A New Garment for Our Dialect (1939)

All students and lovers of our dialect and its literature will welcome the movement to standardize the orthography of the Pennsylvania German. Nothing has so impeded the progress and the spread of our lore and literature as the arbitrary and inconsistent spelling which, since the days of Henry Harbaugh, our writers have employed in recording the dialect.
To bring order out of this chaos is no small task. It must therefore be gratifying news to our readers that a number of disinterested persons assembled in the Community House at Hershey, Pa., on last Saturday, January 28, for the purpose of discussing such standardization. That a group of some forty people of the most varied interests, lawyers, teachers, clergymen, poets, columnists, newspaper men, and members of both the Pennsylvania German Society and the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society could assemble and amicably discuss the intricate problems which the subject implies, is in itself a most hopeful sign and presages a successful solution.
Among those present were the following:
Dr. P. C. Croll, Womelsdorf, Pa., the well known founder of the Pennsylvania German Magazine, with Mrs. Croll and their daughter Mrs. Amie Croll Dodson; Mr. Bryant Wiest, Elizabethville, theater owner, who frequently presents dialect programs; Mr. A L. Lehman, Elizabethville, Pa., who is organizing a Deitsche Versammling for Dauphin County; Dr. E. M. Hartman, President of Franklin and Marshall Academy, Lancaster, Pa.; Dr. John Baer Stoudt, well known historian and genealogist; Dr. A. G. Breitenstein, Hershey, Pa., Dean of Hershey Junior College; Mr. and Mrs. Munroe Aurand, of Aurand’s Book Store, Harrisburg, Pa.; Dr. Clyde S. Stine, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa.; the Rev. Pierce Swope, Lebanon, Pa., humorist and popular speaker at dialect meetings; John Birmelin, the Poet Laureate of our dialect; Lloyd Moll, prose writer and columnist of the Chronicle and News, Allentown, Pa.; Dr. Preston A. Barba, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.; Harry Weyrick, Esq., of the Lebanon County Historical Society; Mr. Harry Hummel, Lebanon, Pa.; Dr. Alvin Stonecypher, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa.; Mr. G. Gilbert Snyder, Robesonia, Pa., “Die Wunnernaus” dialect newscaster, station WEEU, Reading; Mr. Roy G. Dundore, Lebanon, Pa., who conducts dialect programs at family reunions; Dr. and Mrs. Gerrit Memming, Albright College, Reading, Pa.; Mr. Paul Wieand, Allentown, Pa., author of numerous dialect plays; Mr. Victor Dieffenbach, contributor to Lebanon papers under the pen name “Der Oldt Bauer;” Dr. Arthur D. Graeff, “Der Dichter vun de Dolpehock,” and contributor to Reading papers; Mrs. Arthur D. Graeff and Mrs. G. G. Snyder, “Die Maed,” who sing dialect songs; Mr. George Reinert, leader of the quartette known as “Die Friedliche Viere;” Mr. C. Kaler Hackman, Womelsdorf, Pa.; Mr. Edgar Messerschmidt, Myerstown, Pa.
Others who wrote letters, manifesting their interest in this movement, were: the Rev. William H. Erb, Norristown, Pa., well known dialect poet “Der Gus;” Dr. George Korson, Bucknell University, Lewistown, Pa., Mr. Harry Miller, “Der Deitsch” of the Lititz Express; Mr. W. R. Dundore, “Der Beloit Deitscher,” Beloit, Wisc.; Mr. E. R. Haag, Wyomissing High School; Dr. Alfred Gerberich, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.,; Dr. Frederick G. Livingood, Washington College, Georgetown, Md.; Mr. Herbert C. Kohler of the Reading Times; Mr. Daniel K. Koch of the Reading Eagle; Mr. Harvey Miller “Solly Hulsbuck,” Elizabethville, Pa.; Prof. A. F. Kemp, County Supt. of the Berks County Schools; the Rev. Thomas Brendle, Egypt, Pa.; Col. Henry Shoemaker, State Librarian; Prof. Donald Klopp, Red Bank, N. J. and Dr. William L. Werner, of Penn State College; Mr. Henry L. Landis, “Der Gross Henner” of the Lancaster-New Era; Mr. Henry S. Borneman, Secretary of the Pennsylvania German Society; Dr. J. L. Hertz, one of the original organizers of the P. G. Society; Mr. Michael A. Gruber, dialect poet and genealogist, Washington, D.C.
Prof. Clyde Stine acted as Chairman at this conference, and Dr. Arthur Graeff as Secretary. Dr. Preston Barba presented for discussion the outlines of a system of orthography based on German phonetics which was generally accepted as a working basis. A committee was appointed to perfect the system and to report at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society, to be held at Muhlenberg College, April 22, 1939.—Ed.

The Morning Call (Allentown), February 4, 1939, page 7

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Filed under Bibliography, Pennsylvania German

One response to “A New Garment for Our Dialect (1939)

  1. Pingback: A Working Bibliography for the Study of the Pennsylvania German Language and Its Sources | Richard Mammana

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