George Shoning shoning at q.com
Mon Sep 9 20:00:26 PDT 2013

Sigrid and Mike,

I was born in Volhynia and began my speaking of German there.  I concur with much of what you, Sigrid, have said.  A "Reichsdeutsche" will almost immediately detect my German accent as coming from Eastern Europe, because the way I pronounce my "r". I pronounce the "r" like you generally hear in the U.S. in Canada, or in Russia.  Germans within Germany proper pronounce the "r" further back in their throats.  I can do that as well as long as I concentrate on doing it, but I cannot do it without thinking about it.

George Shoning


----- Original Message -----
From: "Sigrid Pohl Perry" <perry1121 at aol.com>
To: ger-poland-volhynia at sggee.org
Sent: Monday, September 9, 2013 8:21:43 PM


This question does not have any easy answers. Our German ancestors who 
lived in Russian Poland or Volhynia left that region anywhere between 
1900 and 1940. No Germans were allowed to remain in those regions after 
1945. Before that time, they had been migrating as colonists, farmers, 
cloth-makers, etc. perhaps from before 1800 until the time they left for 
Germany, Canada, the United States or South American countries. They 
suffered Deportation to Russia in WWI and Resettlement to northern 
Poland in 1940. Many may have had individual dialects from their native 
Germanic regions at one time, but the German language they had in common 
with each other was Luther's German from the Bible, High German, and 
that's what their children would have learned to communicate in German 
outside the home. I was surprised when I studied German in my Illinois 
high school that the language I had learned at home was basically 
"school German" because my parents had only been to Polish school with 
less than an 8th grade education. I didn't learn any kind of 
"platt-deutsch" dialect at home and was immediately fluent in the classroom.

I can say that the older relatives I have spoken with in Germany who had 
the same background as my parents, living in Russian Poland, have all 
been easy to understand, and they were amazed at how easily they 
understood me, an American. Certainly, we also shared some "domestic" 
expressions which modern Germans might not use. Germans from other parts 
of Germany who did not have this background have been more difficult to 
understand. But any surviving Germans from Russian Poland are all over 
80 years old and I don't think you could survey them. Even they have 
lived in other places for over 70 years and probably rarely encounter 
anyone from their childhood villages.

I hope some of our German subscribers to the List can comment further on 

Sigrid Pohl Perry
Evanston, Illinois

On 9/9/2013 7:17 PM, MIKE MCHENRY wrote:
> Can anyone tell me if the accents of German people from Russian Poland were
> very different from Germans of Germany? I recognize that German accents vary
> across Germany. I guess what I'm asking is it instantly recognizable that
> the person is from Russian Poland
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