Mudcat Café message #731006 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48582   Message #731006
Posted By: Ebbie
16-Jun-02 - 03:08 PM
Thread Name: Help: singing in German
Subject: RE: Help: singing in German
No, Marion, I'm no longer Amish. I left home the first time when I was 17, and haven't been Amish since. However, I have hundreds- thousands?- of Amish relatives, living in Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Costa Rica... (As you may have noticed, a great many of them have huge families. Some of my first cousins have 12 or so children.) And of course, I also have a great many Mennonite relatives, not to mention people in the many different classifications among them.

Joe O, my brother and I in recent years have found that pronouncing hochdeutsch tends to be easier, maybe because it's a written language so that you can visualize the word. But we sometimes used the German word and gave it a twist. Instead of saying 'gelb' for yellow, for instance, we said 'gale'. (As leenia said above, the L is pronounced in the front of the mouth, not in the throat. In the dialect, almost all Ls are soft. I don't know that that's true in hochdeutsch.) We rolled our Rs but we inserted a lot of English words too into our speech, sometimes incorporating them into the language. For instance, we said 'grrrravy', and we said 'blackberrien' for blackberries. I just remembered that we said 'grumberrien' for potatoes which means we were saying 'crooked berries' instead of 'ground berries'. We didn't use the high German word for them, or for most food.

Our family, being western US originally (Oregon)from a small community, didn't use as many dialectical words as they did in Virginia when we lived there. For instance, we said 'anvil', not 'ambose' as they did. And I remember a man who said 'bockabuch' for 'pocketbook'; I found that hilarious the first time, thinking I had misunderstood him. And I told a new brother in law that I liked the name he had given his holstein cow: Maple, because with her dark legs I agreed that she looked as though she had waded in maple syrup. My sister informed me, sotto voce, that he had said 'Mabel'. Talk about gaffes.

Most of the language involved colloquial rather than dictionary forms but we did utilize the formal and the familiar forms of speech. Family and friends we addressed as 'du' and 'sie'; for older people and strangers we said 'der' and 'es'.