German language in the United States

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US-American German
US-amerikanisches Deutsch
RegionUnited States
EthnicityGerman Americans
Austrian Americans
Swiss Americans
Liechtensteiner Americans
Belgian Americans
Luxembourgian Americans
Native speakers
1.06 million (2009–2013)[1]
Latin (German alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
German language spread in the United States, 2000
German speakers in the US
Year
Speakers
1910a
2,759,032
1920a
Decrease 2,267,128
1930a
Decrease 2,188,006
1940a
Decrease 1,589,048
1960a
Decrease 1,332,399
1970a
Decrease 1,201,535
1980[2]
Increase 1,586,593
1990[3]
Decrease 1,547,987
2000[4]
Decrease 1,383,442
^a Foreign-born population only[5]

Over 50 million Americans claim German ancestry, which makes them the largest single claimed ethnic group in the United States. Around 1.06 million people in the United States speak the German language.[6] It is the second most spoken language in North Dakota (1.39% of its population)[7] and is the third most spoken language In 16 other states.[8]

History[edit]

Ever since the first ethnically German families settled in the United States in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608,[9] the German language, dialects, and traditions of Germany have played a role in the social identity of many German-Americans.

By 1910, an accounted 554 newspaper issues were being printed in the standard German language throughout the United States as well as a number of schools which taught in German with class-time set aside for English learning.

As a result of anti-german sentiment during WWI, the use of German declined. The daily use would recede to primarily Amish, Old Order Mennonite and Hutterite communities.

German-language Methodist Church[edit]

Around 1800, two German-language Methodist churches were founded, the Vereinigten Brüder in Christo and the Evangelische Gemeinschaft. Both used Methodist hymnals in German and published German newspapers, of which one existed until 1937. From the middle of the 19th century English was used as a second language in the churches, but there were regions in which German was the main church language into the 20th century. In 1937 both churches fused and joined the United Methodist Church in 1968.

German-language press[edit]

German newspapers in the U.S., 1922.
A 1940s-era poster discouraging the use of Italian, German, and Japanese.

The first German newspaper in the U.S. was der Hochdeutsch-Pennsylvanische Geschicht-Schreiber, oder Sammlung Wichtiger Nachrichten aus dem Natur- und Kirchen-Reich ("the High German-Pennsylvanian story-writer, or collection of important news from the realms of nature and the church"), later known as

die Germantauner Zeitung.[10] It was a German-language paper, Der Pennsylvanische Staatsbote that on July 5, 1776, was the first paper to report the American Declaration of Independence, and it did so in German translation. English readers would have to wait a day later to read the English text in The Pennsylvania Evening Post.

In the 19th century the German press increased in importance and the number of dailies exploded. In 1909 a report stated "every American city or town with a large German population possesses one or more German newspapers. In New York City there are twelve or more... the best... being... the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. The Illinois Staats-Zeitung has nearly as large a circulation, and the Milwaukee Germania claims the largest circulation of all. The Milwaukee Herold comes not far behind. Philadelphia has its Demokrat, Baltimore its Correspondent, Cincinnati its Volksblatt, St. Louis... its... Die Westliche Post, where Joseph Pulitzer started his career, and Der Anzeiger des Westens." It also reported that compared to 17,194 English papers in the U.S. in 1900, there were 613 German ones. The next largest language group, the Scandinavian, had only 115.[10]

With repression of the German language during World War I, the German press in America was reduced dramatically.

German language in public education[edit]

Throughout much of the 19th century, there were fierce debates in many large American metropolitan areas with German immigrant communities, such as Chicago and St. Louis, about whether public schools should offer German-language education. The issue was of considerable local interest, as German-speaking families overwhelmingly sent their children to parochial schools at which instruction was conducted in German. In some German immigrant neighborhoods in Chicago, public school attendance was so low that the press reported the institutions as being practically empty.)[11] The decision of the Chicago Public Schools to make English the sole language of instruction in the city's schools sparked outrage from the city's German community. Hermann Raster, the Republican editor-in-chief of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, and the Socialist politician Adolph Douai strongly opposed the new rule, and both became known as vocal critics of enforcing English-only education in the United States.[12]

Persecution during World War I[edit]

A pile of German Textbooks, from the Baraboo High School, burning on a street in Baraboo, Wisconsin, during an anti-German demonstration

When the U.S. joined in World War I, an anti-German hysteria quickly spread in American society. German-Americans, especially immigrants, were blamed for military acts of the German Empire, and even speaking German was seen as unpatriotic. Many German-American families anglicized their names (e.g. from Schmidt to Smith, Schneider to Taylor, Müller to Miller), and German nearly disappeared in public. Many states forbade the use of German in public and the teaching of German in schools.

During the early 20th century, as influential White Anglo-Saxon Protestants in the United States sought to regain the upper hand in power and social influence which had been heavily threatened due to the waves of immigration, used politics and through the funded formation of the Ku Klux Klan, would help to give rise to anti-immigrant and distrust aimed at German-Americans among other groups of people. Through advertising and Government funded marketing, German-Americans also known as the "Dutchman" and the German language quickly went from being viewed as distinguished and the language of the educated to being distrusted, and as such, anyone fluent in the language regardless of age, who was associated with, or who practiced traditions viewed as foreign of any type was subject to a number of public harassments, distrust, and on a few occasions, death.

One such death of note was that of Robert Prager, a German seeking naturalization in St. Louis, Missouri who was accused on the night of April 14, 1914, of being a German spy by a mob of 300 "men and boys" after he had allegedly shared words at a socialist meeting earlier that evening. The jail where he had taken refuge from the crowds was quickly overrun and being stripped of his clothes, he was led down Main Street with a rope tied around his neck, and was forced to walk the route, and with shattered glass bottles being thrown down in his walking path, he was forced to sing patriotic songs. He was forced during this walk to kiss an American flag which had been wrapped around him. He was walked to a hanging tree at the edge of town where he was lynched. In an article from The St. Louis Global-Democrat, it was reported that there had been multiple incidences of mobs tarring and feathering individuals.

Other acts of discrimination based on ethnic background included the banning of performing of music from German composers at symphony concerts including the attempt to rename certain foods. Sauerkraut for example would become Liberty Cabbage. "Hamburger" would be for a short while "Liberty Steaks."

Language use had also been the primary focus of legislation at state and local levels. Some of these regulations included the publication of charters banning speaking German within city limits. A total ban on the teaching of German in both public and private education could be found in at minimum 14 states, including some states that would extend this to ban the teaching of all languages except for English, although the majority who would ban non-English languages typically only banned German. A total ban on teaching German in both public and private schools was imposed for a time in at least 14 states, including California, Indiana,[13] Wisconsin,[14] Ohio, Iowa and Nebraska. California's ban lasted into the mid-1920s. The Supreme Court case in Meyer v. Nebraska ruled in 1923 that these laws were unconstitutional.[15] In October 1918, a bill intended to restrict federal funds towards states that enforced English-only education was created. On April 9, 1919, Nebraska enacted a statute called "An act relating to the teaching of foreign languages in the state of Nebraska," commonly known as the Siman Act. It provided that "No person, individually or as a teacher, shall, in any private, denominational, parochial or public school, teach any subject to any person in any language other than the English language." It forbade foreign instruction to children who had not completed the eighth grade. In Montana, speaking German was banned in public for two years during World War I.[16] Pennsylvania's legislature passed a German-language ban, but it was vetoed by the governor. Churches during this period such as the Lutheran Church became internally divided over services and religious instruction in German and English.[17]

Dialects and geographic distribution[edit]

German speakers in the United States by states in 2000[18]
State German speakers
California
141,671
New York
92,709
Florida
89,656
Texas
82,117
Ohio
72,647
Pennsylvania
68,672
Illinois
63,366
Michigan
52,366

Alsatian[edit]

Alsatian, (German: Elsässisch), is a Low Alemannic German dialect spoken by Old Order Amish and some Old Order Mennonites in Allen County, Indiana, and their daughter settlements. These Amish immigrated to the US in the mid-1800s. There are fewer speakers of Alsatian in Indiana than of Bernese German, even though there are several thousand speakers. There are also speakers of Bernese German and Pennsylvania German living in the community. Most speakers of Alsatian also speak or at least understand Pennsylvania German. Speakers of Alsatian in Indiana are thus exposed to five languages or dialects: Alsatian, Bernese German, Pennsylvania German, Standard German and English.[19]

Amana[edit]

Amana German, West Central German, a Hessian dialect in particular, is still spoken by several hundred people in seven villages in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, which were founded by Inspirationalists of German origin. Amana German is derived from Hessian dialects which fused into a so-called Ausgleichsdialekt that adopted many English words and some English idioms.

Bernese[edit]

Bernese German, (Standard German: Berndeutsch, Alemannic German: Bärndütsch) is a subdialect of High Alemannic German which is spoken by Old Order Amish in Adams County, Indiana, and their daughter settlements. There are several thousand speakers of the dialect in the US.

Hutterite[edit]

Hutterite communities in the United States and Canada speak Hutterite German, an Austro-Bavarian dialect.[citation needed] Hutterite is spoken in the U.S. states of Washington, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota; and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Indiana[edit]

There is also a significant population of Amish and Old Order Mennonites located in rural areas of Elkhart County and LaGrange County, Indiana, who speak Pennsylvania Dutch. A much smaller community of Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking Amish is found in Parke County, in western Indiana. Many English words have become mixed with this dialect and it is quite different from Standard German (Hochdeutsch), but quite similar to the dialect of the Palatinate region.

Usually, Pennsylvania Dutch (often just "Dutch" or Deitsch) is spoken at home, but English is used when interacting with the general population.[citation needed] The Amish and Old Order Mennonites of northern Indiana often differentiate between themselves and the general population by referring to them, respectively, as the "Amish" and the "English", noting the difference in language. Pennsylvania "Dutch" is sometimes used in worship services, though this is more common among the Amish than the Mennonites. More mainstream (city) Mennonites may have a working knowledge of the language, but it is not frequently used in conversation or in worship services.

Parking meter checker stands by his police vehicle which is imprinted with the German word for police (Polizei). It is part of the town's highlighting its German ethnic origins. New Ulm, Minnesota, July 1974.

Pennsylvania[edit]

Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonites and other Pennsylvania Germans speak a dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German (widely called Pennsylvania Dutch, where Dutch is used in its archaic sense, thus not limited to Dutch but including all variants of German).[20] It is a remnant of what was once a much larger German-speaking area in eastern Pennsylvania. Most of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" originate from the Palatinate area of Germany and their language is based on the dialect of that region.[21] While the language is stable among the Old Orders and the number of speakers growing due to the high birth rate among the Old Orders, it is quickly declining among the non-plain Pennsylvania Germans (also called Fancy Dutch).

Plautdietsch[edit]

Plautdietsch, a Low German dialect, is spoken by "Russian" Mennonites, who immigrated mostly to Kansas in the mid-1870s. These Mennonites tended to slowly assimilate into the mainstream society over several generations, but Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonite immigrants—mainly from Mexico, where there is no assimilation—invigorated Plautdietsch in Kansas. Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonite migrants from Mexico formed a new settlement in Seminole, Texas, in 1977. In 2016 there were about 6,000 Plautdietsch speakers around Seminole.[22]

Texas[edit]

A dialect called Texas German based in the Texas Hill Country around the town of Fredericksburg still exists, but has been dying out since the end of World War II. Following the introduction of English-only schooling during both World Wars, Texas German speakers drifted towards English and few passed the language to their descendants.[23]

Wisconsin[edit]

The various German dialects that were brought to Wisconsin did not develop into a leveled dialect form, like, e.g., in southeastern Pennsylvania, where Pennsylvania German as a leveled dialect emerged, but remained distinct.

German as the official US language myth[edit]

An urban legend, sometimes called the Muhlenberg legend after Frederick Muhlenberg, states that English only narrowly defeated German as the U.S. official language. In reality, the proposal involved a requirement that government documents be translated into German.[24][25] The United States has no statutory official language; English has been used on a de facto basis, owing to its status as the country's predominant language.[26]

In Pennsylvania, which had a large German-American population, German was long permitted as a language of instruction in public schools.[27] State documents were available in German until 1950.[citation needed] As a result of widespread anti-German sentiment during World War I, German fluency decreased from one generation of Pennsylvanians to the next, and today only a small fraction of its residents of German descent are fluent in the German language.[citation needed]

Texas had a large German population from the mid-1840s onward due to the Adelsverein. After Texas was granted statehood in 1845, it required that all laws be officially translated into German. This remained in force until 1917, when the United States entered the First World War.

German-American tradition in literature[edit]

As cultural ties between Germany and the United States have been historically strong, a number of important German and U.S. authors have been popular in both countries.[28] In modern German literature, this topic has been addressed frequently by the Boston-born author of German and English lyrical poetry Paul-Henri Campbell.

Use in education[edit]

According to a government-financed survey, German was taught in 24% of American schools in 1997, and only 14% in 2008.[29]

German is third in popularity after Spanish and French in terms of the number of colleges and universities offering instruction in the language.[30]

Structure of German Language Acquisition by state[edit]

German Language learners, March 2017[31]
State Number of Students Number of High Schools Offering German Instruction
South Dakota 3,289 8
Michigan 30,034 74
New Jersey 10,771 28
Pennsylvania 38,165 107
Georgia 12,699 36
Minnesota 19,877 57
Tennessee 11,269 33
Wisconsin 27,229 80
Hawaii 650 2
Ohio 18,478 64
Connecticut 3,671 13
Virginia 12,030 43
Florida 4,887 19
South Carolina 4,406 18
Texas 19,551 80
Indiana 14,687 62
Maryland 4,833 21
California 9,636 46
New York 7,299 35
Mississippi 1,447 7
Missouri 8,439 44
Nevada 890 5
Maine 1,741 10
Nebraska 3,999 23
Massachusetts 3,367 20
New Hampshire 2,832 17
Illinois 13,293 88
Iowa 3,973 27
Oklahoma 2,207 16
Wyoming 376 3
North Carolina 5,815 53
Idaho 2,279 24
Washington 3,888 43
Kansas 2,427 28
West Virginia 640 8
Alabama 5,333 67
Utah 1,051 15
Vermont 887 13
Louisiana 453 7
Oregon 1,469 24
Colorado 1,509 25
North Dakota 2,046 34
Kentucky 1,421 26
Arkansas 1,947 37
Arizona 1,205 25
Rhode Island 76 2
Montana 260 10
New Mexico 227 11
Alaska 89 8
DC 16 0
all 328,963 1,547

American German[edit]

Standard American German
Language codes
ISO 639-3

What here is referred to as Standard American German is a mix of historical words, English loan words, and new words which together can form a standardised version of the German language used by the non-Amish nor Mennonite descendants of the original pre-20th century German immigrants in the United States. The study of the German language in the United States was suppressed during World War 1, but has since regained coverage by major universities, most notedly at the University of Kansas from scholars such as William Keel, the Max-Kade Institute of German-American Studies of the University of Wisconsin–Madison[32] and George J. Metcalf from the University of Chicago.[33] While towns may have differing grammatical structures and sometimes pronunciations as influenced by the first immigrant families, there is no set in stone official grammatical syntax of the American German variety of German. Despite the lack of such, communication is still possible. One might recognize however, that some speaker may be foreign to that particular region or town.

Selected phrases[edit]

Selected morning greetings
American German European Standard German English Translation
Guda Morcha Guten Morgen Good morning
Guda Morga Guten Morgen Good morning
Guda Marije Guten Morgen Good morning
Guten Morgen Guten Morgen Good morning
Selected midday greetings
American German European Standard German English Translation
Guda Dach Guten Tag Good day! [held as a growingly old-fashioned greeting by mainstream American]
Guda Tach Guten Tag Good day!
en Guda einen Guten [Tag] A good day [to you]!
Was ist neues/neies? Was gibt es neues? What is new?
American Geman European Standard German English translation
Ach! Ach! Oh!
Geh an! Geh weiter! Go on!
Gug amol! Guck mal! Look once!; Look!
Hurry auf! Beeil dich! Hurry up!
Scheiße, bitte! Komm, schon! "Shit, please! [eyeroll]," "Oh, please!," Are you kidding me?
Sei so gut und... [Sei so gut und... ] (historic connotations) Be so good and... ex. Be so good and help your mother set the table.
Sei artig! Benimm dich! Be polite/curteous!
Stell dich/di weg! Hau ab!/Verschwinde! Get lost! Go away!
Verdammt! Verdammt! Damn!
Was zur Hölle? Was zur Hölle? What the hell?

General American German nouns[edit]

These nouns have been found in all regions of the United States and are not exclusive to any particular region. While English loanwords are found for a number of reasons including the lack of certain objects (such as Truck) in pre-20th century German, dialect leveling is also found throughout regions where German is still found. Though previous studies have tried to pinpoint certain words to specific locations such as Stinkkatze with Texas German dialects, further research has since found these words in use extending beyond their originally perceived regions.[34][35][36] For example the following varieites of Stinkkatze / Stinkkatz' / Stinkkotz / Stinkchaatz (Swiss-German speaking communities) have been found in many midwestern states. Dialect leveling proves the creation of such a list often difficult.

Modern Standard German Historic Survivals found in Modern American German English
Richtig Recht Right/Correct
Stinktier Stinkkatz(e)/Stinkotz/Stinkchaatz Skunk
Spaß Jux (southwestern German term) Fun
Junge Knabe/Bub Boy
Hausdiener Knecht (reported in some Kansas communities) male-house servant /
American German terms (singular) European Standard German (singular) English translation
der Abnemmer Fotograf (m)/ Fotografin (f) the photographer
der Barrel, "Berl" Faß (n) the barrel
der Bu(a) Junge (m) the boy
der Bub Junge (m) the boy
die Car Auto (n) the car
der Change Veränderung (f) the change, switch, adjustment
der Columbine Kolombine (m) the columbine
die Countrykirch' Landkirche (f) the countryside church
der Countryweg Landstraße (f) the country road/ "country way"
die Crick Flüßchen (n) the creak/stream
der Eichhase/Eichhos' Eichhörnchen (n) the squirrel
der Eichkater Eichhörnchen (n) the squirrel
der Elevator Hebewerk (m) the elevator
die Eisbox der Kühlschrank the Refrigerator
der Grainelevator Getreideheber (m) the grain elevator
der Gel(e)beribe Karotte (f) the carrot
der Grosspapa Grossvater (m) the grandfather
die Klapperbox Klavier (n) the piano
die Farm Bauernhof (m) the Farm
die Farmerleute Bauern (pl) the farming people/family of farmers
die Fence Zaun (m) the fence
die Fedder Kuli/Kugelschreiber(m) the ballpoint pen
Früher Frühling (m) the spring [season]
der Heimstead Eigenheim (n) the homestead
das Hoch(e)deutsch Hochdeutsch (n); Standarddeutsch (n) the high German / standard German language
die Kiihler/Kühler Kühlschrank (m) the refrigerator
der Korn Mais (m) the corn
der Knecht Hausdiener (m) the male-servant, the houseboy
das Luftschiff/Luftschipp Flugzeug (n) the airship: airplane
die Microwave Mikrowelle (f) the microwave
das Piktur Bild (n) the picture
das Pocketbuch Handtasche (f), Geldbeutel (m) the pocketbook
der Schulmeister

die Schulmeisterin

Schulmeister (m)

Schulmeisterin (f)

the head teacher
die Schulerei Gaunerei (f), Schurkerei (f) troublemaking, trickery, prank, playfulness
die Stinkkatze/Stinkkotz'/Stinkchaatz Stinktier (n) the skunk
der Truck Lastwagen (m) the truck/Pick-up/18-wheeler
der Weg, Wech Landstraße (f), Straße (f) the road / "the way" (dialectal)

General American German verbs[edit]

Dialects of Germany include differences in pronunciations that vary from town to town. One in one town may denote the origin of another from a nearby town based merely on his accent.
Map of sub German Dialects alongside General Dialect Regions

Throughout the history of the German language in the United States, through the coexistence with English, there are many loanwords which have been absorbed into the American variety of German. There are also many usages which have been preserved in American German varieties including usages from the numerous dialects of the German regions. This preservation is a common phenomenon that occurs when a language leaves its original region: While the language in the original country moves forward, words and meanings in the new region freeze and often do not change along with the mother country.

General American German European Standard German English translation
"Ich will ein Piktur abnehmen."

"Ich will ein Bild abnehmen."

"Ich will ein Bild machen." "I want to take a picture."
jemanden/etwas aufraisen jemand/etwas aufwachsen raise up; to raise [children, agriculture], to cultivate
"Ich ward' hier in dem Township aufgeraist." "Ich bin hier in dem Dorf aufgewachsen." "I was raised here in the town."
jemanden/etwas gleichen jemanden/etwas mögen to like, appreciate
"Ich hab' den Movie geglichen."

"Ich gleich dich!"

"Ich hab den Film sehr gemocht."

"Ich mag dich!"

"I liked the movie."

"I like you!"

jemanden/etwas heißen jemand/etwas nennen to name someone
"Was hab'n sie das Kind geheißt?" [historically accurate use of "heißen - to call/name] "Wie haben sie das Kind genannt? "What have you named the child?"
jemanden/etwas pullen jemanden/etwas ziehen to pull [something]
"Sie pullen die Beets." "Sie roden Rüben." "They pull the beets up."
Zeit spenden Zeit verbringen to spend time [doing something]
"Wir dachten, wir könnten Zeit spenden bei deiner Grandmom." "Wir haben uns gedacht, wir könnten Zeit bei der Oma verbringen." "We thought we could spend time by/at Grandma's."
verzähle(n), schwätze(n), quatsche(n), plader(n), schnacken, babbel(n), rede(n) sprechen to speak, speaking,

to converse

North Dakota German samples[edit]

The story of the generally studied North Dakota German originates in southern central Germany. The ancestors of these Germans, also known as Volga Germans, had relocated to Russia in 1763 under invitation by Catherine the Great and organized over one hundred colonies which lined the Volga River near present-day Saratov. By 1884, many of these German-Russians began their journey to present-day North Dakota, and primarily chose to settle in the south-central part of the state. Settlements, as per ethnic tradition in Russia, were often based on "common religious affiliation."[37]

German-Russian Protestants traditionally are the hegemonic group within McIntosh County and the eastern half of Logan County.[37]

German-Russian Catholics traditionally are the hegemonic group within southern Emmons County and branch into western Logan County.[37]

The dialects of these immigrants, alongside cultural differences among the sub-ethnic groups of the "Volga Germans" are today often marked by small differences in meaning, word usage, and sometimes pronunciation which reflects the original regions of Germany from where many of the individuals of this ethnic group have their origins. The dialects of southern Germany often are tied together with shared meanings, sounds, and grammars,[34] though remain distinct in syntax and grammatical pattern and often individual word definitions. Therefore, when studying transcriptions, some varieties of North Dakota German may be understood by Pennsylvania Amish German speakers due to similarities, yet understanding is achievable from general dialect speakers or those familiar with southern German dialects. Though each respective member can establish communication with his own ethnic group's dialect or his town's dialect, neither dialect is the same.

Sample 1

"Mir habe e grosses Haus gehat... Auf einem End war sogar en Storch, hat sein Nest gehat. Die Storche sin nett, was sie dohin meinen. Die Storche, dadraus tragen kein Babies rum. Die kommen frihjahrs [frühjahrs] zurick un Winter spenden sie in der Sid. Wo das kann sei, kennt ich gar nett sage. Sie sin halt immer Sid gange, un zum Frihjahr sin sie komme un ha'n ihre Nester ausgeputzt un ha'n wider - manche, die habe vier Junge kriegt. Dir mersten habe bloss zwei. Ich hab einmal anständig Schläge kriegt von einem Storch. Er hatte Junges, das hat wolle schnell fliege lerne un war au nett star' genug. Un er ist auf der Bode gefalle un der alte Storch hat's nett kenne nuftrage wieder ins Nest. Un er ist halt rumgewandert." - Informant 7, Recorded in April 1976[38]

Sample 2

"Wir verzählen au' immer noch Deutsche bis jetzt, un' unsre kinder au', verzählen au' alle Deutsch. Un' ich hab' Deutsch gelernt daheim, bin Deutsch konfirmiert worden, un' zu unsrer Mutter verzähle ich auch immer noch Deutsch, aber es ist immer halber Englisch. Un' wo ich English gelernt habe, bin ich in Schul' gegange'." - 72 yr old Informant; Lehr, North Dakota, 1975

Missouri German samples[edit]

Over the years, Missouri became a state full of German enclaves.

In 1837 along the Missouri River, School Teacher George Bayer, a German of Philadelphia, traveled to Missouri and purchased 11,000 acres of land. When the first 17 settlers arrived on the newly purchased land, what would become Hermann, Missouri, the land terrain was unexpectedly unsuitable for a town. According to local legend and what could serve as a study for anthropological researchers into the ethnic characteristics of the Low Germans and other German ethnicities, the survival of this town is credited to German ethnic characteristic of perseverance and hard work.

"Ah... Ich heiße [omitted] und ich war... mein ganzes Leben war ich ein Farmer, und ich bin noch Farmer. Wir haben Rindvieh, Schweine, und ich baue Seubohne und Mais. Wir haben Hähne, En'en [Enten], Truthahn, bisschen von alles - ein Esel. Ja, ich habe 1979 angefangen im Postamt - 1979 und ah, ich konnte deutsch sprechen wie die andere im Postamtplatz. Alli konnten deutsch sprechen, und es hat gut gepasst, dass ich auch deutsch sprechen konnte. Aber diese sind... Alli meine Kameraden, wo an dem Postamt waren sind jetzt tot -- außer einer: Der Carl [omitted]. Er lebt noch. So er ist 89. Alli anderen sind tot.' Hermann German ("Hermanndeutsch") - Male Farmer informant, McKittrick, Missouri, 2014 [39]

While Hermann German is a recognized form of German, other German settlements and German American farms where German was and is spoken can still be found to this day. [40] This form of Saxon from the dialect of the region of Hannover, Germany can still be heard in pockets surrounding St. Louis, Missouri and in other reaches of the state.[41] Sample 2 (Conversational Saxon)

Speaker 1: "'s freut mich doch dass wir widor zusamm'n komm'n kenn'n."

  • Speaker 2: "Well danke schoen! Das freut mich auch! Mir sehen immor noch ziemlih gude aus!"
  • Speaker 1: "Ja. mir sind ja schon ald obor geht amol ganz gut."
  • Speaker 2: "Immor noch jung"

Excerpt from the interview: "Mir wuess'en kein Deitsch" This informant quickly fixed his mistake and said "Englisch". His corrected sentence in English:"We knew no English [when we went to school]."

Saxon German ("Deitsch"), two male interviewees, Perry County Lutherans, 2018

St. Genevieve, Missouri has also been the site of massive historic immigrant in-moving. The main groups of historic mention are the French-Americans of the area and migrants from Baden-Württemberg.[42] The migrations of the latter occurred primarily in the later decades of the 19th century.[43] In recent years, the preserved alemannic dialect in the town of New Offenburg was recorded in the documentary film “New Offenburg.[43]” Sample 3 (Conversational New Offenburg Alemannic German)

"In de Morga, well all de do um mi... mi... mi Pecanbaum, [a Eichhos'] ist gsucht gang hette und het a Pecan gessa. Des woar boutta halb Stunde zuruck - a roder Eichhos'."

New Offenburg Alemannic German ("Dietsch") from "New Offenburg" [43]

  • Informant 1: "Oh ya! Ich gleych süss' Korn."
  • Informant 2: "Er het a groasse Booch"
  • Informant 1: "Na dann."
  • Informant 2: "Aer esst gut! Unsere Muodor, wenn sie kocht het, het sie nix g'messerd. Eh bissili Salz und ah bissili Pfeffor und a [indiscernible], no het sie es tasted, und um, wenn's a moch gut taste het, denn het sie's stoppt und het sie's kocht. Sie woar d' best Koch was ich ever -- uh was mir khed hend."

New Offenburg Alemannic German ("Dietsch") from "New Offenburg" [43]

German language schools[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Appendix Table 2. Languages Spoken at Home: 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2007". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Detailed Language Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English for Persons 5 Years and Over --50 Languages with Greatest Number of Speakers: United States 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Language Spoken at Home: 2000". United States Bureau of the Census. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  5. ^ "Mother Tongue of the Foreign-Born Population: 1910 to 1940, 1960, and 1970". United States Census Bureau. March 9, 1999. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "US Census Bureau American Community Survey (2009-2013)" (XLS). Census.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  7. ^ "Language Map Data Center". Mla.org. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  8. ^ Blatt, Ben, Tagalog in California, Cherokee in Arkansas: What language does your state speak?, retrieved 2014-05-13
  9. ^ "The Germans in America". The Library of Congress. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Albert Bernhardt Faust, The German Element in the United States
  11. ^ Thompson, Slason; Taylor, Hobart (1890). America: A Journal for Americans, Volume 4. American Publishing Company. p. 122.
  12. ^ Wittke, Carl (2016). Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 301. ISBN 151280875X.
  13. ^ "When Indiana Banned German in 1919 | Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Newspaper Program". Blog.newspapers.library.in.gov. 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  14. ^ "Expression Leads to Repression | Wisconsin Historical Society". Wisconsinhistory.org. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  15. ^ Stephen J. Frese. "Divided by a Common Language". History Cooperative. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Montana and World War 1" (PDF). Montana. p. 324. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  17. ^ Christopher Capozzola, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen (NY: Oxford University Press, 2008), 176–85, 190–3
  18. ^ "Table 5.Detailed List of Languages Spoken at Home for the Population 5 Years and Over by State: 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. February 25, 2003. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  19. ^ Chad Thompson: The Languages of the Amish of Allen County, Indiana: Multilingualism and Convergence, in Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Spring, 1994), pp. 69-91
  20. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  21. ^ Smith, pp. 68-69, 84-85.
  22. ^ Roslyn Cherie Burns: New World Mennonite Low German. An Investigating of Changes in Progress. Berkeley, 2016, page 26.
  23. ^ O'Connor, Kyrie (2013-03-10). "Texas German dying out: language of settlers aging with its users". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  24. ^ "Did Hebrew almost become the official U.S. language?". January 21, 1994. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  25. ^ Dennis Barron (March 1996). "Urban Legend: German almost became the official language of the US". soc.culture.german. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  26. ^ Harmeet Kaur (June 15, 2018). "FYI: English isn't the official language of the United States". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "Some states mandated English as the exclusive language of instruction in the public schools. Pennsylvania, and Ohio in 1839, were the first states to allow German as an official alternative to English instruction in schools, even requiring it upon parental demand". Ulib.iupui.edu. Archived from the original on 2010-06-24. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  28. ^ "duktus operandi". duktus operandi. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  29. ^ Dillon, Sam (20 January 2010). "Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  30. ^ "New MLA Survey Shows Significant Increases in Foreign Language Study at U.S. Colleges and Universities" (PDF). Modern Language Association. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  31. ^ https://www.americancouncils.org/sites/default/files/FLE-report.pdf
  32. ^ "Language". Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  33. ^ Metcalf, George (1974). "Reviewed Work". The German Quarterly. 47: 172–174. JSTOR 3806806.
  34. ^ a b Strauch, Gabrielle (1981). "German American Dialects. State of Research in the Mid West: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas". Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik. 48: 313–328. JSTOR 40502763.
  35. ^ Coggeshall, John (1986). ""One of Those Intangibles": The Manifestation of Ethnic Identity in Southwestern Illinois". The Journal of American Folklore. 99: 177207. JSTOR 539972.
  36. ^ Salmons, Joe (17 June 2015). "Register evolution in an immigrant language: The case of some Indiana German Dialects". Word. 42: 31–56. doi:10.1080/00437956.1991.11435831.
  37. ^ a b c Read, Tamar (1983). "The German-Russians in North Dakota a Brief History". Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  38. ^ Spiker, Allen (1975). A Survey of English Loanword Usage in the Spoken German Language of German-Russians in North Dakota. Grand Forks, North Dakota: University of North Dakota.
  39. ^ kbiadotorg (2014-04-14), Hermanndeutsch, retrieved 2019-04-28
  40. ^ "OzarksWatch". thelibrary.org. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  41. ^ Bill Bock and Edgar Dreyer speaking Saxon German, retrieved 2019-09-30
  42. ^ "Ste. Genevieve History - Ste. Genevieve Missouri Tourism". Ste. Geneviève Tourism. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  43. ^ a b c d Suhm, Johannes. "New Offenburg".
  44. ^ "Home". Cincinnati Public Schools. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  45. ^ "Home". German Language School Cleveland. Archived from the original on 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  46. ^ "Welcome to Ohio German Language School". Ohiogermanlanguageschool.org. 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
  47. ^ "German School Phoenix — German Saturday School". .germanschoolphoenix.org. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  48. ^ Goethe-Institut: USA
  49. ^ "Milwaukee German Immersion School — Just another MPS School Sites site". .milwaukee.k12.wi.us. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  50. ^ "German International School Chicago".

Further reading[edit]

  • Gilbert, Glenn G. (ed.). The German Language in America: A Symposium. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971.
  • Kloss, Heinz (1998) [1977]. The American Bilingual Tradition (reprint ed.). McHenry, Ill.: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems. ISBN 1-887744-02-9.
  • Salmons, Joe (ed.). The German Language in America, 1683-1991. Madison, Wis: Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993.
  • Halverson, Rachel; Costabile-Heming, Carol Anne (2015). Taking Stock of German Studies in the United States: The New Millennium. Rochester: Camden House. ISBN 9781571139139.

External links[edit]