Es Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Eck

Es Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Eck

(Originally published in the September 16, 1981 issue of
The Shopping News)


Der Mensch
By Ernest Waldo Bechtel


Was is der Mensch? Wu geht er hie?

Mit Hend un Fiess, Kopp un Gnie,

Gemacht aus Schtaab, so saage Deel;

Un no is gschwetzt aa vun re Seel.


Er kummt in die Welt en ganz glee Kind,

Greischt un macht, zawwelt un brillt.

Yetzt is er uff em Lewesweg,

Das hie un her schpringt wie en grummi Schteeg.


Kummt die Kindheit un sei erschde Schritt:

Er darigelt un fallt un lannt damit.

Glei laaft er schtrack mit em Kopp in die Heh,

Hot’s Lewe versucht un er will noch meh.


Uffgewaxe nau is des Kind,

Lannt Recht vun Letz, heert vun Sind;

Geht an die Arewet, verdient sei Geld,

Sei Weg zu mache darich die Welt.


Noh kummt en Daag wie’s dutt zu all,

Benaamt bei Deel ‘Der Doodesgnall.”

Der Kareber endlich schteif un alt,

Mit Aage drieb un Hend so kalt.


Endlich, mit der Aage zu,

Der Odem fatt, en Mensch in die Ruh.

Esch zu Esch un Schtaab zu Schtaab,

Dief im Boddem, doot im Graab.


Is der Mensch yuscht so viel Schtaab,

Gemacht fer verfaule dief im Graab?

Odder geht die Seel uff allehand

Naus mit em Odem gege Himmelsland?


Mann is net gemacht yuscht aus em Schtaab:

Net die Hend, der Kopp odder yedes Aag.

En Seel is was er aa noch hot,

Gemacht bei der allmechdiche Hand vun Gott.


Die kalt, kalt Erd is net unser Bett:

Lebt frehlich mei Freind un druwwelt eich net.

Lebt wie Mensche benaamt ‘Goddesleit,’

Un faricht eich net wege die Ewichkeit.


Mir Lanne Deitsch – A Review

With the publication of Mir Lanne Deitsch, A Guide for Learning the Skills of Reading, Writing and Speaking Pennsylvania German by Pastor Richard Druckenbrod of Allentown, a unique approach to the study of the Pennsylvania German language is now in print. We are grateful to our long-time friend “Drucky” Druckenbrod for sending us a personal copy, which we are reviewing this week, for many of our readers will want to know about Mir Lanne Deitsch.

In the Introduction, Parre Druckenbrod points out that Mir Lanne Deitsch “is a course of study designed for persons of various ages, primarily for adults, who desire to acquaint themselves with the dialect and gain the basic language skills of reading and writing, hearing and speaking.” Rev. Druckenbrod has also prepared a series of cassette tapes intended to assist the student in mastering the pronunciation of Pennsylvania Dutch. Vocabulary lists are included with the textbook, which consists of 178 pages in a special loose-leaf notebook. Parre Druckenbrod has also prepared for the instructor (of a dialect course using these materials) a packet containing overhead transparencies for the translation exercises, conversation patterns, etc.

Mir Lanne Deitsch consists of fourteen Kabiddel which cover historical, pedagogical, linguistic, cultural, as well as grammatical topics. In Kabiddel 1 “Drucky” discusses “Which Is Correct? Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch?” On page 11, he rightly states that “The truth of the matter is that there is a fair sized body of literature printed in Pennsylvania German.” In Kabiddel 2, in sections 2:20-2:30, the sounds of Pennsylvania Dutch are presented, but no discussion of the regional and social variations is given. Dialect speakers from the Old Order communities may find that their own pronunciation differs in some respects from the “classical” description given by Druckenbrod.

At the beginning of each chapter beyond Chapter 2, an aspect of Pennsylvania German grammar is presented, followed by translation exercises and conversation patterns. There are many useful illustrations and sketches at key places in the text. Some of the most interesting are: Mei Schtammbaam, der Kaerper, die Scheier, Prepositions governing either the dative or the accusative, es Gaarde Gschaerr, and Im Greitz-wegschtor. Appendix A gives a Dutch to English vocabulary list. Appendix B presents an English to Dutch word list.

Kabiddel 5 is entitled Der Mensch and most appropriately features the poem by the same title by Ernie Bechtel. Der Mensch, which was written on September 21, 1973, by Bechtel, is in our opinion his best poem to date. It seemed most appropriate to head our column with this poem this week. (By the way, although Bechtel and Beam are not related to each other, both are cousins of Richard Druckenbrod. Sis en gleeni Welt.)

Parre Druckenbrod has spent a great deal of time and effort in the preparation of Mir Lanne Deitsch, which has been prepared for and field-tested for use in general community education courses, such as those taught by the author at Lehigh County Community College, Northampton County Area Community College and for the Promotion Department of The Allentown Morning Call. We salute “Drucky” for this impressive achievement.

September 16, 1981

Es Bischli-Gnippli