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Pennsylvania Dutch

The Story of an American Language

Mark L. Louden

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The fascinating story of America's oldest thriving heritage language.

Winner of the Dale W. Brown Book Award by the Young Center for Anabaptists and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College

While most world languages spoken by minority populations are in serious danger of becoming extinct, Pennsylvania Dutch is thriving. In fact, the number of Pennsylvania Dutch speakers is growing exponentially, although it is spoken by less than one-tenth of one percent of the United States population and has remained for the most part an oral vernacular without official recognition or support. A true...

The fascinating story of America's oldest thriving heritage language.

Winner of the Dale W. Brown Book Award by the Young Center for Anabaptists and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College

While most world languages spoken by minority populations are in serious danger of becoming extinct, Pennsylvania Dutch is thriving. In fact, the number of Pennsylvania Dutch speakers is growing exponentially, although it is spoken by less than one-tenth of one percent of the United States population and has remained for the most part an oral vernacular without official recognition or support. A true sociolinguistic wonder, Pennsylvania Dutch has been spoken continuously since the late eighteenth century despite having never been "refreshed" by later waves of immigration from abroad.

In this probing study, Mark L. Louden, himself a fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch, provides readers with a close look at the place of the language in the life and culture of two major subgroups of speakers: the "Fancy Dutch," whose ancestors were affiliated mainly with Lutheran and German Reformed churches, and traditional Anabaptist sectarians known as the "Plain people"—the Old Order Amish and Mennonites.

Drawing on scholarly literature, three decades of fieldwork, and ample historical documents—most of which have never before been made accessible to English-speaking readers—this is the first book to offer a comprehensive look at this unlikely linguistic success story.

Reviews

Reviews

[Pennsylvania Dutch] is written in a very accessible style and provides good information about the Pennsylvania Dutch language.

Louden captures the spirit of the folk-cultural narrative and remains engaging, accessible, and entertaining to a wide range of audiences.

The definitive guide to the subject.

Indeed, this is a one-of-a-kind, exceptionally valuable book... So, scrape your pennies together, and go buy this book—before it's sold out!

Louden’s interdisciplinary work, sweeping as it does through centuries of history and across a vast continent, draws on three decades of study into the language’s evolution and social history.

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Book Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. What Is Pennsylvania Dutch?
2. Early History of Pennsylvania Dutch
3. Pennsylvania Dutch, 1800–1860
4. Profiles in Pennsylvania Dutch Literature
5. Pennsylvania Dutch in the

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. What Is Pennsylvania Dutch?
2. Early History of Pennsylvania Dutch
3. Pennsylvania Dutch, 1800–1860
4. Profiles in Pennsylvania Dutch Literature
5. Pennsylvania Dutch in the Public Eye
6. Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish and Mennonites
7. An American Story
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Mark L. Louden
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Mark L. Louden

Mark L. Louden is the Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics and director of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.