What's Amiss with the Amish? ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

Daily Mail (London), February 21, 2006 | Go to article overview

What's Amiss with the Amish? ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS


QUESTION Does Dutch?

PENNSYLVANIA Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsch) is a German, not a Dutch, dialect spoken by 150,000 to 250,000 people in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in the U.S. and another 50,000 to 100,000 in Ontario, Canada.

This use of the word 'Dutch' is either a corruption of 'Deitsch' or a leftover from the archaic English word of the 18th and 19th centuries which referred to anyone from a wide range of Germanic regions - places we now distinguish as the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland - as deutch.

Many, but not all, Pennsylvania Germans are Amish. Other groups include the Mennonites, Moravians, Schwenkfelders and members of the Church of the Brethren and various subgroups within each group.

The steady Anglicisation of the world's languages means that Pennsylvanian German is a dying tongue. Fewer and fewer Amish, Mennonite and other Anabaptist religious groups use Deitsch either in their religious services or at home.

English has replaced German in all but a few settlements in Pennsylvania and other areas of North America.

The number of people who have grown up speaking Deitsch declines as the population ages, and everyday use of the language for many is limited to a few phrases and expressions.

This language is a spoken dialect which has undergone much change over the years. Even in its original form, Deitsch wasn't a written tongue, although a transcription system was developed.

With the two world wars against Germany, there was a stigma attached to the use of Deitsch in public, further impairing its use.

Realisation over the past decade that this dialect might be important to preserve the German language of Pennsylvania Germans (and other German religious settlements in the U.S. and Canada) may have come too late, but efforts to prevent the total loss of Deitsch are being made by the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Centre at Kutztown University and a few other organisations.

BILL PEMBERTON, London SW12.

QUESTION

Where are Buddy Holly's glasses?

THE black horn-rim glasses belonging to Buddy Holly are on display at The Buddy Holly Centre in Lubbock, Texas. The Mexican Faiosa frames were purchased from his optician, Doctor Stanger of Courmetts & Gaul in New York City, in 1958.

Following the plane crash in Lake Clear, Iowa, on February 3, 1959, in which Buddy died, his glasses were recovered from the scene and lay undiscovered for many years before they were found in the desk drawer of the Sheriff of Fargo, North Dakota, where the plane had been heading.

They were forwarded to Buddy's family, who sold them at auction to City Lubbock Inc for $80,000.

That company donated the stillscratched glasses to the Buddy Holly Centre in 1999.

Buddy Holly Fan Club, Doncaster.

JIM CARR,

QUESTION

I cry very easily at happy and sad events, resulting in a pink and blotched face. Can anyone advise of a safe method to stop oneself crying?

DEEP breathing allows muscles to relax. When a person is tense, breathing becomes shallow.

In a difficult or frightening situation, try to breathe in and out slowly and deeply two or three times, concentrating of filling the lungs with air and letting it out gradually. The following technique is practised by actors, singers and public speakers to calm their nerves and it is equally relevant to sign language interpreters.

It can also be used to stop oneself from crying or losing one's temper if it would be inappropriate or embarrassing.

1. Let your breath go (do not breathe in first).

2. Take a slow gentle breath and hold it for a second.

3. Let it go with a leisurely sigh. …

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