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Willkumm zu / Welcome to

WPA_poster_1938_smallWillkumm zu! This website features a number of texts and recordings documenting the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch language. The primary function of is to serve as a companion reference for the book, Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language, which appeared in January 2016 with the Johns Hopkins University Press. Click here for an order form that will give you a 30% discount off the list price. Each chapter of the book includes excerpts from a number of texts and recordings in Pennsylvania Dutch, Pennsylvania High German, and also Dutchified German, a mainly written variety intermediate between Pennsylvania Dutch and Pennsylvania High German. Readers of the book will be able to visit this site to see complete texts in their original and transliterated forms along with English translations. They will also be able to listen to recordings of the Pennsylvania Dutch texts. For those interested in more detail about the actual structures of Pennsylvania Dutch, a Grammar section will provide notes on the phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language.

The materials accessible on also support an ongoing research project, the Pennsylvania Dutch Documentation Project, which is sponsored by the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Max Kade Institute (MKI) is home to the world’s largest archive of interviews made with speakers of North American German varieties, including Pennsylvania Dutch. This archive was completely digitized as part of a grant project, American Languages: Our Nation’s Many Voices Online, which was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Samples of MKI’s German-American recordings, including Pennsylvania Dutch recordings, will soon be accessible on new pages on the MKI website. In addition to audio excerpts from the Max Kade Institute’s sound archive, this site features a variety of texts in and about Pennsylvania Dutch from historical newspapers.

The Max Kade Institute sponsored an international symposium March 30–April 1, 2017, titled “People of Faith, Voices of Tradition: Germanic Heritage Languages among Christians and Jews.” This symposium, which took place on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, explored the history and present situation of languages spoken by traditional Anabaptist Christian and orthodox Jewish groups, including Pennsylvania Dutch, all of which are in a robust state of health. In addition to presentations on Amish Swiss German, Hutterite German, Mennonite Low German (Plautdietsch), Pennsylvania Dutch, and Yiddish, the symposium featured a panel discussion with native speakers, as well as an evening reading of original prose and poetry (with English translations).

Please email me with any questions or comments:

— Mark L. Louden