Pennsylvania German language

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Pennsylvania German (Deitsch; also called Pennsylvania Dutch) is a dialect of German spoken in the United States and Canada. Most speakers of Pennsylvania German are members of the Amish or Mennonite communities. About 350,000 people speak the dialect.[1]

History[change | change source]

The ancestors of Pennsylvania German speakers mostly come from the Palatinate area in Germany. Other immigrants came from Switzerland, Swabia, Baden, and/or Alsace. These immigrants mostly settled in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. The Pennsylvania German dialect was widely spoken in Pennsylvania until the 20th century. The Amish and Mennonite communities continued to speak the dialect.

Kutztown University has a Pennsylvania German program, and offers a minor degree to students.

Differences with Standard German[change | change source]

Pennsylvania German grammar is simpler than Standard German. The genitive case is lost, and adjective endings are simplified.

The sounds œ, ø (ö) and y (ü) in Standard German are not present in Pennsylvania German. So the word Köpfe (heads) becomes Kepp in the dialect. Also, Kühe (cows) becomes Kieh.

The Lord's Prayer[change | change source]

English (BCP) Pennsylvania German Modern German
(standard wording)
Our Father who art in heaven, Unser Vadder im Himmel, Vater Unser im Himmel,
Hallowed be thy name. dei Naame loss heilich sei, geheiligt werde dein Name,
Thy kingdom come. Dei Reich loss komme. Dein Reich komme.
Thy will be done, Dei Wille loss gedu sei, Dein Wille geschehe,
on earth as it is in heaven. uff die Erd wie im Himmel. wie im Himmel, so auf Erden.
Give us this day our daily bread. Unser deeglich Brot gebb uns heit, Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute,
And forgive us our trespasses; Un vergebb unser Schulde, Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
as we forgive those who trespass against us. wie mir die vergewwe wu uns schuldich sinn. wie auch wir vergeben unseren Schuldigern.
And lead us not into temptation Un fiehr uns net in die Versuchung, Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
but deliver us from evil. awwer hald uns vum ewile. sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.
For thine is the kingdom, the power Fer dei is es Reich, die Graft, Denn Dein ist das Reich, und die Kraft
and the glory, For ever and ever. un die Hallichkeit in Ewichkeit. und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

References[change | change source]

  1. Steven Hartman Keiser: Pennsylvania German in the American Midwest, 2012

Other websites[change | change source]

Learning Resources:

Other: