Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PA German Tuesday- Sum Dutchified Inklish

I know Susie has been anxiously awaiting some funny words and I aim to please. before we get to the brief listing of some of my favorite terms I want to make something very clear. There are those who would assert that PA German is not truly a dialect, that it is merely a local mangling of standard English. I beg to differ. The local vernacular would be considered Dutchified English. That's not a technical term used by linguists as far as I know, but I think most locals would agree on the usage. True Pennsylvania German is a dialect entirely separate from English. It has it's own vocabulary and grammar rules. My own stepfather spoke only this dialect until he went to school. Though it is nearly impossible to find anyone under the age of 50 outside the Amish and Mennonite communities who speaks the dialect anymore there has been an effort at cultural preservation. Kutztown University of PA now offers a minor in PA German studies which includes dialect classes as well as history.

Ok, onto the fun words. Today I will just start with some of my favorite terms that I grew up hearing or still use myself. I will be using mostly phonetic spellings to try to get across the way a PA German accent sounds. I'll take some from Gary Gates' books How to Speak Dutchified English, vol 1 & 2, some from A. Monroe Aurand, Jr's Quaint Idioms and Expressions of the Pennsylvania Germans, and some from my own head.

All: finished, all gone. Can I have another piece of butter bread? No, the bread's all.

Butter bread: You never have your evening meal that bread is not on the table and bread must be buttered.

Dippy Eck: eggs sunny side up, so you can dip your toast in the yolk.

Doppick: Gates says this means dumb but when I was growing up it was used as a reference to clumsiness. I never saw sooch a doppick chilt as you!

Ferhoodled: Confused, mixed up. Vell naw, did Pappy say to come ofer on Mondee or Tuesdee? I cain't remember, I'm all ferhoodled.

Filling: What most folks call stuffing, even though a proper potato filling doesn't get stuffed into a bird but baked in a casserole. I had a very difficult time with Isaac on Thanksgiving since he insisted on calling the potato filling 'stuffing.' It ain't right, I tell you. The boy is ferikked!

Ferikked: deranged, sick in the head.

For so: just for fun. Is that new dress for a special occasion? No, it's chust for so.

Hinnerdale: hindquarters, backside. He'll get a paddling on his hinnerdale if he doesn't behafe!

Get awt (out): an expression of surprise. The dress was on sale. I only paid $20 for it. Get awt!

Grex: complain, whine, moan. Grexy is also used to describe fussy babies. Naw sit dawn and do your lessons (homework) and don't grex so.

Nix Nootz: mischeivous person. That little boy is such a nix nootz!

Outten: turn off. Outten the lights. It's time for bed.

Rhett beat ex: no this is not about Scarlett O'Hara getting her due. It's a popular recipe for eggs pickled in vinegar with red beets.

Rutch (vowel sound rhymes with that of 'foot'): squirmy, unsettled. Would you stop rutching around so!

Shnoop-dook (again, rhymes with foot): handkerchief. More or less translates as nose wipe.

Schmutz (same rhyme as above two): can mean to gunk up or to kiss. Schmutz up the axle with some grease but go wash up before you try to give me a schmutz.

Stroobly: messy, unkempt hair but really no decent English equivalent becasue it goes beyond bedhead. Such a stoobly mess! Have you ever met a comb?

Vendue (more often pronounced with an initial F sound): public sale or auction, farmer's market. Will I see you at the vendue on friday?

Dutchmen may not always speak properly and as such the term 'dumb Dutchman' is commonly heard. Most folks who hear a thick accent unfairly assume a person is lacking in intellect and education. For this reason my parents were quite strict about the language my brother and I used. No child of theirs was going to be called a dumb Dutchman. That said, here's a little joke about the situation. It illustrates several PA German values actually.

A dutchman farmer scrimped and saved to send his only child, a daughter, to Kutztown College. So after graduating high school off she goes. During her first semester she enjoys the party life a bit too much and comes to make a decision she regrets. At Christmas break she comes home and tells her father,

"Daddy, I have bad news. I'm sorry. I ain't a wirgin (virgin) anymore. Please forgive me."

He hollers, "Vot (what) dit choo say?!"

"I ain't a wirgin anymore, Daddy. I'm sorry."

"Vell, I cain't belief such a sing (thing)! This is crazy! I'm just feraikled (disgusted) by this whole sing!"

"Daddy, I know I brought shame on you since I ain't a wirgin and I'm sorry."

"I don't care you're not a wirgin, girl! I cain't belief I spend good money to send you to Kutztown and you STILL say 'ain't'!"


Crabby said...

GASP! Ferikked...that was aimed at me and Manny, huh? We're Ferikked. But...we're no wirgin! that's for sure.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Very cool stuff. I'm always intrigued with dialects and the lilt of different regions.

Seamus said...

My grandmother used "Ferikked" until she died. She picked it up after living in eastern PA. None of us wanted to see her looking at us when that word was uttered. LOL!

furiousBall said...

I don't mean to grex, but I feel ferikked. That was just for so.

Hey, this is fun.

lime said...

crabby, i had that term aimed at me for most of my childhood. hehehe

real live lesbian, glad you enjoyed :)

seamus, LOL i can easily imagine the look that accompanied the usage.

furiousball, you'll be sounding liek a dutchman in no time if you keep that up!

Charles said...

Doppick reminds me of inept.

Maddy said...

Lummy! I thought it was tough here. I don't think I'd ever survive over there.

Suldog said...

Shnoop-dook. That is one of the best words ever. You can hardly say it without making some sort of snot sound, so it's perfect!

S said...

Ok that was great and you got me on a two hour tangent writing my own local language post, come and check it out...course, as a writer I suck so I just pasted some info together, and mentioned your post too!

Im pretty ferhoolded after all that!

Hypersonic said...

Fveddy good. Though if it has it's own grammar and vocabulary doesn't that make it a language and not a dialect. Is English only a dialect of German?

Theresa said...

I'm a bit ferhoodled after reading this post but I guess I shouldn't grex so much, because I'm sure I learned something. But bless my hinnerdale if I know what it is. ;)

Polt said...

AHHHH, This is awesome! I didn't know you were this close to me, Lime!!! I grew up over the mountain west of Gettysburg, and while I haven't heard a portion of these words, I've used All, Outten, Dippy Eggs and Filling all my life! :)

Very well done.


Anonymous said...

Those are funny. It's not just the words but the accent that is used.
Every part of the country is different.

James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

Ah, I've heard a bit of this spoken a time or two, though it has been quite a while. Thanks for pulling up the memories. :D

lecram said...

I suggest that everyone who comes by here work "Ferhoodled" at least once in their daily conversation for a week.

Great stuff as always. Cheers!

TLP said...

Since I live in South Central PA, I've heard all these words and more. I love the dutchified talk. The tilt is beautiful.

Give me your attention once and I'll talk your ear off.

david mcmahon said...

Great stuff. Reminds me I must post something about Hinglish (Hindi-English)!!!

Keyser Soze said...

Ferikked, Ferhoodled and Feraikled!

We have a band name!!!!

Yu nost I haf a sing fa wirden!

Love ya!

jillie said...

Outten and for so are two phrases that I remember as a kid. My grandparents and dad came from Germany so to listen to this is funny...hahahahaha!!!

I wish I could remember some of the catchy phrases der ey ;o)

Flash said...

My family used "for so" and "schmutz". but you got some reall good ones there...

Shari said...

Thanks for enlightening me with this post. It was very interesting.

Finish? Shake both hands away from you at chest level means "all done" but shake just one hand away to sign the word "Finish" which translates to "Knock it off" or "stop teasing me". It's all in the proberbial wrist how you want it to mean.

Found a link: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/f/finish.htm

TorAa said...

This is what makes languages and the development of languages and words so very exciting. The cultural mix, put it in a blender and voila - new words.

tsduff said...

I'm so ferhoodled about all these funny words... thanks Lime! Amazing number of them to learn.

G-Man said...

I dunno...
I always thought ferhoodled meant that you were uncircumsized!
I could be wrong....

Joeprah said...

Aint rules. Really funny stuff. Dialectal dictionaries are so funny. Here in Baltimore (where I grew up) there are a lot of quirky words and pronounciations that leave me scratchin my head. Peace.

Jeni said...

Very good post, my dear! I really enjoyed reading the terms/words you explained in this one.

cathy said...

doppick and ferhoodled describe me perfectly.

The reference to butter bread reminded me of teatime at home when I was a kid. Why do we only appreciate this stuff with hindsight?

Every time I see a post about dialects I think I should do one about my home county of lancashire in England.Maybe I will get round to it sometime soon.

Mona said...

Our Hinglish is also very Jhakkas.[ not to be confused with jack ass]

I loved some of the verds here. the wergin joke is hilarious.