Pennsilfaanisch

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Keystone
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Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Keystone » 2012-10-29, 14:51

Pennsilfaanisch, or Pennsylvania German, is a dialect of High German native to the American state of Pennsylvania. The language was widely used in southeastern Pennsylvania, especially in rural areas, up to the 1950s, but has since then been in decline. Nowadays, the majority of speakers are actually Amish or Mennonite, and the language is seen as particular to these groups, even though historically they only comprised a minority of its speakers.

I personally do not know the language (and I'm not of German descent either), but I grew up in a region where it is spoken and have had some contact with it, primarily through weekly farmers markets. I'll be moving back to the region in January for university, and some places in the region have classes for the language, so I might take one.

Here are some resources I have found online for the language:

http://archive.org/stream/cu31924027513 ... 5/mode/2up

http://home.ptd.net/~tconrad1/dutch_main.html

http://faculty.kutztown.edu/equinter/

http://archive.org/stream/commonsensepe ... 7/mode/2up

http://hiwwewiedriwwe.wordpress.com/
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Meera
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Meera » 2012-10-29, 17:44

I live in Pennyslvania and I hear the Amish use this quite often.if I leanred I porbably could get plenty of practice lol
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linguoboy
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby linguoboy » 2012-10-29, 17:57

For those of you familiar with the dialects of Germany, Pennsilfaanisch is a koiné based primarily on Pfälzisch. I imagine anyone like Car or Saaropean who speaks both English and a Pfälzisch variety can understand it almost completely. Since I'm better acquainted with Alemannic (and not one of the varieties which is especially close to Pfälzisch), it causes me a bit more trouble, but I can generally get the gist.
Last edited by linguoboy on 2012-10-30, 14:53, edited 1 time in total.
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księżycowy
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby księżycowy » 2012-10-30, 13:03

I've been eying Haag's book for a while on Amazon. Though I feel like I should relearn standard German first. (not because I think that would help necessarily, though it might, but because I need to get me German up to stuff)

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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Saaropean » 2012-10-30, 13:33

It's Pfälzisch [ˈpfɛltsɪʃ] or (because this part of western Germany did not undergo the second consonant shift) Pälzisch [ˈpʰɛldzɪʃ]. Anyway, there's only one L, even in its English name (Palatine). For those who don't know where Palatinate (German "Pfalz", Palatine "Palz") is, click here to see the location of Kaiserslautern, central Palatinate, on Google Maps.

My mother tongue is a dialect of Palatine, but Car comes from somewhere further north, outside the High German dialect area.

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Saaropean
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Saaropean » 2012-10-30, 14:47

Having read some of the texts on hiwwewiedriwwe.com1. To me, as a native speaker of Europan Palatine, it looks like Palatine translated literally from English, but comprehensible (because I understand English). The dialect I speak is, of course, heavily influenced by Standard German.

1 "hiwwe wie driwwe" (Standard German "hüben wie drüben") is perfectly comprehensible to me. It means "here as well as over there" or "both here and there".

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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby linguoboy » 2012-10-30, 14:58

Saaropean wrote:It's Pfälzisch [ˈpfɛltsɪʃ]

Keine Ahnung, wie das überflüssige L erst reingeschlichen ist, aber danach hab ich Trottel das Wort zweimals gecopypastet von wegen dem Umlaut-A.
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Car » 2012-10-30, 15:35

I don't speak any dialect myself nor did I grow up in a dialect-speaking area and I haven't heard much in any Palatine dialect, so I'm having problems understand it, but it seems to me that it could improve quickly once I know some of the sound shifts compared to Standard German. It does seem to be heavily influenced by English.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Saaropean » 2012-10-30, 16:02

Here's a text from "Hiwwe wie driwwe" - the original, a literal German translation, a literal English translation, and how I'd say it in my native dialect. Loan words are in italics (I love this anglophone tradition):
Original wrote:Wie ich en Kind waar, hemmer zwee Telephones deheem uff ‘re Bauerei ghatt. Eens waar in der Kich un die annere waar in meine Eldre ihr Bettschtubb. Alle beed henn en Cord ghatt, un wammer ebber uffrufe wott, hot mer gemisst die Nummere auswennich wisse odder in em Telephonebuch gucke. Die Telephone hot kenne yuscht ee Ding duh: ebber uffrufe.
Schpeeder in mei Kindheet hemmer en Telephone mitaus en Cord grickt. Ich hab gedenkt, ass sell wunnerbaar waar. Mer hot kenne darich es Haus laafe un schwetze mit ebber uff ‘re Telephone! Dann, wie ich baut 18 Yaahr alt waar, hawwich mei aerschde Cell Phone grickt. Waar sell ebbes! Nau hawwich kenne in mei Maschine faahre un uff meinre Telephone schwetze! Awwer zu sellre Zeit hot mer mit die Cell Phones yuscht annere Leit uffrufe kenne. Well, heidesdaags iss sell net meh die Ruul.

Hochdeutsch wrote:Wie ich ein Kind war, hattenwir zwei Telephones daheim auf einer Bauerei gehabt. Eins war in der Küche und die andere war in meinen Eltern ihr Bettstube. Alle beide haben eine Cord gehabt, und wennwir jemanden aufrufen wollten, hatten wir gemusst die Nummern auswendig wissen oder in einem Telephonebuch gucken. Die Telephone hatte können just ein Ding tun: jemanden aufrufen.
Später in mein Kindheit habenwir ein Telephone mitaus ein Cord gekriegt. Ich habe gedenkt, dass das wunderbar war. Man hat können durch das Haus laufen und sprechen mit jemandem auf der Telephone! Dann, wie ich about 18 Jahre alt war, habich mein erstes Cell Phone gekriegt. War das etwas! Now habich können in mein Maschine fahren und auf meiner Telephone sprechen! Aber zu dieser Zeit hatte man mit die Cell Phones just andere Leute aufrufen können. Well, heutzutage ist das nicht mehr die Rule.

English wrote:As I a child was, havewe two telephones at home on the farmery had. One was in the kitchen and the other was in my parents their bedroom. All both had a cord hard, and whenwe someone upcall wanted, have we must the numbers byheart know or in a telephone book look. The telephone had can just one thing do: someone upcall.
Later in my childhood havewe a telephone without a cord got. I have thought, that that wonderful was. We had can through the house run and talk with someone on the telephone! Then, as I about 18 years old was, haveI my first cell phone got. Was that something! Now haveI can in my machine drive and on my telephone talk! But at that time have we with the cell phones just other people upcall can. Well, nowadays is that not more the rule.

Saaropean wrote:Wie isch e Kind war, ha'mma zwei Telefone dahemm uff em Hof gehatt. Ens war in da Kisch un s anna war in meine Eltre ihr Schlåfzimma. Alle beide hann e Schnur gehatt, un we'mma äna aanrufe wollt, hat ma misse die Nummare auswennisch wisse odda in me Telefonbuch någugge. Es Telefon hat nur ääns kenne dun: äna aanrufe.
Späda in meina Kindhäät ha'mma e Telefon ohne Schnur kritt. Das hann isch subba gefunn. Ma hat kenne dorsch s Haus laafe un då debei telefoniere kenne! Dann, wie isch um die 18 Jåhr alt war, hann isch mei erschd Handy kritt. Das war ebbes! Awei hann isch kenne im Audo fahre un kleischzeidisch telefoniere! Awwa zu der Zeit hat ma mit de Handys nur kenne telefoniere. Heitsedaas is das ni'mmeh die Reeschel.

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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby JackFrost » 2012-10-30, 19:20

Even with my limited knowledge of German, I can get a gist of the texts. Plus, I grew up in Pennsylvania, although not in a traditional German-speaking region. Still enough for me to pick up some words in that dialect and Standard German when I was a kid. I remember "wilkom", "distelfink" ("Dischdelfink" in PA Dutch), "snitz", "rumspringa", and some more that I can't think of right now.

Also, I'm of PA Dutch descent, but my ancestors stopped speaking German by the early-19th century as they migrated to the northeastern part of the state.

Meera wrote:I live in Pennyslvania and I hear the Amish use this quite often.if I leanred I porbably could get plenty of practice lol

Assuming if they'd talk to you a lot. They're usually secluded and private, but who knows. :wink:

Saaropean wrote:To me, as a native speaker of Europan Palatine, it looks like Palatine translated literally from English, but comprehensible (because I understand English)

That's not surprising considering that they were almost isolated from the German-speaking world for over two centuries. The PA Dutch speakers usually know Hochdeutsch as well (the language of their bible), so they probably can speak to you in that variant. It's just that they may speak it with a "thick accent" and use some terms that may be seen as outdated in Germany.
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Keystone » 2012-10-31, 15:29

Thanks everybody for the posts. Good to see some discussion on this language/dialect, because I can't find anything anywhere else.

I found a book on Google with some of the highlights of the language's literature: A Pennsylvania German Anthology

JackFrost wrote:Assuming if they'd talk to you a lot. They're usually secluded and private, but who knows. :wink:

Do you know where Hometown is? (Just south of Hazleton.) There's a nice farmer's market there and many of the sellers (specifically the Mennonite ones) speak the language, so you could practice on them for sure. :)
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby JackFrost » 2012-10-31, 16:54

Keystone wrote:Do you know where Hometown is? (Just south of Hazleton.) There's a nice farmer's market there and many of the sellers (specifically the Mennonite ones) speak the language, so you could practice on them for sure. :)

haha I grew up in the mountains about 20 minutes from Hazleton, so yeah... I know the farmer's market in Hometown. I used to go there often enough when I was a kid. :P Anyways, thanks for the reference, but overall, I'm not really interested learning the language. I just happen to like knowing a bit about it so I can answer some questions that people ask me about the PA Dutch people. And dismiss any myths as well. :wink:
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Viridzen
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Re: Pennsilfaanisch

Postby Viridzen » 2014-04-29, 23:47

(If I may write here, even though it's old...)
My PA German heritage is the one with which I identify most, because of multiple things, and so I have begun studying the language, and it comes very easily to me. I have foreign language anxiety, but apparently not with this language, mostly. I have the advantage of living in the Deitscherei, so I can go to this building that deals with the language and culture and get books there. It's actually were I got the books I have, but they may be hard to find anywhere else... I have "Introduction to Pennsylvania German" by Elizabeth Wengerd, which uses standard spelling except for some words, such as "is" for "iss", "sin" for "sinn", etc. (it's very small, but not bad for a beginning... plus, my copy was printed on paper and cardstock and spiral-bound, so it's easy for pages to fall out, which has happened to me), as well as Eugene S. Stine's "Pennsylvania German Dictionary", which is very good: it is thick, bidirectional, and in standard spelling. It was known as "the Red Dictionary" apparently (because it's red), and was very well known. It's a neat way to connect with my heritage and preserve the language, I guess.
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