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Low German Dialect

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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject: Low German Dialect Reply with quote

Many of us from the Concordia area learned to speak Low German as children or at least understand it. A number of families continued to use this dialect at home into the mid 1900s. Old timers would speak Low German in their daily activities so one had to understand it to do business with them.

There were a number of variations in Low German dialects, depending on the area of North Germany from which the families emigrated. Several years ago John Schnakenberg published an article in The Concordian describing these variations in more detail. Another posting in this forum, Areas of Out-migration from Germany and Dialects gives my take on the differences.

The Low German dialects and customs in the Concordia area seemed to be a favorite subject for various university dissertations and other papers. One example is the PhD thesis “The Low German Dialect of Concordia, Missouri” by William Ballew. Dr. Adolph Schroeder and Willam Bek (son of a former pastor of St. John) from the University of Missouri also wrote various articles.

The Max Kade Center for German-American Studies at the University of Kansas has been very involved in tracing Low German Dialects in the U.S. Check the Max Kade Center newsletter, in particular page 6 which mentions Concordia and Cole Camp. A paper by William Keel addresses the dialects found in Kansas in more detail.

How much Low German do you remember?
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