‘English’ is what many Amish call non-Amish people.

‘Yankee’ is another term.

The Amish also use phrases–‘your people’, ‘those kinds of people’–which may sound somewhat derogatory to our ears.

But no harm intended.


Identity matters in Amish America.  Customs, clothes, language make dividing lines clear.

At the same time, many Amish are surprisingly open to the world, and even have good friends among the English.

I recall one visit in an Amish home.  A shy two-year-old quickly hid his face, unused to English folks.

The mother smiled and reassured her boy in Pennsylvania Dutch:  ‘don’t worry…he just looks different from us, but he’s good too.’

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