[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] dialects

DANWWAGNER at aol.com DANWWAGNER at aol.com
Fri Sep 13 15:39:33 PDT 2013

Thanks for the replies to my posting.  I'm hoping the  "ish" in my family's 
dialect can point me toward a geographical region where  they MAY have 
originated, or lived before emigrating to the USA.  The  latest reply says "ish 
reveals influence from southern and central High  German dialects."  Does 
that suggest a particular area of Prussia,  Poland, or Germany?  Also, how 
durable do you think this dialect is.   In other words, would it stick with a 
family for generations, or would they  conform to the German spoken by 
friends and neighbors?  I suspect that  my family--all Lutherans--lived near 
Elsenau, east of Berlin and southwest of  Gdansk, before families began 
emigrating to Volhynia around 1785.   They lived 3 or 4 generations in or near 
Retowka, Roschischtsche, or  Vincentinowka, before moving back to the 
Elsenau/Loosen area around  1895-1910.  Many or all of them were fluent in both German 
and  Polish.  Thereafter, my grandfather and my father lived in north  
Chicago.  Thanks for the help!  Dan Wagner  

In a message dated 9/13/2013 12:26:42 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
dfoote at okstate.edu writes:

My 2  cents:
- As hinted at by another, 'Prussian' was originally a Baltic ethnic  group
and Baltic language. The ethnic group was largely assimilated by the  12-13
century 'crusades' of the Tuetonic Knights. The Prussian language  is
documented (vocabulary lists, catechism) up to the 16th century. In  the
modern era, there are a 'Low Prussian' and a 'High Prussian' (See  Wikipedia
for outlines)

- 'Ish' reveals influence from southern and  central High German dialects.
The other end of the spectrum, Low German (as  well as Dutch, Frisian) is
'Ik'. Central High German is in the middle,  '/ix/' (IPA, like Scottish

- In the small town of Corn,  Oklahoma and its surroundings, there was a
significant population of  Germans from Russia or Poland. The majority were
Low German speaking  Mennonites from Russia/Ukraine/Volhynia/Crimea. Others
were from Russian  Poland who mostly had reverted to High German by the
1850s. (The Mennonites  along the Vistula had come from Dutch/Low German
areas, spoke Dutch in  church until 1750s, while quickly adapting to the
Vistula Low German)   We have my great-aunt and my grandfather (who had a
father born near  Warsaw) on video recalling a joke. The Low  Germans
(Plattdeutsch/Plautdietsch) spoke a German that was  'platt  und verdreht':
flat and twisted. They recalled this in the presence of my  grandfather's
wife, who was from a Low German family. She chuckled. This is  one of the
few vivid memories I have of them, since they all pased in the  mid- 1990s
when I was in my teens. (Yes, I'm one of the youngsters of the  list)

- Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Perogies. However, I do  know that
Borscht is tomato and chicken based ;) , Zweiback are soft, sweet  yeast
rolls (not large crackers), Verenika is plain yummy  and
Porzelki/Niejakoakja are fabulously  sinful.
Ger-Poland-Volhynia  site  list
Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org

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