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Der Deitsh A–B–C / The Pennsylvania Dutch A–B–C (1906)

Harvey_MillerHarvey M. Miller (1871–1939) produced a number of poems and stories in Pennsylvania Dutch under the pen name of “Solly Hulsbuck.” Below is his “Pennsylvania Dutch A–B–C.” Miller’s spelling of Pennsylvania Dutch was generally oriented toward English, which is not surprising since he lived at a time when knowledge of German among the Pennsylvania Dutch had receded considerably. Accordingly, the letters of the alphabet in his poem have English names.

Note that the word Miller uses for ‘chewing tobacco’ is Jaw-duwock, which is rewritten here as Chawduwack. The first half of this compound is the regional English word chaw (chew), which has been borrowed into Pennsylvania Dutch. Miller’s Jaw is thus an example of a folk etymology.

This poem refers to elements of Pennsylvania Dutch folk culture, including Elbedritsche, mythical creatures generally resembling birds. This legend has its origins in the Palatinate.

 

 

A shtaid far Asel, shteef brudar tsu’m goul,En shlop-awrich gadeer und nodeerlich foul.B is far Bud’r, en gale wogga shmear,Und shdaid aw far Brod-warsht, Bretzels    und Beer.

C shtaid far Cider, dare sowft mer we shlop,Und sell gebt em’s bouch-wae, mer hen’s oll    shun uft g’hot.D shtaid far Doks, der olt wedder-profate,Mer set en mol bixa wun ehr si shodda sait.E shtaid far Elbadritsha, se sin orrick shy,Ovver mer nemt yusht en sock und yawgt se    dart ni.F is far Fausnocht, de fet-kucha tseit,Der letsht fowlens im bed iss de olt    Fausnocht heit.

G is far Greenbacks, en ord bobeer Geld,Kawft shtrow-heet far hitz und kola far keld.H shtaid far Hinkel, en fogel das gockst,Der Porra sawgt meer ‘sis nix besser das    wockst.

I shtaid far Indressa. de sin immer due,Se fressa feel mae das der goul und de ku.J is far Jaw-duwock, wos feel menner kowa,De si und de hund daida sich net so farsowa.K is far Karrich, en blotz wu de leitAe dawg olle wuch era krishtendum dreibt.L is far Lod-warig, im kessel gareert,Ehr kucht ebmohls ivver und lust olles    farshmeert.

M shtaid far Mistaiks, und mer larnt by der    tseit,Wun mer ganunk derfun mocht wart mer    endlich sheer g’sheit.

N shtaid far Noshuns, des wase olle mon—De weib’s-leit hen immer feel noshuns im    gong.

O shtaid far Obadit, ware en recht guder hutWockst grawd fonna-nous sheer so dick das    en grut.P is far Ponhaws, ovver ‘sis ken haws dr’in,Duch gebt’s net feel socha das obaditlicher    sin.Q is far Quick-shteps, de sot das mer nemtWun de shofe-buck em sheer in der hussa    sitz rendt.R is far Riwel-soup, de mommy hut olsDerhame blendy gamocht far uns yunga    karls.

S is far Shnitz-pi, Sour-krout und Shpeck,En shtondhofte kusht far deitsha dick-seck.T shtaid far Tswiv’l, en oppel im grund,Der garuch mocht em umechtich, der    g’shmock mocht em g’sund.

U is far Umglick, sell gaid so mit niIm dawg tsu dawg laiva, und holt em gadrei.V shtaid far Volentine, se shicka se olsWun guda leit ous-folla und sin ‘nonner    folsh.

W far Weib’s-leit, ken ruh hen de menner,Bis se ane hen, derno ruh hen se kenner.X shtaid far X-shpenses, wos wet mer mit    geldWun mer gor ken expenses het do in de    weld?

Y shtaid far Yohra, ‘sis nix das em helft,Und glei iss mer olt und huckt uf em shelf.

Z is far Zalich, so wella mer si,Und duch un der saima tseit weldlich derbei.

&c., des shtaid far “und-so-weider” nous,Des end’s A–B–C und de shule iss now ous.

A schteht fer Esel, Schtiefbruder zum Gaul,En schlappohrich Gedier un nadierlich faul.B is fer Budder, en geel Waggeschmier,Un schteht aa fer Brodwascht, Bretzels    un Bier.

C schteht fer Cider, daer sauft mer wie     Schlapp,Un sell gebt em’s Bauchweh, mer hen’s oll    schun oft ghatt.

D schteht fer Dachs, der alt Wedderbrofeet,Mer sett en mol bixe wann er sei Schadde    seht.

E schteht fer Elbedritsche, sie sin arrick    schei,Awwer mer nemmt yuscht en Sack un yaagt    sie datt nei.

F is fer Faasnacht, die Fettkuchezeit,Der letscht Faulens im Bett is die alt    Faasnacht heit.

G is fer Greenbacks, en Aard Babiergeld,Kaaft Schtrohhiet fer Hitz un Kohle fer Kelt.H schteht fer Hinkel, en Voggel dass gaxt,Der Parre saagt mir s’is nix besser dass    wachst.

I schteht fer Indresse, die sin immer due,Sie fresse viel meh dass der Gaul un die    Kuh.

J is fer Chawduwack, was viel Menner kaue,Die Sei un die Hund deede sich net so    versaue.K is fer Karrich, en Blatz wu die LeitEe Daag alli Woch ihre Grischdendum    dreibt.

L is fer Lattwarrick im Kessel geriehrt,Er kocht ebmols iwwer un losst alles    verschmiert.

M schteht fer Mistakes, un mer lannt bei der    Zeit,Wann mer genunk devun macht watt mer    endlich schier gscheit.

N schteht fer Notions, des wees alli Mann—Die Weibsleit hen immer viel Notions im    Gang.

O schteht fer Abbeditt, wer en recht guder    hotWachst graad vannenaus schier so dick dass    en Grott.

P is fer Pannhaas, awwer s’is ken Haas drin,Doch gebt’s net viel Sache dass    abbedittlicher sin.Q is fer Quickshteps, die Satt dass mer    nemmtWann die Schoofbock em schier in der    Hossesitz rennt.

R is fer Riwwelsupp, die Mammi hot alsDeheem blendi gemacht fer uns yunge    Kalls.

S is fer Schnitzpei, Sauergraut un Schpeck,En schtandhafti Koscht fer deitsche    Dickseck.

T schteht fer Zwiwwel, en Appel im Grund,Der Geruch macht em umechdich, der    Gschmack macht em gsund.

U is fer Umglick, sell geht so mit neiIm Daag-Zu-Dawg-Lewe, un haldt em    gedrei.

V schteht far Walentein, sie schicke sie alsWann gude Leit ausfalle un sin nonner    falsch.

W far Weibsleit, ken Ruh hen die Menner,Bis sie eeni hen, denoh Ruh hen sie kenner.X schteht fer Exschpenses, was wett mer mit    GeldWann mer gor ken Exschpenses hett do in    de Welt?

Y schteht fer Yaahre, s’is nix dass em helft,Un glei is mer alt un hockt uf em Shelf.

Z is fer selich, so welle mer sei,Un doch an der seeme Zeit weltlich debei.

&c., des schteht fer “un-so-weider” naus,Des endt’s A–B–C un die Schul is nau aus.

A stands for donkey, stepbrother to the    horse,A floppy-eared animal and naturally lazy.

B is for butter, a yellow axle grease,And stands also for sausage, pretzels, and    beer.

C stands for cider, that stuff we drink like    slop,And that gives you a stomachache, we’ve all    had it often.

D stands for groundhog, the old weather    prophet,You should shoot him if he sees his shadow.

E stands for snipes, they are quite shy,But you just take a sack and and chase them    in.F is for Shrove Tuesday, the doughnut time,The last lazybones in bed is the old    “faasnacht” today.

G is for greenbacks, a kind of paper money,It buys straw hats for the heat and coals for    the cold.

H stands for chicken, a bird that clucks,The preacher tells me there’s nothing better    that grows (lives).

I stands for interest(s), they are always due,They eat much more than the horse or the    cow.

J is for chewing tobacco, which many men    chew,Pigs and dogs wouldn’t ruin themselves like    that.

K is for church, a place to where peopleOne day a week are drawn by their    Christianity.

L is for apple butter, stirred in the pot,It sometimes boils over and smears all over    everything.

M is for mistakes, and you learn over time,If you make enough of them, you finally    become smart.N stands for notions, this every man knows,Women always have a lot of notions going.O stands for appetite, whoever has a really    good one,Grows straight outward almost as fat as a    toad.

P is for scrapple, but there’s no rabbit    [Haas] in it,Yet there are few things that are more    appetizing.

Q stands for quick steps, the sort one takes,When the ram practically runs into your    rear end.R is for “riwwelsupp,” Mom used toMake plenty at home for us young fellows.S is for snitz pie, sauerkraut, and bacon,A substantial fare for Dutch potbellies.T stands for onion, an apple in the ground,The smell makes one pass out, the taste    makes one healthy.

U is for misfortune, that just goes along withDay-to-day life, and keeps you faithful.V stands for Valentine, they send themWhen good people quarrel and are not true    to each other.

W for women, no peace do men have,Until they have one (woman), then they    never have it (peace).

X stands for expenses, what would you want    with money,If you had no expenses at all here in this    world?

Y stands for years, there’s nothing that helps you,And soon as you’re old and sitting on the shelf.

Z is for blessed, that’s how we want to be,And yet at the same time also worldly.

&c., this stands for “and so forth,”This ends the A-B-C and school is now out.