In my post, 4 Popular Myths About the Amish That Every Person Should Stop Believing, I talk about the fact that we speak our own language, called Amish. But many people are still confused, wondering if Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch are different languages or if our language should be called Amish instead of Pennsylvania Dutch.
What follows is my very short response to that. To do the topic justice requires a long post, or entire talk.
(Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.)
“PA Dutch” is a misnomer used to reference everybody and anybody who immigrated from Germany to PA centuries ago. PA Dutch has nothing to do with people who speak Dutch or are Dutch. In English speakers’ ears, Deutsch (the German word for German) sounded like Dutch way back when and 300-400 years later, calling various groups of people of German-speaking heritage who settled in PA “PA Dutch” continues.
My Dutch friends, by the way, are rightfully offended by the persistence of the term. But I get all sorts of flak from . . .
. . . self-proclaimed academic experts on us Amish, e.g., Donald Kraybill and his followers (who aren’t Amish and haven’t bothered learning our language), for pointing out these problems and attempting to set the record straight. Apparently I’m an ignorant Amish woman who doesn’t know anything about her own language, culture, and history. Anyway, I digress….
Many groups, to which this inaccurate label (“PA Dutch”) is applied, speak their own dialect of German, or what they speak today could be its own language by now. They also have their own unique foods and other cultural customs (i.e., not Amish), which are routinely mistaken by tourists and others for being Amish.
On top of that, many unethical individuals and businesses intentionally rip off the Amish brand. Claiming that one’s products are Amish or Amish-made sells, even when those claims are a lie or seriously misleading.
Hence the vast and confusing terrain of what is and isn’t Amish and why the Amish Heritage Foundation exists. We have 50+ years of mythologies to undo.
Watch the Video
Keep scrolling for the video version of this post.
Amish Culture Courses by Torah Bontrager, www.TorahBontrager.com/courses
FREE 5-Day Challenge (online course) “Who Are the Amish? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started as a Social Worker, Educator, or Advocate“: ➜ https://www.TorahBontrager.com/5Day
Want the scoop on Amish life? Sign up for my FREE weekly Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish“: ➜ https://www.TorahBontrager.com/scoop
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Visit https://www.TorahBontrager.com/courses to view all of the courses available to you. New courses added monthly.
WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Me to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, I give customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for social workers, educators, and law enforcement. Email me at torah @ TorahBontrager.com for more info.
FREE CHAPTER of my memoir Amish Girl in Manhattan. Click here.
Amish culture books, visit: ➜ https://www.TorahBontrager.com/amazon for Amazon and https://www.TorahBontrager.com/everywhere for everywhere else.