Pennsylvania German (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch)
Pennsylvania German is a variety of German spoken by about
250,000 mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in the USA,
and in Ontario in Canada. The language is also known as Pennsylvania
Dutch or Dutch, which probably comes from the native name
for the language: Deitsch.
The language came to the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia and North Carolina in the late 17th and early 18th
centuries with immigrants from southern Germany, Alsace and
Lorraine in France, and Switzerland.
From the beginning 20th century use of the language declined
in urban areas of Pennsylvania, and after the Second World War
its use in rural areas also declined. However it is still
widely spoken in Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite
The variety of German from which Pennsylvania German is mainly
derived is Palatinate German, and there is stillsome mutually intelligibility
between these varieties.
There is a Pennsylvania German newspaper, Hiwwe wie Driwwe,
which publishes poetry and prose in Pennsylvania German, and which is
published twice a year.
There are two main ways to write Pennsylvania German: one is
based on American English spelling conventions; the other is
based on Standard German orthography.
Pennsylvania German pronunciation
This orthography is based on the Buffington-Barba system
and comes from http://home.ptd.net/~tconrad1/dutch_main.html
- Vowels in the first row are short; those in the second row are long.
- Where letters have two pronunciations, the first is used
at the beginning of words and the second and the ends of words.
For those that have three pronunciations the second is used in
the middle of words and the third at the ends.
- gg appears in the middle of words
- h is not pronunced in the middle and at the end of words, but lengthens the preceding vowel.
- j and q are only is loanwords from English
- r is not pronunced when preceded by a and followed by a
consonant, and at in -er and -ar endings, which are pronounced
Sample text in Pennsylvania German (American English-based orthography)
Unsah Faddah im Himmel,
dei nohma loss heilich sei,
Dei Reich loss kumma.
Dei villa loss gedu sei,
uf di eaht vi im Himmel.
Unsah tayklich broht gebb uns heit,
Un fagebb unsah shulda,
vi miah dee fagevva vo uns shuldich sinn.
Un fiah uns naett in di fasuchung,
avvah hald uns fu'm eevila.
Fa dei is es Reich, di graft,
un di hallichkeit in ayvichkeit.
Sample text (German-based)
Unser Vadder im Himmel,
dei Naame loss heilich sei,
Dei Reich loss komme.
Dei Wille loss gedu sei,
uff die Erd wie im Himmel.
Unser deeglich Brot gebb uns heit,
Un vergebb unser Schulde,
wie mir die vergewwe wu uns schuldich sinn.
Un fiehr uns net in die Versuchung,
awwer hald uns vum ewile.
Fer dei is es Reich, die Graft,
un die Hallichkeit in Ewichkeit.
Transalation (Lord's Prayer)
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses;
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power
and the glory, For ever and ever.
Information about Pennsylvania German
Articles and recordings in Pennsylvania German
Pennsylvania Dutch Words and Phrases
Hiwwe wie Driwwe - Die Pennsylvanisch-Deitsch Zeiding
Pennsylvania German Society
Low German / Low Saxon,
Other languages written with the Latin alphabet