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 still some 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.
Hear how to pronunce the Pennsylvania German / Dutch alphabet
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.
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.
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.
Information about Pennsylvania German
Pennsylvania German Words and Phrases
Afrikaans, Alsatian, American Norwegian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English (British), Faroese, Flemish (West), Frisian (North - Bökingharde), Frisian (North - Sylt), Frisian (Saterland), Frisian (West), German, Gothic, Icelandic, Limburgish, Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Norwegian, Old English, Pennsylvania German/Dutch, Scots, Stellingwarfs, Swedish, Swiss German (Basel dialect), Swiss German (Chur dialect), Swiss German (Lucerne dialect), Värmlandic, West Jutlandic, Westrobothnian, Westrobothnian (Piteå), Yiddish
Hiwwe wie Driwwe - Die Pennsylvanisch-Deitsch Zeiding
Pennsylvania German Society
Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, Frisian (East), Frisian (North), Frisian (Saterland), Frisian (West), German, Gothic, Gottscheerish, Gronings, Hunsrik, Icelandic, Limburgish, Low German, Luxembourgish, Mòcheno, Norn, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Ripuarian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Stellingwarfs, Swabian, Swedish, Swiss German, Transylvanian Saxon, Värmlandic, Wymysorys, Yiddish, Zeelandic
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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