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 communities.

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

Pennsylvania German pronunciation

Notes

  • 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 [ɑ]

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. Amen.

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. Amen.

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. Amen.

Links

Information about Pennsylvania German
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_German_language
http://home.ptd.net/~tconrad1/dutch_main.html

Articles and recordings in Pennsylvania German
http://www.pgs.org/dialect_column.asp
http://www.pgs.org/dialect_audio.asp

Pennsylvania Dutch Words and Phrases
http://voices.yahoo.com/pennsylvania-dutch-words-phrases-4999796.html

Hiwwe wie Driwwe - Die Pennsylvanisch-Deitsch Zeiding
http://hiwwewiedriwwe.wordpress.com

German-Pennsylvanian Association
http://dpak.wordpress.com

Pennsylvania German Society
http://www.pgs.org

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, German, Gothic, Icelandic, Low German / Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Norn, North Frisian, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Saterland Frisian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Swedish, Swiss German, West Frisian, Yiddish

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet