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Since I have been creating this program and learning the Amish language, my family’s life has been transformed spiritually. I do not know if it is a coincidence or not. However, by immersing myself in their language, I think through osmoses, I am feeling the positive influence their culture.Aside from their lack of modern clothing, the first thing you will notice about the Amish and the Mennonites is that they have their own language. They do speak English but they also speak their own language, and old language and it is called Pennsylvania Dutch, or PA Dutch. Pennsylvania Dutch is a German based language but it is a hybrid language, a mixture of German and English. When listening to them talk, you will hear bits and pieces of English mixed into the language. What is the first language of the Amish children? The Amish learn PA Dutch as their first language and then when they attend school, they are taught English. Many of them also speak High German, as their bibles are often written in German and many of their religious services are still held in German. The Pennsylvania Dutch are originally from Germany and left due to religious persecution. Some have Swedish roots, having come from the part of Switzerland that was predominately German speaking but German was the base language. Dialects of Amish In 1683, the first group of Germans arrived in Pennsylvania and continued to do so for the next several decades. They became farmers, forming their own communities, primarily in Pennsylvania but they have communities in other states as well. More Amish immigrants came to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, some also settled in the communities in Pennsylvania and others made new communities in Indiana and Ohio. You will find that there are differences in the dialects from the Amish in these regions. Why would anybody want to learn PA Dutch? There are many reasons why learning a new language is a good idea; the biggest reason is that we should never stop learning. Learning new languages keeps our brains working and helps prevent age related mental decline. Other reasons are because you might have shared ancestry or have Amish in your family tree and you want to learn the language. Perhaps you live and work with the Amish and you would like to be able to converse in their own language. The reason why do not matter, but their language is fascinating. It is a common misconception that Pennsylvania Dutch is derived from the Dutch language. The word Dutch comes from the Netherlands, but rather from how the word “Deitsch” sounds when said out loud. “Deutsch” is the German word for people from Germany, it also sounds like “Deitsch”, which is a German endonym, and thus, over the years, it became the word Dutch. What is a hybrid language Because it is a hybrid language, with a spattering of English thrown in, many people find that PA Dutch is easy to learn. If you live in a state with an Amish population, PA Dutch sayings are probably already part of your lexicon, so why not learn more about the language. It does not matter if you are interested in the Amish in particular or just interested in language, you will find learning Pennsylvania Dutch fun and easy. You can use it to talk to Amish people that you encounter, to help boost your brainpower, or just for the fun of learning. The Amish are a fascinating people and their language is just as interesting. You do not need a time machine to go to an early time in history; you just need to visit the Amish. You will be instantly transported back to a simpler time and when you know the language as well, you can even enjoy getting to know the Amish even more. Not only will speaking to the Amish help you learn more, but also once you begin to speak their language, it will be easier to experience the Amish culture first hand.