The United States is seen as a native-English speaking country, and given that a whopping 78% of the population speaks English as their first language, that view is largely accurate. Many of the non-native speakers in the country are immigrants or come from an immigration background, so it can be easy to forget that there are many more languages native to the expansive North American land. Indigenous U.S. languages such as Navajo are still spoken by hundreds of thousands of people, despite endangerment, and other European languages still find a comfortable speaker base in the US—such as Louisiana French or Pennsylvania Dutch.
Despite its name, Pennsylvania Dutch is derived from German, not Dutch (although German and Dutch are extremely similar and somewhat mutually intelligible). Indeed, it is sometimes called Pennsylvania German instead. Modern-day speakers are generally descendants of immigrants to Midwestern states from southern Germany, with the language’s name stemming from Anglophone confusion about its autonym: Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch. Today, more than 300,000 people in the US and Canada are estimated to speak Pennsylvania Dutch natively, the majority belonging to Old Order religious groups such as the Amish or Mennonites. Despite the relatively low number of speakers, Pennsylvania Dutch remains in vigorous use thanks to its passionate speaker community.
Here at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to offer translation services for oft-overlooked languages like Pennsylvania Dutch. If you’d like a quote for our Pennsylvania Dutch translation services, just reach out!
Discovering the world of Pennsylvania Dutch
“Pennsylvania Dutch” is a bit of a misnomer, considering the language is neither spoken solely in Pennsylvania nor derived from Dutch. Speaker communities can be found in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. With most Pennsylvania Dutch speakers abstaining from modern technology, the language has an extremely limited online presence, but printed publications are also relatively uncommon. Pennsylvania Dutch does not even have a single standardized orthography—two writing systems, one based on English spelling conventions and the other on German, are accepted.
Pennsylvania Dutch is close enough to German that it could be considered a dialect, with the grammar and vocabulary heavily German-based, but with speakers living among Anglophones for centuries, countless English loanwords have found their way into commonplace parlance in the Pennsylvania Dutch community. The language retains German’s three grammatical genders but uses fewer noun cases, with three for personal pronouns and only two for other nouns. With a heavy reliance on the present perfect and the usage of separable verbs, however, Pennsylvania Dutch has preserved key features German is known for.
We can cover all your Pennsylvania Dutch translation needs.
Here at TranslationServices.com, we’re passionate about bringing you the translation services you need—whether that means translating to or from Pennsylvania Dutch. We can translate all sorts of documents, whether they’re corporate, pedagogical, literary, or personal in nature, since our team is staffed with native Pennsylvania Dutch speakers passionate about translating their language.
To help spread knowledge of Pennsylvania Dutch culture to the Anglophone majority that surrounds these communities, we can translate Pennsylvania Dutch literature and other messages that speakers may like to disseminate. To aid in the continued preservation of this precious language, we can also translate literary works or educational materials for children into Pennsylvania Dutch. Of course, we can translate many other documents as well—we’re flexible.
Looking to get started with Pennsylvania Dutch translation services today? Just reach out with a message!