York County group preserving Pennsylvania Dutch language, heritage

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East Prospect’s Tracy Winter shows off an antique toy truck at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage Group. The group meets from 1 to 3 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month at Providence Place, 3377 Fox Run Road, Dover Township. For details, call 266-2910. Background posts: Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking York County residents often conversed with German POWs, Classes offer rare op to learn Pennsylvania Dutch and ‘Persons should not be too modest’.

Q. What does the Pennsylvania Dutch phrase “Guder mariye” mean?
A. Good morning.
Q. And Wie bischt du heit?
A. How are you today?
Q. Ich bin zimmlich gut.
A. I am pretty good.
Q. Sitz dich anne un bleib e weil.
A. Set yourself (to there) and stay a while.
The Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and its related traditions are kept alive once at month in York County when the Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage Group meets in Dover… .


Here’s a bit more about what the group does at its meetings, according to a Weekly Record story (10/7/08):

“I read about it in the paper and started going to meetings, mostly because of the history and because my grandparents spoke Pennsylvania German,” said Rachael Gromling of Manchester. “We have show-and-tell with a different theme at every meeting, and it is like a living history when people bring in things and talk about them. We have speakers and singers and picnics and an auction in Dutch and we take trips to different festivals. One of the things I like best is when we have dinner in an Amish home. Everyone is so friendly, and we always have a lot of fun.”
Mollie Smith of West York said her parents spoke the dialect “amongst themselves but not to us, but we picked it up and I can speak it quite well.”
Smith enjoys getting together with the group and looks forward to the show-and-tell at each meeting.
Baby items were the theme of one of the more recent show-and-tell events, and Smith recalled that parents of a newborn received a gift of three glass baby bottles from Rutter’s Dairy. The practice was discontinued when other local dairies complained, she said.

A few more Pennsylvania Dutch phrases, from the Weekly Record story:
Q. Wie geth’s alleweil?
A. How goes it now?
Q. Witt du wennich eppes zu ess?.
A. Want you (a) little something to eat?
Q. Nee, denki, Ich muss schunn heem.
A. No thanks, I must already go home.
Q. Kumm ball wider.
A. Come soon again.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.

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