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So, it appears we fforumites have changed the subject once again....
"Otto von Bismarck's English" was a discussion that started out as a complaint that Bismarck's speech in SR was insulting to German-speaking peoples and branched off into a commentary on English and its uses in the world. Got that?
First: there's a superfluous 't' in the cite (simply a spelling error?):
"Ich bin ein Berliner!"
For the question what a Berliner actually is, you will get different answers depending on where you asked. Outside Berlin, 'Berliner' denotes, as you said, something like a doghnut. But, if you asked a citizen of Berlin about it, you will get lectured: The pastry MUST be called a 'Pfannkuchen' (pancake), even if everyone else would use that name for something completely different. A 'Berliner' is a citizen of Berlin, HA!
So, as Kennedy did that speech in Berlin, as far as we are concerned, nothing is wrong with it (exept it is much too often quoted).
ClaireC makes the good point that you can't really write accents.
Even with phonetics you can really only capture 'pronunciation' which is a far way from accent (or Tone, for that matter).
Good writers use written language as a CLUE for the reader to work with and the reader uses their own ear for speech (and a deal of imagination) in coming up with an interpretation; the way I hear von bismarck may thereby be very different to the way you hear him.
Martin: Really, you don't think you've ever heard a Scots accent?? How about Sean Connery, he uses a Scots accent in every part he's ever played, even his Irish character in Untouchables is Scots....
Indeedy, thanks Robert that just what I meant. And its about the whole book reading experience and why films can never eclipse books because they bring alive our inner ears, eyes, senses, feet and verrucas (or is that last bit just me) - and why if Von Bismarck doesn't work for some people clearly does for others..........
After several years of living in this country, I still can't understand that so many people seem to feel the need to declare themselves _proud_ to be Americans. Why ... is it a deeply hidden insecurity issue? OK, so you're American, he's German, etc. To each their own, pros and cons.
Big nation's pride can become too close to nationalism. Which in turn can become too close to Yorrick Kaine...
It's so much nicer to hear someone being proud to be a citizen of a small village, especially if they are doing something for it. Or to be proud of not wasting time in watching Name That Fruit! for days in a row. Or of not losing patience in front of your children when a Mammoth stomps your garden.
I much more respects anyone declaring themselves as inhabitant of this world, or possibly human. And humbly so. Toast-eating, yours truly.
I am proud to be British - except when watching the antics of some of my countrymen both at home and abroad. Given the choice, however I would prefer to be proud to be British and living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
I am proud to be English - except a bunch of yobs hi-jacked the Cross of St. George and use it as banner for racism and jingoism. Given the choice I would prefer to be proud to be English while living in Eire.
I am proud to be Lancastrian - except someone re-drew the boundaries and now I am a Greater Mancunian. Given the choice, I would prefer to live in the Yorkshire Dales.
I am proud to be Salfordian - except that the place where I was brought up no longer exists, and Salford is a very rough suburb of Manchester. Given the choice, I prefer to be proud from a distance and will never live there again.
I am pround of my family - except that now that I am married I have two families, which blur around the edges. Given the choice I would not change anything.
You can be proud of your background and still recognise it is not perfect.
My computer beat me at chess, but I won at kickboxing
I think the thing about saying 'Proud to be American' came about largely because so many families were originally imigrants, so they would be proud to finally become Americans. Saying it like that probably works best, though, if you are assuming that the people you are talking to are mostly American, which is not the case on the fffforum. A lot of Americans certainly are arrogant, and that bugs me, but it's not a prerequisite for citizenship. In any event, I think there is a clear distinction between being a proud American and approving of the current Idiot in Office.