30 responses to Who are the Swiss Amish?
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    Grace Vega
    Comment on I need a Swiss Amish/English interpreter! (August 31st, 2011 at 18:07)

    I need a Swiss Amish/English interpreter!

    I work in a large health care system which serves some of the “Swiss Amish” who have settled in Missouri. We have a great need for an interpreter to help with some mental health work. I am striking out with the largest interpreting companies in U.S. Can anyone steer me to someone there in Indiana?

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      Comment on Contact the local Swiss Consulate (January 10th, 2013 at 00:05)

      Contact the local Swiss Consulate

      There are tens of thousands of (non Amish) Swiss German immigrants throughout the United States. The Consulate in Chicago could put you in touch with the local Swiss community. The phone number for the Chicago Consulate General is 312.915.4500.

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    Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (August 31st, 2011 at 18:37)

    I have contacted someone, but we need to know how to contact you. Please send a email contact details to followjesusonly@gmail.com and he will try to help you.

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    Henry Troyer
    Comment on Still need an interpreter? (April 21st, 2012 at 00:25)

    Still need an interpreter?

    Lance, you must be working with the Swiss Amish east of Springfield. If so, I might be able to help you with translation, if youo still need someone. I life just outside of the city of Springfield. Look me up in the white pages.

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      Comment on Seymour Missouri Swiss Amish (October 17th, 2012 at 17:13)

      Seymour Missouri Swiss Amish

      I live near a new “daughter” community (since 2006) near Parsons KS of the Seymour (Springfield) MO Amish. I know German but their Swiss dialect is difficult to pick up on. I would like to learn it better though. Any “English” out there who could help me? Thanks.

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        Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (January 13th, 2013 at 05:09)

        Not sure about how much the dialect there has morphed from Swiss-German and there are very few books written about Swiss-German, as it is a spoken language (although the kids today write it phonetically for texting and social sites) but there is something that might help you as a place to start. There is a little book in English called “Hoi, your Swiss German survival guide.” by Sergio J. Lievano and Nicole Egger. As it is written phoenetically the pronounciation will be easy for you to read and pronounce. I find Swiss-German much closer to English than High German and the grammar rules are so much easier.

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          Thomas Kaltenrieder
          Comment on Schweizerdeutsch (December 12th, 2013 at 18:20)


          You exactly writwe what our teacher said us 20 years ago at college. Swiss German and English are very close! Swiss German is very simple. We just use one past form, the perfect. There is no past form as in High German. We just say ex. I have seen (i ha gseh) but never I saw.

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    Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (April 21st, 2012 at 09:17)

    I was just a go-between. I never heard if Grace Vega ever contacted the person with the email address.

    Have a Blessed day!

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    Comment on Comment on who are the Swiss Amish? (January 13th, 2013 at 04:58)

    Comment on who are the Swiss Amish?

    My husband is from Switzerland and years ago we were in Lancaster County PA. My husband had no difficulty whatsoever in understanding the Swiss-German spoken there or in being understood by the people. I have always been under the impression that the reason they are called Pennsylvania “Dutch” is because they used the Swiss-German pronounciation of Deutsch. The German word for “German” is pronounced by German speakers as (phonetically)Doych. Swiss Germans pronounce Deutsch as Dootch or Dootchy. I believe that the “English” (Americans) living in PA at the time in trying to understand Dootch understood the closest they could and that was the English word Dutch. Anybody know if this is correct? Just my guess.

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      Comment on Swiss Amish (March 11th, 2013 at 18:16)

      Swiss Amish

      German is a highly diverse language consisting of various different dialects or languages, depending on the view. Even within Switzerland various dialects are spoken. The sub group of languages to which Swiss German dialects belong are called “allemanic”. Besides the Swiss German dialects, Swabian, Alsatian and Western Austrian dialects also belong to this group. This is why Swiss German is mutually understandable to people from the German state of Baden-Württemberg, The Austrian state of Vorarlberg and the French Alsace, but usually not to other German speakers. Some people argue the alemannic dialects form a different language, but the same could be said about the Bavarian dialects in Bavaria, Austria and the Italian South Tyrol or Low German/Plattdeutsch in parts of Northern Germany. On the other hand some people argue Dutch is a German dialect, not a language. It depends on how you define language and dialect. For English speakers this diversity of dialects is difficult to understand as English has many accents, but not a lot of dialects that differ sogreatly form the Standard language. One notable examplemay be Scots, a language or dialect spoken in parts of Scotland. It is related to English but differs considerably from English as we know it. It is not to be confused with the typical Scottish accent a lot of Americans know from Sean Connery and other Scottish actors. They simply spea English with an Accent. Scots has different words and entirly different pronounciation. Also, the Amish living in PA are not Swiss Amish. They are mostly from the Alsace and South West Germany. Your husband probably understood their dialect as many of them also have roots in alemanic speaking Areas, although not Switzerland. Last Thing: Swiss German is not more closely related to English than Standard German. The alemanic dialects derive from Upper German and have some relationship to other Southern and Central german dialects like Bavarian, Palatine German, Frankish or Saxon. English is more closely related to Northern and Western German dialects, as well as Dutch.

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        Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (March 11th, 2013 at 20:19)

        Thanks Peter for all the info. I would definitely agree that Züri Deutsch is very close to dialects in western Austria as they are neighbors. Each kanton in Switzerland has its own pronunciation of words as well as different words than some other kantons. Contrast “Zwiebel” (Zurich) with “Bolle” (Schywz). The dialect spoken in kanton Valais uses many words from Italian. While I personally find the sound of Swiss German much easier and closer to English than high German, it is not always easy for English speakers to pick it up. The number 2 in Switzerland is pronounced as “zwei”, “zwoi”, “zway”, and “zwoh” depending upon which kanton you are in, so things can sometimes get very confusing. Each day can be a beautiful journey into the unknown for an English speaker living in Switzerland.

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      Santee Ng
      Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (February 9th, 2014 at 14:33)

      you are precisely correct , the english speakers couldnt say deutsch so they say dutch , but they meant german not dutch .

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    freda ashby
    Comment on seymour amish (June 13th, 2013 at 21:50)

    seymour amish

    I have been friends with a Amish family from Seymour you could not ask for better people. We write letters frequently and we try and visit them at least every 2 or 3 months,they share their home food and family with us. They are hard working and the children are very behaved and polite English children could take lessons from them. We have been invited to stay at their home because they were concerned with our driving back across the state. I value the friendship I have with them.

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    Comment on I tend to agree with Judy (July 15th, 2013 at 18:11)

    I tend to agree with Judy

    I tend to agree with Judy that some simularities between English and Swiss German are apparent. This is especially true for the dialect spoken in the Bernese alps, where by the way a lot of Swiss Amish have their roots. (e.g. Jakob Ammann of Frutigen who’s last name led to the word Amish).
    In the Bernese alps, a number of old German words are still used. For example the English word JUST is used in the very same manner.
    Pronounced as IUSHT. Just yesterday = iusht geschter.
    Another example is some = sumi. SOME say = SUMI säge.
    Or take the word HAM. In German Schinken, in Bernese HAMME. Obviously HAM and HAMME are closer related than ham and Schinken.
    Some of these words are nowadays only used in remote areas, where the older words have a better chance to survive. But they show,that a number of words have the same old German roots.

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      Thomas Kaltenrieder
      Comment on Jakob Ammann (December 12th, 2013 at 18:29)

      Jakob Ammann

      He was from Erlenbach im Simmental not from Frutigen! I do not agree with “just”. As you know there were many Hugenottts coming from France to the Canton of Berne in the 17 + 18th Century (all the Marmets, Donzés nowadays….). From them and from the Napoleon Soldiers we use now a l lot of french words in Berndeutsch. And just is actually a latin/french word (juste).

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    Max Stanton
    Comment on Swiss-Amish and Hutterite dialects (February 12th, 2014 at 21:12)

    Swiss-Amish and Hutterite dialects

    A few years I was traveling with some Hutterites (Dariusleut from Montana and Alberta). We were on our way to a Hutterite teacher’s conference in South Dakota.

    We stopped for a few hours to visit the Devil’s Tower National Monument in NE Wyoming. As we were hiking along a trail near the base of the “Tower” we encountered a Swiss tourists couple from Appenzell Canton. Out of curiosity I asked a Hutterite friend from Alberta to ask the Swiss couple something in Hutterisch.

    The visitors from Switzerland were quite surprised and answered back in their Swiss-German dialect spoken in eastern Switzerland. Soon the other Hutterites I was traveling with delightedly joined on the conversation. (I can speak and understand High German, but even after some thirty years among the Hutteries, I can barely follow spoken Hutterisch and I can only speak a few phrases and a scattered word here and there. (The Hutterite dialect is principally derived from two very closely related southern Austrian-Bavarian dialects, still spoken, in Tirol, South Tirol (in Italy) and Carinthia [Kärnten])

    After we were back on our own way again, I asked my Hutterite friends just how much they really understood when they were speaking with the Swiss couple.. Eli Tschetter said that for the most part they were able to completely understand the Swiss couple and could tell that they understood them,the Hutterites, as well. He told me there were some words and phrases that he could not understand–but that is greatest difficulty was trying to follow the cadence of their accent. He teased me and said (something to this effect). “Max. They sometimes sounded a lot like you when you get your ‘Huchdish [Hochdeutsch] mot Huttrish g’mishd.’

    Is there anyone “out there” who might know if the Hutterite dialect is also closely related to the Swiss-Amish dialect of German?

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      Thomas Kaltenrieder
      Comment on Dialects (February 13th, 2014 at 09:03)


      Hi Max

      Actually not because Swiss-German is mostly alemanic as spoken in the Southwest of Germany. Hutterite dialect is as you wrote an Austrian-Bavarian dialect spoken in Tirol, South Tirol and Carinthia. But from my own experience I can say to you that I am understood in Austria and the Soutwest of Germany (incl. Alsace which belongs to France now) when speaking Swiss-German (Bernese Dialect). But normal High-German speaking Germans do not understand Swiss German. They understand some words but mostly not the whole context.

      Concerning the Appenzeller Dialect I have also sometimes Problems to understand them because of their cadence.


      P.S. this is Berndeutsch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IFem2IhPbE

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        Max Stanton
        Comment on Thanks (Vielen Dank) (February 13th, 2014 at 12:12)

        Thanks (Vielen Dank)

        I appreciate you quick reply. I have been conducting anthropological research with the Hutterites since the summer of 1984. I learned to speak High German in the early 1960s when I lived there for two-and-a-half years (Mostly in Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfallen. I spent quite a lot of time where Plattdeutsch was still spoken in public. With my English “on one end” and my Hochdeutsch on the other, I got to the point where I had very few problems understanding “Platt.” (I never got to the point where I felt comfortable speaking it.) So–twenty years later when I began visiting the Hutterite colonies I assumed I would soon “fall into” their language with the same ease as I had with with the folks on the “Deutshe Tiefebene” (North German Plains) and still–thirty years later-after ando an accumulated 1,000+ days and nights with the Hutterites –in over 120 colonies in seven states and three provinces, I can only understand the kids–most of the time. (They call me either Maxstanton or Onkel Maxvetter.)

        I even have trouble understanding their sermons (Lehr) that date back to over 400 years ago. This principally because their sermons follow the Swiss Fruschauerbilel–and even the High German used in their sermans and German school follow an older form of the Lutherbibel that was not affected by the over-all revisions of the Bible in the 1820s. (I was a Mormon missionary when I was in Germany and read the Lutherbibel every day in my own private study and as we visited Germans each day to discuss the Gospel with them. I was not even aware of the Froschauerbibel and the 1820s revisions until about 1990 when a Lehrerleut minister in southern Alberta asked me to help him translate one of his favorite sermons into English. It concerned the Baumherzigersamariter and I had assumed I would really not have many problems. After just one afternoon of effort I found myself on the telephone calling from my home in Hawaii to Alberta saying: “Reverend Joe. I have a whole string of words and phrases I have never seen before—and I haven’t even finished the first page of translating. I can’t even find them in my thick 1958 edition of “The New Cassell’s German Dictionary.” That’s where I first heard about the Froschauer Bible and the 1820s revision of the Luther Bible.

        I was also very grateful to my high school teacher, Herr Schwendemann, who urged us to learn to read write the old German handscript (Sütterlinschreibschrifto. (All–and I emphasize, ALL- 400+ Hutterite sermons are handwritten using this old script.)

        Mr. Schewndemann then wrote “minimum” and “nimmer” on the blackboard using Sütterlin, and told us that every German, Austrian and many Swiss and Italian German-speakers who went to school until 1942 (then, just fifteen years before) learned to write in this manner-and that most of the older people still use this method. His parents were immigrants and he told us that when he learned German from his family as a boy, this was what he had to use in writing out his exercises.

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    Richard Lengacher
    Comment on Lengacher pronunciation (March 26th, 2014 at 11:02)

    Lengacher pronunciation

    Near the top of this website – it was noted that in Indiana “Lengacher” is pronounced as “lon a kerr”… While that is true in Indiana – the former owner (and first generation Swiss) of the Lengacher Swiss Cheese establishment in Gap, PA pronounced it as “len awker”… The Indiana pronunciation stems from the Swiss immigrants spending time in Alsace Lorraine and the resulting French influence on the pronunciation. Finally, having traveled to the Berne area of Switzerland a few times, we noticed that they typically pronounce it as “leng gokker”… (with very hard g and k sounds)

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      Comment on Lengacher Surname (March 26th, 2014 at 13:28)

      Lengacher Surname

      Interesting to know Richard! When I first came across your last name, I was a little lost on how to pronounce. It seems you could squeeze at least 4 or 5 different pronunciations out of it :) I’m sure I said it wrong the first time but the Amish folks I was dealing with set me straight.

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      Kaltenrieder Thomas
      Comment on Lengacher (March 26th, 2014 at 14:25)


      Hi Richard

      As a Berner I pronounce Lengacher here in Berne Switzerland translated to the English in spoken letters: “Langakor”

      The first a as in “Mac”, the second a as the first a in “Adam”, the ch as a fine k (ch can not be translated to the English, in German it sounds like a fine spoken k) and the e as an o in “second”.

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        Richard Lengacher
        Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (April 1st, 2014 at 15:28)

        Hello Thomas..

        The area that we spent time in was just south of Lake Thun in the village of Aeschi…

        It is most interesting to hear the various inputs..

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    Comment on Swiss Amish of Allen County (January 7th, 2015 at 21:51)

    Swiss Amish of Allen County

    I am sorry for the late reply, I guess life gets busy…

    I got to know the Amish community in Grabill/Allen County IN when I was completing a doctoral internship in Fort Wayne. I found them to be curious and humble. We hit it off immediately once we got past elementary barriers. I became familiar with business owners, the superintendent of schools, two bishops, and regular folk, as well as their wives. They pleasantly surprised my wife and my family (son and mother-in-law) by inviting us to a hymn-sing which included traditional English, German (or maybe it was one variation of language identified here) and yodeling. To say it was a blessing minimizes my rapture with this opportunity, and the many obstacles that were overcome in this simple gesture of friendship.

    Next to becoming a doctor and being father to my son, I consider that the third highest honor in my life.

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    Comment on Swiss Amish (June 5th, 2015 at 15:08)

    Swiss Amish

    My husband and I are friends with an old order, Swiss Amish family in Indiana. The wife has graciously offered to teach me Swiss-German so I may talk to the children. (They are all pre-school and we generally communicate with signs and gestures). She has assured me that, if I learn their language, the kids will be “tickled pink!”

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    Comment on few words I would like to learn (September 20th, 2015 at 15:45)

    few words I would like to learn

    This may be a strange request. I got a rescued mule from a rescue in KY. A rescue that gets them out of a feed lot the takes them to Mexico for slaughter. I was told she probably came off an Amish farm in IN. She seems confused and doesn’t seem to understand what I want. Could someone tell me a few simple words she may understand and how to say them to see if maybe she just doesn’t understand English…(I know sounds crazy and my hubby laughed at me but…happened to me in Denmark) like Whoa or maybe stop would be a better word, go, stand, over, up (like pick up you foot) things like these. Must be easy for me to say. Just want to try them on her when I’m working with her to see if maybe that would help. She seems so lost. She is very thin and has scars from harness all over. So if that would help her get use to life here at her new home I would be willing to give it a try.

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    Comment on Mule orders (September 21st, 2015 at 00:51)

    Mule orders

    Judy, I will ask my friends to give me the words for these commands. It may be a few days or even weeks before I see them. I will get back to you and I hope it will help!

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      Comment on Thank You (October 7th, 2015 at 14:58)

      Thank You

      Thank you very much. Though now I’m not so sure she was from an Amish farm. A friend pointed out that Amish know how to fit harness and this poor girl has “scares” from bad fitting harness. So who knows where she came from. But still worth a try. We are getting along so much better too.

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        Comment on Mule orders (October 12th, 2015 at 10:13)

        Mule orders

        I spoke to my Swiss Amish friends and they said that they use English words like “Whoa” just like with their horses. To make a horse move forward, they click their teeth and their cheek just like with an English horse. They commented that mules are just stubborn. Hope this helps!

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          Comment on Mule (October 12th, 2015 at 17:20)


          Thank you. She is coming along and getting better everyday. I think she was upset and confused and very, very hungry. She has put on over 100 pounds so far and is starting to like me a lot. I just wanted to make things easier for her. When I visited Denmark I brought in from pasture a huge Danish Warmblood horse one time. He was so big I had to run beside him when he was walking! I”m short. I tried everything, easy, whoa, on and on. Nothing worked. Finally I asked someone how do I get him to slow down and stop. The person was by this time really laughing at me and said just say stop! I did and the horse stopped… So learned a new word in Danish stop and means the same in English and worked very well with the horse too!

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    Comment on Who are the Swiss Amish? (January 15th, 2016 at 06:14)

    Who are the Swiss Amish?

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