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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Pennsylvania Dutch & the Civil War – War Vocabulary

Posted By on January 9, 2011

The Pennsylvania Dutch in the Lykens Valley were not involved to any great extent in opposing the Civil War or in claiming conscientious objection to military service.  Many voluntarily enlisted in the military with with very little prodding or were willing to serve if drafted without buying their way out as many others did.  Some joined regiments as “substitutes” for those were willing to pay them to serve.

Continuing the Pennsylvania Dutch lists of words, we turn now to the war vocabulary.  All words are from The English Pennsylvania Dutch Dictionary with English “equivalents” by Howard Snader.

Accident (OOM for a); aggressor (AW fear a); alive (la WEND ich); allegiance (TZU schtay); ambulance (GRONK a WOGG a); amnesty (fer GEW wa); anger (base); arrest (g’FONG a); arson (AW g’steck’s); artillery (ca NOON); asylum (SY lum); bullet (KU wel); cartridge (KAT ritch); cut (schnide); dead (dode); death (es dode); defeated (ge DRUSH a); destroy (fer NICHT); discharge (OB schtupp’d); drowned (fer SUFF a); explode (UFF blose); exploder (UFF ge blose a); fight (fecht); fought (g’ FOCHT a); fresh water (Frisch WASS er); frightened (fer SCHRUGG a); gun shot (FLINDT schuss); horse shoe (HOOF eyes a); imprisoned (EYE g’schparr’d); injure (WAY doo); kill (schlacht); knife (MESS er); take life (LAY wa nemm a); marksman (schitz); musket (MOOSH gate); north (nard); oath (aid); take oath (NEMM aid); out shoot (OWS schees a); pardon (fer GABE ness); peace (AYE nich keit); peril (in g’FOR); pistol (PISCHT ol); revolver (RE wol wer); pocket knife (SOK mess er); prison (BRESS end); prisoner (g’ FONG ner, EYE g’schparrd er); quarrel (schtreit); rage (WEED ich); retreat (tzu RICK foll a); saber (DAYG a); saddle bag (SODD el sok); saddle horse (SODD el GOWL); shot (g’SCHUSS a, schuss, schroat); shot through with (darrich g’schussa mitt); shot gun (SCHROAT flindt); soldier (sol DAWT); south (sud);  stab (schtech); starve (HOONG er); strife (schtreid); strike (schlag); subdue (IW wer koom a); sword (DAYG a); at sword’s point (om dayga schpitz); tent (tzelt); wagon (WOGG a); wagon load (WOGG a lawd); war (greek); at war (im greek); go to war (GAY tzu’m greek); wound (WAY ge doo, ge WIGG el’d).

For those who wish to study the language further, an excellent dictionary of Pennsylvania German to English, Common Sense Pennsylvania German Dictionary, was published by James C. Lins in Reading, Pennylvania, in 1895.   It’s a free download and a great resource.  Note though that there is no pronunciation guide and the German word must be looked up to find its English meaning.

While this is the final post of five that specifically deals with groups of Pennsylvania Dutch vocabulary words, other posts will follow over time and deal with more aspects of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and its relationship to the Civil War veterans of the Lykens Valley.


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