Lifestyle

Texas German Spoken Here! For Now… Hear it Before it’s Gone for Good

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Everyone knows of the German language, but did you know there are Texas-specific dialects of German, which are native to the Hill Country? Texas German, or Texasdeutsch in traditional German, was created by mid-19th century German immigrants. While still spoken today, its use is dwindling and will likely disappear soon. Homes of these dialects include Boerne, New Braunfels, Walburg, and Fredericksburg, as well as Muenster, Schulenburg, and Weimar. The dialect is often spoken as a mixture of both English and Texas German.

Photo: envato elements

As Texas has a rich history of immigrants from all over the world, it’s not unusual to hear many languages. However, Texas German was adapted and continually spoken through fifth and sixth generations. This is quite uncommon, especially since the world wars led to a suppression of German language and culture. The Texas form of German does include English words, borrowed for the language as there were some things without German equivalents for early settlers, particularly in the agricultural, educational, and technological realms.

Here is an example below, for the word skunk:

Texas German: Stinkkatze

Literal translation: stink cat

Standard German: Stinktier

Literal translation: stink animal

Texas German Spoken Here! For Now... Hear it Before it's Gone for Good

Photo: envato elements

University of Texas Professor Hans Boas has worked to record speakers of this Texas form of German. He has 800 hours of interviews with over 400 German descendants in the Lone Star State, archiving them within the Texas German Dialect Project. His findings include the realization that every speaker has different variations of words and phrases. Read more about the ongoing work of Hans Boas and his team here. Texas German is expected to be lost by 2040. Do you speak this dialect or know someone who does? If so, consider contacting the Texas German Dialect Project to have your version of the language recorded for future generations to learn and study. This is yet another thing that makes Texas an incredible state!