The point in Kris' presentation about needing to know your audience is valid, but the JFK "Ich bin ein Berliner" example may not be the best possible illustration. The story about the phrase having been interpreted as "I am a jelly doughnut" is a long-standing (untrue) urban legend.

As was intended, the phrase was actually understood to mean "I am one with the people of Berlin." The alternative, "Ich bin Berliner," would have been parsed as "I am from Berlin," which was obviously not the case.  As one of the linked references notes, "Similarly, after 9-11 many politicians said 'today we are all New Yorkers' and nobody thought they meant 'we are all glossy magazines' or 'we are all cars.'" Further, jelly doughnuts are generally referred to in Berlin as Pfannkuchen, not Berliners.

As it turns out, JFK's speech-writers knew their audience pretty well in that case.

Glen Beltt
University of Minnesota Foundation

On 1/25/2013 2:11 PM, Layon, Kristofer wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">
Thanks so much for setting up the video capture, Tony!  (and thanks to Gabe and the other Web Standards meeting organizers)

It was great to be back on campus today — thanks to everyone who attended.  The slides (with notes) from my talk are here:

Have a good weekend,


Kristofer Layon
Web & Mobile Design  //  Product Management  //  Speaking & Writing