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Berliner Posted by on Apr 21, 2009 in Food, Uncategorized

Guten Abend! (Good Evening). I am the new blogger for the German blog. My name is Yohann. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a dude. Lol, not that’s it’s necessary for you to know that, but just in case you were wondering whether I’m a Frau (Mrs.) or Fräulein (Miss), I am a Herr (Mr.).

Gender aside, I went to Dunkin Donuts to get a couple of jelly doughnuts. Eating those doughnuts made me feel nostalgic for the Berliners I had back in Germany. In places like Berlin, it’s called Pfannkuchen. (Yeah, it’s a mouthful, but the p and f are pronounced together) In Austria it’s known Krapfen.

I don’t have anything against Dunkin Donuts, but the Berliners in Germany are really mouth watering. They take a syringe and fill the inside of the doughnut with jelly, sometimes chocolate and sometimes custard. Usually, the top is coated with a confectionary type sugar. It may not be the best choice for people on a diet, but really it’s the perfect treat.

The most famous mention of a jelly doughnut was President Kennedy’s notorious line, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Translate that into plain English and it means, “I am a jelly doughnut.” What he should have said was, “Ich bin Berliner” which means “I am a Berliner.” Berliner being a person of Berlin, not a jelly doughnut. Ein is an indefinite article. By adding ein, Kennedy implied that he was an object.

Moral of the story, keep up with your German grammar! Or else, you’ll be quoted as saying one of the silliest lines ever spoken in German.


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  1. Noelle:

    Awesome blog. Great idea. I’ve been trying to learn German and this is a great help! I love those jelly doughnuts, they’re absolutely yummy!

  2. Leandro López (inkel):

    Vielen Dank für die Berichtigung!

    I’ve taken a picture of myself in Berlin and I have quoted JFK 🙂

    Viele Grüße,


  3. JD Stone:

    Two comments about Byki’s German word of the day on Twitter @germanlanguage:

    1) Great idea! Thanks for that.

    2) When the word is a noun, please add der/die/das to it. Sort of pointless to learn a German noun without knowing the gender, right? Too many things are based on it: articles, adjectives, cases.

    Thanks again. I look forward to reading your blog Yohann.

  4. Daniel in Buenos Aires:

    Ja genau, die Artikel sowie das Geschlecht der Substantive sind sehr wichtig und fundamental!

  5. Bhixma@mac.com:

    Wonderful blog but I have a doubt about this post.
    At Wikipedia, you can read that John F. Kennedy didn’t make any error:

  6. Yohann:

    You’re entitled to your opinion. If that phrase was meant to be idiomatic, it’s a stretch, but it could be intentional. It depends on the historian that you talk to. No big deal.

  7. Marita:

    Yes, the Germans loved that he said that – they knew what he meant and it was funny too!

    It’s just another part of why he was one of the most loved US presidents over there.

  8. Frank:

    I think many Germans have only been aware that JFK’s phrase can be misunderstood to mean he was a doughnut since the English Wikipedia has existed. If you pointed out that bun pun to an innocent bystander, he would probably consider it a lame joke. For us[tm], it only means “I am a person from Berlin.”

  9. peter hamberger:

    ” Ich bin ein Berliner” mag umgangssprachlich sein, falsch bzw. mißverständlich ist es keineswegs. Glaubst Du im Ernst, daß Du besser Deutsch kannst als Kennedys damaliger Dolmetscher?
    Übrigens “Berliner= Pfannkuchen” ist problematisch, weil es nur in Berlin bzw. von Berlinern so verstanden werden dürfte . Im Allgemeinen bedeutet “Pfannkuchen” “pancake”.