Varieties of Pennsylvania Dutch

Postvernacular or Not so Simple?


  • Rose Fisher The Pennsylvania State University



Pennsylvania Dutch, postvernacular, non-sectarian, sectarian


Some language communities continue identifying with their heritage language even after a shift to the majority language has occurred. In this paper I use a comparative approach to investigate the extent to which this postvernacular phase can be found among the broad spectrum of Pennsylvania Dutch-affiliated groups in North America. The results of a sociolinguistic survey presented here reveal that vastly different relationships to and experiences with the language and its affiliated cultures exist under the Pennsylvania Dutch umbrella. The postvernacular framework effectively describes the status of the language among the non-sectarians. However, with some exceptions, it cannot account for the extremely diverse scenarios existing among the sectarians (i.e., separatists). A better understanding of each of the relevant linguistic and cultural aspects at play here will have cross-linguistic implications for how languages are bound to human identities.




How to Cite

Fisher, Rose. 2022. “Varieties of Pennsylvania Dutch: Postvernacular or Not so Simple?”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 12 (2):19-38.