Jelly donuts (was: The Kennedy Faux Pas)

Subject: Jelly donuts (was: The Kennedy Faux Pas)
From: Erich Schildhauer <Erich -dot- Schildhauer -at- POET -dot- DE>
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:09:26 +0200

For anyone who is still wondering:

> Where ARE our German friends when we need them? (Why do I suspect they're
> lurking and having a good chuckle at all this before stepping in?)

Speaking just for myself: I was enjoying the weekend with my family.

> I'm wondering in retrospect if I didn't get "Berliner" confused with
> "Pariser" ("Parisian").

I think you did. I have never heard the word "Pariser" used for a jelly
roll, but a jelly donut is definitely still called "ein Berliner".

"Pariser" is *one* of the German slang words for condom; however, the
etymology is not as straitforward as you might think: "Pariser" <
"Präser" short for: "Präservativ" (a preservative or protective device).
I know what you are thinking: "... all natural, no preservatives ..."

Other words that use the same word-building mechanism as Pariser and

Wiener same as in English, a sausage (from Wien, i.e. Vienna)
Frankfurter same as in English, another name for the same sausage
Hamburger same as in English
Kopenhagener a Danish pastry
Amerikaner a huge, sugar-coated soft cooky/cake

I would disagree that "Ich bin Berliner" is colloquial compared with
"Ich bin ein Berliner". I think the German professors were right on this
one. There might be a very specific context where I would say "Ich bin
ein Amerikaner", but in standard German usage one would say "er ist
Berliner/sie ist Hamburgerin/ich bin Amerikaner" in the sense of "he
comes from Berlin/she comes from Hamburg/I come from America."

As Andreas already pointed out, Kennedy's message was "I am with you, I
am on the team". Would it really have been correct for him to say -- in
other words -- "I am from Berlin". Perhaps there were other rhetorical
intentions in Kennedy's (or his advisors'/speech writers') choice of
words as well. Try saying aloud: "Ik - bin - Berliner" and "Ik - bin -
ein - Berliner". The buildup is much better with the article added,
isn't it?

If anyone would like to continue this thread, perhaps we should move it
off the list.


Erich Schildhauer Phone: +49 40 60990-0
POET Software GmbH Fax: +49 40 60990-115
Fossredder 12 Mail: Erich -dot- Schildhauer -at- poet -dot- de
D-22359 Hamburg Info:

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