What Language Change Tells Us: A Case Study
Known mostly by plain dresses, humility, closeness to nature and simple living, the Amish people achieve a high degree of community mindedness. Moreover, the use of Pennsylvania German, a variety that has been in close contact with the American English for the last few decades, is yet another domain to be associated with the Amish. Since their arrival into the USA, their conservative attitude and resistance to the mainstream culture and language, English, has been evident; however, despite this resistance language contact has been unavoidable. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of language contact between American English and Pennsylvania German, and draw some insights into the language maintenance of Pennsylvania German. The study provides a brief description of the Amish way of life and their sociolinguistic background, an analysis of the linguistic impact of English on Pennsylvania German and provides some insights into language maintenance and language planning in the Amish Society.
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