How to speak the Amish Language

November 4, 2009 | Category: Amish language | Posted by: Sarah

Since I started working at the Visitors Bureau, many people have asked me how to speak the Amish language. I’ve recently picked up 2 books called “How to speak Dutchified English” by Gary Gates & “Quaint Idioms & Expressions of the PA Germans” by A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. I’d like to start sharing some of the word pronounciation & expressions that are in this book with you. These are great nuggets of the Amish culture for your enjoyment!

EXCITED: 1. eiferich 2. uffgschafft. Sie is all uffgschafft iwwer der Bsuch. She is all excited about the visit.
PANCAKE: 1. Flammkuche, 2. Pannekuche

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26 Comments

  1. Joanne
    on February 20th, 2010
    1

    When growining up, my mom used to say what we thought was a Pennsylvania Dutch saying when we would ask what’s for dinner she would answer what we thought was translated as a little of this and a little of that. It was something like wooner __nauser_____. Does any one know this and how to spell it?

  2. theresa
    on November 16th, 2010
    2

    I dont care about the culture i just want to learn how to speak dutch so i can have a long conversation with an amish person is there a website and watever help me plz!

  3. helena durian
    on January 14th, 2011
    3

    http://www.taalhuis.nl

    this is what my grandson is using .And is free and very good .

  4. Michael Werner
    on March 10th, 2011
    4

    Here is the link to the Pennsylvania German newspaper “Hiwwe wie Driwwe”. You will find Pennsylvania Dutch online lessons there …

  5. katrina
    on January 13th, 2012
    5

    you can learn amish pennsylvania dutch here

  6. gail baker van horn
    on May 9th, 2012
    6

    i would love to speak dutch. i have dutch in me.

  7. Karen
    on August 7th, 2012
    7

    My father who just passed away at age 94 used to say a phrase Maus goot which meant “be good” whenever I would leave him… does anyone know the correct spelling as I would like to put it in a memorial

  8. Tim
    on August 15th, 2012
    8

    I would say he was saying the German equivalent of “mach es gut” or “mach’s gut.”. I wouldn’t know how to spell it in Pennsylvania Dutch/German though.

  9. Zack
    on October 3rd, 2012
    9

    All my grandparents (ancestors) on my mother’s, mother side spoke/speaks Pennylvania Duetch. I am trying to learn it. Espically for when I go to college in the Amish Country, a little town called Lyons Station I want to go to Kutztown University and it would be helpful to know the languge my grandmother taught my sisters and me “Kanst du micha faung” (can you catch a fly?) and the response “ja once sie hucabliva (yes, once it is sitting still)

  10. Lizbeth
    on November 5th, 2012
    10

    My grandfather can speak the language, and h grandmother was Mennonite so I would love to learn PA Dutch!

  11. Learning
    on January 6th, 2013
    11

    Mach ‘s goot = Make it good

  12. Jack Speese
    on March 12th, 2013
    12

    I’m learning PA Dutch too, it’s fairly easy for me because I know “standard” German. Indeed the Hiwwe wie Driwwe site does has some good lessons, as others have suggested. My ancestors of my grandparent’s generation all spoke it too, which is why I’m interested in learning it, but unfortunately my dad wasn’t linguistically inclined or motivated and he just learned a few phrases. By way of analogy, I’d say it’s as different from standard German as Robert Burn’s poetry (in Scottish dialect) is from standard English, actually not as much so because I can read PA Dutch better than I can “Bobbie Burns”!

  13. Lillian Stoltzfus
    on March 13th, 2013
    13

    To have a chance at winning a free “Speaking Amish: A Beginner’s Introduction to Pennsylvania German” book, please like my “Speaking Amish” Facebook page and share this link on your wall.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Speaking-Amish/593820013967818?fref=ts

    If I get 500 likes by April 1, 2013, I will give away one book. If I get 1,000 likes by April 1, 2013, I will give away two books.

  14. matt
    on March 21st, 2013
    14

    Hi. I was looking for some help. My grandmother was pa dutch. She used to have a saying. Im gonna spell this all wrong but it was like “octuleva lui” she used to say it meant oh my goodness or something along those lines. I want to put it in a memorial for her so i want the proper spelling. If anyone know please help me out. Thx

  15. Jay
    on May 31st, 2013
    15

    I’m also wanting to learn to speak, read, and write PA Dutch. I speak Hoch Deutsch, but have picked up a little bit of the Bavarian/Schwabisch accent having lived in Southern Germany for over three years. One reply to Macht’s Gut, would be Danke, Macht’s Besser or Danke gleichfalls, or Ebenfalls, or Dir Auch! there are many responses.

  16. Holly
    on June 12th, 2013
    16

    It’s “Ach Du Lieber!”, which means “Oh my goodness!” My Dad is fluent in Pa. Deutsch. I’m trying to pick up some of the language – it’s tough :). Any Bechtold’s from Lebanon Co./Berks Co. out there? I’m also trying to research my family name of Bechtold.

  17. Tracy
    on June 21st, 2013
    17

    I know a few of the saying as I was raised in Womelsdorf Pa. My grandparents spoke the language and my mother understood it. They did not teach it to us younger ones.

  18. Miau
    on September 10th, 2013
    18

    He guys,

    I am German but study English. At the moment I am writing a term paper about Pennsylvania German and its future and would love to hear your opinions about its future prospects.
    Do you think the language will survive? If yes will it need special measures to protect it? Is it still used in every day life? and so on and so forth.
    I would be very grateful for any responses!

    Many greetings from Hamburg!

  19. seleana
    on September 10th, 2013
    19

    Help me learn Amish please, i’m 14 and so interested in Amish thnx ppl

  20. John
    on September 11th, 2013
    20

    In reference to Karen’s inquiry, if he said it when you were leaving from him and it sounded how you spelled it, he was saying “Mach’s gut”. It simply means good bye. It is the most common way that Penn. Dutch speakers say good bye. Hope this helps you out.

  21. Mary
    on September 17th, 2013
    21

    There are great lessons on you tube. We home school and all 4 children have used this to get started. It is PA Dutch 101. Enjoy

  22. seleana
    on September 23rd, 2013
    22

    Thankyou very much Mary, this will defintly help me a lot

  23. seleana
    on September 25th, 2013
    23

    Well you offended me and my culture hannah, i am ashamed of you

  24. Rosey
    on December 5th, 2013
    24

    I am pa dutch and monnite and I am 10 but I grew up Amish and I follow all of the rules . I only know how to speak a little bit of pa Dutch . I’m not the best either , I remember me and my twin sister use to fight over who gets to go get the chicken eggs for breakfast and my mother use to always say ” venbuskitan khaki nomkhas emolapono yubuskhi ” which means ” stop fighting little rascals , you will both get a turn . Be good to each other before you guys kill each other !

  25. remi
    on February 18th, 2014
    25

    Can PA dutch understand standard german?

  26. Kristen May
    on February 19th, 2014
    26

    Most Amish are trilingual, speaking English, Pennsylvania Dutch (a dialect of German) and High German. In addition, many can understand most standard German.

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