Pennsylvania Dutch English
Native toUnited States, Canada
RegionPennsylvania; Ohio; Indiana; Ontario; and elsewhere
Early forms
Latin (English alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
The Pennsylvania counties of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where Pennsylvania Dutch English has traditionally been spoken

Pennsylvania Dutch English is a dialect of English that has been influenced by the Pennsylvania Dutch language. It is largely spoken in South Central Pennsylvania, both by people who are monolingual in English and bilingual in Pennsylvania Dutch and English. The dialect has been dying out, as non-Amish younger Pennsylvania Germans tend to speak General American English.

Very few non-Amish members of these people can speak the Pennsylvania German language, although most know some words and phrases. The World War II generation of the mid-20th century was the last generation in which Pennsylvania Dutch was widely spoken outside the Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities.[1]

Features of Pennsylvania German influence

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Pennsylvania Dutch English differs from standard English in various ways.[2] Some of its hallmark features include:

Other calques include:

Pennsylvania Dutch English term Standard English term Pennsylvania German term Related Standard German term Word-for-word Standard German translation
Outen the lights. Turn off the lights. Mach's Licht aus. Mach das Licht aus. "Make the light out."
The [noun(s)] is/are all.
(e.g. The food is all.)
There is/are no more [noun(s)]. Die [nouns] sin all, OR Der/Die/Es [noun] is all. Die [nouns] sind alle, OR Der/Die/Das [noun] ist alle. "The [nouns] are all."
Don't eat yourself full. Don't fill yourself up. Iss dich net voll. Iss dich nicht voll. "Eat yourself not full."
There's cake back yet. There is cake to come. Es gibt datt noch Kuche. Es gibt da noch Kuchen. "There is still cake."
It wonders me. It makes me wonder. Es wunnert mich. Das wundert mich. "It wonders me."
Spritzing Lightly raining Schpritze Spritzen Spritzing
Rutsching Squirming Rutsche Rutschen "Slipping / Sliding"
Schusslich Clumsy (with things, usually due to hurrying) Schusslich Schusselig "Scatty / Scatterbrained"
Doplich / Doppich Clumsy (with oneself) Dappich Täppisch / Tappig "Clumsy"
Yah, well. Whatever / It makes no difference Ya, well. Ja, wohl. "Yes, well."
Wutz Pig (when someone eats a lot) Die Wutz Die Wutz "The Pig" (regional word)
Kutz / Kutzing Vomit / Vomiting Der Kotz / Kotze Die Kotze / Kotzen "Vomit"
Schtriwwelich Uncombed or stringy Schtriwwelich Strubbelig "Disheveled"
Brutzing / Grexing Whining / Complaining Brutze / Grexe Jammern / Klagen "Whining / Complaining"
Wuntz (Once) For a second / Quickly Eemols Einmal Once / One-time
Mox nix Irrelevant Macht's nix (Das) Macht nichts. "(That) Matters not."
Nix nootz / Nix nootzie Misbehaving (usually referring to a little kid) Nixnutz Nichtsnutz "No-use."
Schnickelfritz Troublemaker (usually referring to a little kid) Schnickelfritz Schnacken + Fritz "Chatting Fritz"
Right like Exactly the same as Genau wie / Yuscht wie Genau wie "Just like"

Other idioms include "Make wet?" meaning "Is it going to rain?", "hurrieder" meaning "faster", and "dippy eggs/ecks" meaning "over-easy or soft-boiled eggs".

See also


  1. ^ Di Domizio, Tony (November 10, 2010). "Pennsylvania Dutch dialect is still alive in the region". Souderton Independent.
  2. ^ Lynch, Larry. "Pennsylvania Dutch: Structure, Pronunciation, and Popular Expressions". Bright Hub Education.