Do you know what language the Amish speak? Believe it or not, it’s actually a dialect of German known as Pennslyvania Dutch. However, the Amish also use English, especially when dealing with outsiders. So if you ever find yourself in an Amish community, don’t be surprised if you hear a mix of German and English being spoken!
What is “Pennsylvania Dutch”?
The Pennsylvania Dutch dialect is actually a variation of High German. It’s interesting to note that the word “Dutch” in this context has nothing to do with the Netherlands. Instead, it’s derived from a German word meaning “people from Deutschland” or “German people”. So when you hear someone say that the Amish speak Dutch, they’re not exactly wrong!
The Pennsylvania Dutch dialect is spoken by around 300,000 people in total, both Amish and non-Amish. It’s estimated that around 24,000 of those people are Amish. The rest are mostly Mennonites and other Anabaptist groups who settled in Pennsylvania during the 18th century.
Do Amish speak other languages?
While the Amish do use English, it’s not their first language. In fact, Amish children don’t start learning English until they go to school. Before that, they only speak Pennsylvania Dutch at home. This helps to keep the Amish community close-knit and separate from the outside world.
So there you have it! Now you know a little bit about the language of the Amish. Next time you see an Amish person, try striking up a conversation in Pennsylvania Dutch and see how they respond! Who knows, you might just make a new friend.