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Texas German

Female speaker, date of birth unknown, third-generation Texas German Date/Place of Interview: late 1960s, Central Texas. Interviewer: Glenn G. Gilbert

County: Central
State: TX

In contrast to the situation in nineteenth-century Wisconsin, German settlers often found themselves directly involved in conflicts with Indians. The dominant Native group in Central Texas at the time, the Comanches, resisted white encroachment more vigorously than Indians in Wisconsin had, often leading raids against European-descended settlers. This speaker recounts her grandfather's violent encounter with a Comanche brave. The similarity between Texas German and standard German is underscored by the fact that the interviewer used the latter language with his consultant, who understood him perfectly.
Yes, and you said that your grandfather broke his knee.

No, they shot him in his knee.

Oh, shot?

Yes, the knee was shot up. They didn't think that he would survive.

So he didn't break it when he fell from the horse?

No, no, they shot him in his leg, in the knee, and then they shot him, and he fell, and his horse fell on him.

Was his horse dead?

Yes, his horse was dead. And he couldn't get out from under the horse. And then afterward, when they found him, then they brought him home. And my uncle, my father's brother, had the rifle that killed the Indian. And every time they killed an Indian, they would carve a mark in the rifle, they put a "V" in the stock.

Uh-huh, and how many Indians ... how many "V"s were there ...?

I don't know how many were carved in there, but he [my grandfather] only killed one.

Texas German

Male speaker interviewed by Glenn G. Gilbert, late 1960s, South-Central Texas

County: Southcentral
State: TX

In Central Europe, German- and Czech-speakers lived for centuries in close proximity to one another, especially in the territories of Bohemia and Moravia. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several thousand Czechs ("Bohemians") were part of a large wave of Europeans dominated by German-speakers who migrated to Texas. The German- and Czech-speaking areas in Texas overlapped to some extent, especially in Lavaca and Fayette Counties in the south-central part of the state. This Texas German speaker from north of Shiner, Lavaca County, recounts something of the ethnic and linguistic diversity that endures in this part of Texas to the present.
And are there also blacks around here?

Oh yes.

Can they speak German or Bohemian [Czech]?

Yes, there are some who know German and some who also know Bohemian.

German and Bohemian?


Are there also Mexicans here?

Oh yes, a large number of Mexicans are moving in to the whole valley. Many farmers move away and retire, and their places get sold, the land gets sold, to city people, and then the houses sit empty, and then Mexicans move in.

Oh, they're renters.

Uh-huh. They move into the house and work somewhere else.

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