Jersey Dutch

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Jersey Dutch was a variant of the Dutch language spoken in and around Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey from the late 17th century until the early 20th century. It may have been a partial creole language[1] based on Zeelandic and West Flemish Dutch dialects with English and possibly some elements of Lenape. It was spoken by the descendants of Dutch settlers to New Jersey, and the Black enslaved and free populations that resided in the region, as well as the mixed race people known as the Ramapough Mountain Indians. A second variety, referred to by Jersey Dutch speakers as "neger", "neger dauts" (Negro Dutch) was spoken by the Black population specifically, distinguished from Jersey Dutch by pronunciation and grammar, reflecting African linguistic retentions.

There were two distinct variations of Jersey Dutch, the regional Dutch dialect that was spoken by the actual descendants of Dutchmen, and the version spoken by black slaves and people of mixed race. In the latter, there is an overall decline in inflection, apparently including a loss of past-tense verb forms. This is due to the isolation from other Dutch speakers and contact with English-speaking settlers. The former variation experienced a similar decline but to much less of an extent, and is not a creole language.[1]

An example of Jersey Dutch:

En kääd'l had twî jongers; de êne blêv täus;
de andere xong vôrt f'n häus f'r en stat.
Hai waz nît tevrêde täus en dârkîs tû râkni arm.
Hai dogti ôm dat täus en z'n vâders pläk.
Tû zaide: äk zal na häus xâne. Main vâder hät plänti.

In standard modern Dutch:

Een man had twee jongens; de ene bleef thuis;
de andere ging voort van huis voor een vermogen.
Hij was niet tevreden thuis en hij werd daardoor arm.
Hij dacht aan thuis en zijn vaders plaats.
Toen zei hij: ik zal naar huis gaan. Mijn vader heeft voldoende.

In English:

A man had two sons. One stayed at home;
the other left home to make his fortune.
He was not content at home and therefore he became poor.
He thought about home and his father's place.
Then he said: I shall go home. My father has plenty.

From: A text in Jersey Dutch Dr J. Dyneley Prince, 1910.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bachman, Van Cleaf. 1982. ‘The story of the Low Dutch language’. De Halve Maen 56: 3, 1-3, 21; 57: 1, 10-13.
  • Bachman, Van Cleaf. 1983. ‘What is Low Dutch?’ De Halve Maen 57: 3, 14-17, 23-24.
  • Bachman, Van Cleaf, Alice P. Kenney & Lawrence G. van Loon. 1980. ‘ “Het Poelmeisie”. An introduction to the Hudson Valley Dutch dialect’. New York History 61, 161-185.
  • Buccini, Anthony F. 1995. ‘The Dialectical Origins of New Netherland Dutch’. Dutch Linguistics in a Changing Europe. The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1993. Ed. by Thomas Shannon & Johan P. Snapper. Lanham etc., 211-263. (Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies, 8).
  • van Loon, L.G. 1938. Crumbs from an old Dutch closet. The Dutch dialect of Old New York. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  • van Loon, L.G. 1939. 'Ave atque Vale, Jersey Lag Duits Verdwijnt'. Onze Taaltuin 8, 91-95, 107-119.
  • Noordegraaf, Jan. 2008. 'Nederlands in Noord-Amerika. Over de studie van het Laag Nederlands (Low Dutch)'. Trefwoord, tijdschrift voor lexicografie, December 2008, 1-29. (http://www.fryske-akademy.nl/trefwoord.)
  • Prince, J. Dyneley. 1910. ‘The Jersey Dutch dialect’. Dialect Notes 3, 459-484.
  • Prince, J. Dyneley. 1913. ‘A text in Jersey Dutch’. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal en Letterkunde 32, 306-312.
  • Scheltema, Gajus and Westerhuijs, Heleen (eds.),Exploring Historic Dutch New York. Museum of the City of New York/Dover Publications, New York (2011) ISBN 978-0-486-48637-6
  • Shetter, William Z. 1958. ‘A final word on Jersey Dutch’. American Speech 33, 243-251.
  • Storms, James B.H. 1964. A Jersey Dutch vocabulary. Park Ridge, N.J.: Pascack Historical Society

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Holm, John A. (1989). Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335–8. ISBN 0-521-35940-6. 

References[edit]

  • (Dutch) Handboek der Nederlandsche taal: Deel I. De sociologische structuur der Nederlandsche taal I., Jac. van Ginneken and L.C.G. Malmberg, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. 1928. Chapter 10: Het Amerikaansch.
  • (Dutch) Ik was te bissie...Nederlanders en hun taal in de Verenigde Staten: 2.3 Het taalgebruik van de 17e-eeuwse immigranten en hun nakomelingen, Jo Daan, De Walburg Pers. 2007. [1] (Click on link and then scroll down.)
  • Mencken, H.L. The American Language. 1921. Appendix II - Non-English Dialects in America: Dutch