich bin ein Berliner” is a quite correct expression for the intended sentiment, and the German audience then (and Germans now are) perfectly capable of understanding it as intended. It could be understood as ‘I am a jelly-filled doughnut’ but only out of context. Moreover he did not give his speech on 31 December, the canonical date for consuming Berliner.

True, but technically, a nationality does not need a definite article to preceed it in German. Therefore, my saying “Ich bin Englaenderin” is perfectly correct. I don’t doubt that everybody understood what JFK was saying, but technically its not correct.
Of course, if I’m wrong, I’ll bow to your superior judgement, what with you living there and everything.

Tschild is not just in Germany, he (or she) acutally is German, if memory serves. So yes, tschild would be better able to judge the correctness of this particular sentence.

Also, my wife - who is also German - says the same thing about it. Clear as a bell, Kennedy meant that he was a citizen of Berlin.

I had a coworker once who was from Berlin. On those occassions when we had a chance to eat said jelly filled donuts, he would pick one up, point at it, and say “Ich bin ein Berliner. Das ist ein Pfannkuchen.” Meaning “I am am from Berlin, and this is a jelly filled donut.” Folks from Berlin call the silly things “Pfannkuchen.” Most of the rest of Germany calls them “Berliner” unless they’re calling them “Krapfen” or “Kräppel.”

Actually, jelly filled donut is a bad translation. The things don’t have a hole. That is to say that they more resemble an (extremely) oblate spheroid rather than a toroid. They are deep fried in hot oil, though.

You can buy them at the bakery most times of the year, though where I am they are mostly bought on Rosenmontag (Rose monday,) the day before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday.) If you ask you can get the bakery to slip one or two of them filled with mustard into the bag of Krapfen that you buy for the office. This is supposed to be funny - mustard is an awful surprise when you expected jelly.

Ah yes - carnival. Mort Furd probably lives in North Rhine-Westphalia or Rhineland-Palatinate, where they celebrate carnival with a will. That’s the other main occasion for Berliners (apart from Dec 31).

“Ich bin Berliner” und “Ich bin ein Berliner” are both correct ways of saying you are a citizen of Berlin. BTW the place of my birth being what it is, I am entitled to say “Ich bin ein Hamburger” :slight_smile:

Rheinland-Pfalz, though the folks in Wiesbaden (the capitol of the state of Hessen) seem to get into the swing of things pretty well, too. They sort of have to, though. They are right across the river from Mainz (the capitol of the states of Rheinland-Pfalz.) The Wiesbadeners ate plenty of Berliners on Rosenmontag - including real ones, if girls from Berlin happened to be around. The parties can get out of hand.

I was taught that he could not have truthfully said “Ich bin Berliner” just as I can not truthfully say “Ich bin Amerikaner”, because he was not a Berliner and I am not an American. “Ich bin ein Berliner” is (again, according to how I was taught) somehing vaguely along the lines of “I am like a Berliner”, or “I identify with Berliners” (and, by the way, Ich bin nicht ein Amerikaner! :smiley: ).

More like good translation but inaccurate English term. Unless they are different from what an American would call a jelly donut.

Hmm, that’s usually what I think of when I hear “jelly-filled donut.” None of the jelly donuts I remember getting at the local bakery as a kid came with holes. Just flattened balls with chocolate or frosting on top with a tell-tale jelly injector entry wound on the side. Perhaps I have been improperly been calling them donuts all this time.

Picture of Berliners being sold at an event in Switzerland. The contraption on the steel bucket behind the older gentleman’s left hand looks as if it’s the jelly injection device.

Those “berliners” in the picture look like the most common form of doughnut in Australia, though we also have the toroidal ones without filling. Funnily enough, the best “berliners” I know come from a place called the American Doughnut Company.

Lambchops, you must be in Victoria.
On a visit to Melbourne as a child I learnt that doughnuts in Vic and NSW differed.
I also got a shock when I asked for scollops for dinner, dear aunty then explained potato cakes.

Something like what I call a Bismark.

When I was in New York City, The bismarks I recall eating, and enjoying immensly, were bar shaped, filled with custard, and iced with white or maple icing. Yum.

My real estate agent, who is german and was in Berlin at the time (though not at the speech) said that the connection to the pastry was made later and only served to further endear Kennedy to most of the people in Germany. I guess he was quite popular over there. If you watch film of the speech, you’ll see that the remark went over quite well.