Monday, March 05, 2007

TWiEL: Texas German

This Week in Endangered Languages: Texas German
Language family: Indo-European, Germanic, West Germanic, High German, German (dialect)
Writing system: Latin alphabet

Where you'll hear it: Texas Hill Country

The origins: "Texas German is a dialect of the German language that is spoken by descendants of German immigrants who settled in the Texas Hill Country region in the mid-19th century. These immigrants founded the towns of New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Boerne, Sisterdale, Schulenburg, Weimar, and Comfort. German immigrants began arriving over a period of two years, quickly raising the population of the town to over 1,000."

The beginning of the end: "Most German Texans continued to speak German in their homes and communities, but were required to learn English when Texas education rules mandated English-only instruction during and after World War I. Due to the growth of these communities and cultural bias during World War I and World War II, Texas German speakers drifted towards English, and few passed the language to their descendants. The dialect is near extinction, as it is now only spoken by a few elderly people."

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:: posted by David, 8:17 AM


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