Es Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Eck

Es Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch Eck

(Originally published in the July 31, 1985 issue of
The Shopping News)

Die Farewich Mudderschprooch
by Gladys S. Martin


Es sin so ordlich Dinge

In de Deitsche Mudderschprooch,

As e bissli gschpassich laude,

Wann mer schtoddiet hinne nooch.


Mer saagt so Dinge gwehnlich

Un mer denkt net even draa.

Uscht harich nau zu was ich saag,

Vielleicht muscht lache aa!


Wann ich en nochberlich Schtick dann duh

Fer freindlich sei zu Leit,

Dann saage sie, “Ich schmeiss en Schtee

In dei Gaarde moll some Zeit.”


Was wett ich mit en anner Schtee?

Sin blendi nau schun doh.

Ich wunner, macht en anner Schtee

Mich glicklich odder froh?


Wann ebbes zu viel Badder is,

Dann wesch ich glei die Hend

Un saag de Leit, “Du weescht,

Sell’s zu viel Zucker fer en Cent!”


Un mei Daadi hot des oftmols gsaat,

Wann’s widder Zeit waar fer schaffe:

“Des kaaft de Bopp ken Frack.”

Sell hot uns all gmacht lache.


Un wann die Kinner zu viel Yacht

Gemacht hen, wie Kinner duhne,

Dann hot der Pap als gsaat zu uns:

“Sell is moll genunk Hoi hunne!”


“So bees sie hot net Buhne gsaat!”

“Zopp an dei eegne Naas!”

Die Sache laude gschpassich

Un wann mer zu viel raast.


Dann is mer “schusslich” ewwe,

Un sie saage glei zu dich:

“Ferwas heebscht net dei Hosse?

Du bischt ganz newich dich!”


Mer benaamt so viel so Sache,

As en Deel vum Kareber is:

“Er schpitzt die Ohre; ihr Naas is zu katz!”

“Er hot langi Finger, gewiss!”


“Er hot Gnepp hinnech de Ohre,”

Wann er wennich nixnutzich is,

Un’s “noch net drucke hinnich de Ohre,”

Wann er yung un unschuldich is.


Un “ich geh iwwer der Damm,”

Wann ich wunnerbaar verschtaunt bin;

Un es nemmt “bis die Kieh heem kumme,”

Wann ich ordlich lang waard fer en Ding.


Sis vielleicht “en Haas in de Peffer,”

Un vielleicht “en Mick in der Mehl,”

Un ich saag, “Geh, badder die Katz!”

Wann ich leedich bin Kinner-Gegweel.


Ebmols “schtreckt mer eem nooch de Deck,”

Wann’s Geld in de Sack is all fatt;

Un “sell glaabt der Jecky Keller net!”

Is noch so en alder Schpruchwatt.


So sehscht du die Mudderschprooch farewich

Un du sehscht as des Deitsch hebt viel Gschpass;

So loss uns so Rede net vergesse,

En Hatz gschpiert so gut wann mer lacht.

March 28, 1984


The Colorful Mother-Tongue

There are many things

In this German mother-tongue

That sound a bit strange,

If one reflects on the matter.


One says these things habitually

And one does not even think about it.

Just listen now to what I say,

Maybe you’ll have to laugh too!


If I do a neighborly deed

To be friendly to folks,

They say, “I’ll throw a stone

In your garden sometime.”


What would I want with another stone?

There are plenty here already.

I wonder, would another stone

Make me lucky or happy?


When something is too much trouble,

Then I soon wash my hands

And say, “You know

That’s too much sugar for a cent!”


And my father often said,

When it was time to go back to work:

“This won’t buy the baby a dress,”

This made us all laugh.


And when the children made

Too much noise, as children do,

Father used to say to us:

“You have enough hay down now!”


“So angry she couldn’t say ‘Beans!’”

“Tug at your own nose!”

These expressions sound strange

And if you rush about too much.


Then one is just clumsy,

And they soon say to you:

“Why don’t you hold your pants?”

“You are besides yourself!”


One names so many things,

That are part of the body:

“He points his ears; her nose is too short!”

“He has long fingers for sure!”


“He has lumps behind his ears,”

If he has been naughty,

And “not yet dry behind the ears,”

If he is young and innocent.


And ‘I’ll go over the dam,”

When I am very surprised;

And it takes “till the cows come home,”

If I wait a long time for something.


Perhaps there is “rabbit in the pepper,”

And maybe “a fly in the flour,”

And I say, “Go bother the cat!”

When I am tired of children nagging.


Sometimes “one stretches oneself according to the cover,”

When ones pocket money is gone;

And “not even Jake Keller believes that!”

Is another old proverb.


So you see the mother-tongue colorful

And you see German is fun;

So let’s not forget our speech,

A heart feels so good when one laughs.


In DIE FAREWICH MUDDERSCHPROOCH, Gladys S. Martin has utilized old sayings that she has heard in the dialect. She wrote to us on March 5, “I know there are poems in the dialect using Pennsylvania German proverbs. I do enjoy the proverbs very much, but I wanted to try something different.”

Gladys is wondering how many of these old sayings and expressions are familiar to us? She continues, “Some I imagine are widespread, while others are quite probably just local sayings. I think the one about ‘Jecky Keller’ is probably a local one. But it was used very often when I was a child. It would be interesting to hear other old half-forgotten Pennsylvania Dutch sayings that other readers might remember.”

We are again indebted to Gladys S. Martin for an original poem and for her suggestion that other readers share their memories of similar sayings and expressions with us.

LIEWI LESER! Take out a few minutes of your time and jot down some of the sayings and expressions in the dialect which come to mind as you reread DIE FAREWICH MUDDERSPROOCH – and then mail them to us, so we can share them with all of our readers! (It always helps if you give them in Dutch, then in English.)

So, a final salute with unser Deitscher Schtrohhut to Gladys Martin of Glenwood Drive, do in Effredaa!

July 31, 1985

En Bischli-Gnippli

as alli Gebott Druwwel hot

sich noch de Deck zu schtrecke!