To the Editor of The Nation:
Sir: While at the Moravian boarding-school at Gnadenburg, in Silesia, my brother attended the University of Berlin for a winter. Then he spent two years at Heidelberg before I met him again. It was amusing to me to hear him speak German, as he had entirely changed his intonation and expression. It proved conclusively that there is a vast difference between Badenese and Prussian German, and that even foreigners are influenced by it. So it is with the German spoken in Pennsylvania, which, although now intermixed with English, can at once be recognized as originating in the Palatinate, whence the first settlers emigrated. My friend, Senator William Beidleman, who has made a study of Pennsylvania German (erroneously but generally called “Dutch”), tells me that when listening to men or women in the streets of Heidelberg, Worms, and Speier talking to each other, he could imagine himself among his farmer friends in Northampton County or anywhere in this neighborhood. The most successful writer in Pennsylvania “Dutch” at this time is Edward Ebermann, whose “Danny Kratzer” annual Christmas letters in the Bethlehem (Pa.) Bulletin retain the patois in its pristine purity. Mr. Ebermann also understands how to enter thoroughly into the spirit and mode of expression natural to those of our people who keep up the Pennsylvania “Dutch.” For the student of philology his letters are very interesting and amusing.
ARMIN DE BONNEHEUR. Bethlehem, Pa., December 16, 1898
One response to “Armin de Bonneheur to the Editor of The Nation (1898)”
Pingback: ￼A Working Bibliography for the Study of the Pennsylvania German Language and Its Sources | Richard Mammana