131 responses to Ask an Amishman

  • Denise
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (May 13th, 2012 at 11:26)

    house building

    We are going to build a log home about halfway between Salem and I-65. Are there any Amish Builders in the area that we could get in touch with to talk to about this? Thank you.

  • Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 17th, 2012 at 07:48)


    What would an Amish communities response be to a 24 year old woman who says she hears voices and that they are devils that talk to her, and that she doesn’t believe in Christ because of these voices.

    Would you consider her demon possessed or mentally ill?

    • Shelter Somerset
      Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 17th, 2012 at 07:55)

      Amish are practical people

      Generally speaking, the Amish are practical people and would most likely find the woman mentally ill. There is actually a treatment center for the mentally and emotionally disturbed in Michigan that caters exclusively to the Amish and Mennonite. Contributions from communities also pay most of it. You might be interested in reading about a similar case here: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/family/gingerich/1.html Warning, this is a gripping and graphic story.

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  • garrett
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (February 17th, 2013 at 17:52)

    teaching of Martin Luther

    I have heard on a documentary,that the Amish belive that if they do good enough in this life that they will earn eternal salvation, now that goes against the teaching of Luther, no matter what we do we can’t earn Gods love, because we are saved by grace alone. Please clarify this for me, Im stuck.

  • Scott
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (April 15th, 2013 at 21:19)

    Kannscht Du mir vielleicht mit re Iwwersetzing helfe?

    Kannscht Du mir vielleicht mit re Iwwersetzing helfe? Es iss katz! Kannscht Du mir eppes besser aarode? Danki schee!!
    Du hoscht es Recht uff koschtelosi Helfe un Information uff deinre Schprooch. Um mit me Dolmetscher uff Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch iwwer der Gsundheitsversicherungsmarrickblatz ((Health Insurance Marketplace)) zu schwetze, ruf 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx aa.

    (original English:
    You have the right to get help and information in your language at no cost. To talk to an interpreter in [language] about the Health Insurance Marketplace, call 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx.

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  • Treva
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 3rd, 2013 at 22:28)

    Baby Gift

    Hi. We have been buying our milk from an Amish family nearby. We live in Kansas, and they said that they moved to the area about 3 years ago from Missouri, close to Branson. They have a baby due soon and I would like to get or make them a gift. I don’t know what would be an appropriate gift or even if they would accepting of a gift from our non-Amish family. Your advice and input is appreciated.

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    • Lattice
      Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 5th, 2013 at 07:17)

      They will use (and really like) disposable diapers for the first few weeks and for trips out in public, otherwise they will use cloth ones. They just consider Pampers too pricey and unnecessary when cloth will do, but they do like them as gifts and consider them a luxury.

      They also will use plain white or blue onesies, or long a nightgown. Most of all, they appreciate a nice card with a handwritten poem or verse.

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      • Treva
        Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 5th, 2013 at 13:24)

        Thanks so much!

        Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I am going fabric shopping tomorrow anyway, I will look for some plain white maybe even organic cotton and make a gown. I have patterns handy. I’ve never been so good at writing cards but I will give it a try. Thanks again, Treva

    • garrett
      Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 5th, 2013 at 09:19)

      baby gift

      Treva, a gift is always appreciated by everyone, I bought a gift for my Amish friends for their new baby, it was a cube with bible verses on all sides it was blue lettering, they really liked the gift, I know shopping for a gift is sometimes hard, but anything to do with God, is always a sure thing.

      • Treva
        Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 5th, 2013 at 13:31)

        Thank you!

        Thanks Garrett, I’m so glad I came here to ask. You all have me covered. I am looking up verses now, I’m going to put them on fabric and make a block. Do you think it’s okay to put a jingle bell inside? Between your suggestion and Lattice, I’m going to do a gift basket kind of thing. I’ll make a gown, a block with Bible verses, I have some handmade baby soap I made for my first grandbaby but there’s plenty. I will wrap the soap in some plain baby washcloths and get a package of disposable diapers too. Now that I have a plan, I need to get busy. Thanks again, Treva

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    • garrett
      Comment on Ask an Amishman (August 5th, 2013 at 14:20)

      idon't see why not

      That sounds great, I wish I knew how to sow, it’s a great gift for them to put in the room, a hand made gift shows alot of how much you think of a person, great job.

  • Carolyne
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (September 17th, 2013 at 18:41)


    Do Amish males get circumcised?

  • Timur
    Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 11:19)


    I am German and have found interesst in the Amish People by stumbling onto the fact that they speak Pennsilvania Deitsch, which sounds like a very strage thing to me that a ancient version of the German language is still today very much alive in some parts of the US.
    You write about the Amish reading a lot, does that mean those novels and other literature is in Pennsilvania Deitsch or to the Amish read english language literature? Is in Amish communities literature in Pennsilvania Deitsch generally avaliable? I also heard that some Amish Men do read farming magazines or other practival literature rather in Hochdeutsch than in English – is this common?

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    • Jerry Hoover
      Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 11:28)

      I think the language is related more to Dutch then German and German speakers can translate a lot of the words. I read some where it is called Plattendeutsch I don’t know We in Pa called it Pennsylvania Dutch.

      • Timur
        Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 11:41)

        “Plattdeutsch” is actually the language spoken in northern Germany, it sounds like a mixture between German and Dutch – actually my grandparents still learned it as their first language. It is quite different from Pennsylvania Deitsch, which is more related to the local dialect of south western Germany. I am fluent in german and dutch and have no problems understanding Plattdeutsch, but with Pennsilvania Deitsch it is different, it depends on the individual speaking. Yet, no problem reading.
        I was just wondering about Pennsylvania Deitsch literature – in my hometown, Plattdeutsche literature is widely avaliable, would it be the same with Pennsilvania Deitsch literature in the Amish communities?
        Thanks for your answer!

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        • Scott
          Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 12:38)

          PA Dutch comes from High German

          PA Dutch, despite its name, has nothing to do with Dutch (at the time it was named, “Dutch” was a generic word for German…Jonathon Swift wrote about the “High Dutch” (Germans) and “Low Dutch” (what we call the Dutch today), and so this was just Pennsylvania Dutch, or really, Pennsylvania German). It is most closely related to the dialects of Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany with some influence from Swiss German. It is in some ways antiquated, as most of the original speakers emigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries, and really none in the 20th century (to provide newer vocabulary). It was widely spoken where I grew up in PA (Lebanon County) when my grandparents were still young, even among non-Amish. Today, other than the local Amish, only a handful of elderly people can speak it, though there are still active groups (even on Facebook) where people try to keep it going. It is alive and well among the Amish, though it has changed significantly due to the heavy influence of English. If you hear young Amish people speaking today, their language is really a mixture of PA Dutch with a large amount of English vocabulary.

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          • Timur
            Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 15:52)

            Thanks for the answer.
            So even PA Deitsch is a language that develops and changes over generations? Very interessting, for me as a native German speaker it just sounds very old fashioned and like it is a language stuck back in time 250 years.
            Do you happen to know is there is PA German literature among the amish? I actually even heared that some (religious) literature of the Amish is in high german, but it is not common for the Amish to speak standart high german.
            Interestingly, there was also “Texasdeutsch”, a german dialect spoken in large areas of Texas, but there are hardly any speakers now any more. Somehow it became unfashionalbe after the war…
            I guess PA German would only survive because of the Amish comunity, otherwise it would prehaps also be gone, just like TX German.

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            • Scott
              Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 16:23)

              Ja. sie iss noch en lewendichi Sprooch! / Ja, sie ist noch eine lebende Sprache! Its German vocabulary is indeed stuck in the 18th and 19th centuries, and most new vocabulary comes from English. But it still thrives in the Amish communities throughout the US.

              I don’t believe there is much in the way of Amish literature. My guess is the only sanctioned reading would be the Bible, which would be in High German (and mostly understandable to anyone who speaks PA Dutch). In the early 20th century, there was a small amount of secular literature created in the language, but it’s mostly a spoken language. It was taught at Penn State Unvesity when I went there in the 1980s, but I am not sure if it still is. I went on to get an MA in Germanic linguistics at Berkeley, and have kept an interest in the language (I learned a bit of it as a small child, listening to my grandparents and great-grandparents, then learned High German as a teenager). If it weren’t for the very prolific Amish community (who generally have fairly large families), it most certainly would have died out by now, like so many other similar language communities in the US. Be sure to search for “Deitsch blogs” and you can find some modern writing in the language such as http://deitscheblog.wordpress.com/

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              • Jerry Hoover
                Comment on Ask an Amishman (November 6th, 2013 at 18:17)

                I am not sure whether they still teach it PSU but I know there is a big following and interest at Elizabethtown College and I am sure there is a course in Pa Dutch there.

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