English Dialects | German Dialects | Links | Searchable Database | Home


The speaker is a 79-year-old White man with a high school education from Pottstown, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1967.





County: Montgomery
State: PA

Commentary:
Incorporated in 1815, Pottstown lies near the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County, which is located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The city has a current population of about 22,000. Prior to the post???World War II decline of the iron and steel industries, Pottstown was a metal manufacturing town with factories, textile mills, and foundries. The area is still a productive agricultural and dairying region. In this segment the speaker talks about working at a canning factory and teaching in addition to discussing superstitions that surround cures for common ailments.
Inf: Now when we worked at the canning factory, mm, we were practically all, that???s practically all we talked was Pennsylvania German in the hometown there, uh, to the people. And uh, we, uh, would injure ourself, uh. We would ta- uh take salt or something like that. We never thought of stopping working. And we never worked-, we had to go out in the fields at the morning at six o???clock. Took us one hour to drive to the fields, and then we worked, had to work ten hours, for which we got ten cents an hour. And then we come home and the, the women prepared some of the things like beans or corn and peas. And then we had to can them and we worked maybe up till two o???clock in the morning.

FW: Geez, they [Inf: No] didn???t [Inf: N???yep] get much money, did they? Inf: No, no, ten cents an hour was big wages. Of course uh, things didn???t cost as much that time, either, amongst the Pennsylvania Germans.

Inf: My first teaching in school in Bucks County, I had a boy in the cl-, in the first grade who couldn???t speak a word of English. And so I started him out uh with a little book and there was a picture of a dog. And then, ???Das is ein Hund. This is a dog, say.??? That???s the way I started him. Eh, I had to tell him it in Pennsylvania Dutch, and then we translated it in Eng-, into English.

Now of course there are tremendous superstitions of some of people of-, uh, for instance uh, you didn???t dare to get night air because night air was uh bad for you. Was unhealthy for you. FW: Give you pneumonia, wouldn???t it?

Inf: Oh, yes. And then uh things like that an??????

FW: You wouldn???t open the windows when you went to bed?

Inf: Oh no, oh no. No, no windows were open. And uh, the shades were always pulled down so the sun couldn???t get in because that hurt the papering on the wall.

FW: Oh, really?

Inf: Oh, yes. Yeah.

Back to US English Map
back to American Languages home