How now brown cow? : a look at social variables affecting the use of Pennsylvania dutchified English in Green Point, Pennsylvania
When speakers of different language varieties come into contact with each other, one variety often becomes dominant (based on relative social, economic, and/or political prestige), even to the point where it totally supersedes the other variety. This is what has occurred in Green Point, Pennsylvania, a small rural mountain community whose members once spoke Pennsylvania Dutch (a German dialect). This language was superseded by English several decades ago, and for at least two generations residents have spoken their own variety of the language, Pennsylvania Dutchified English (PDE); today even that variety is threatened by the overpowering influences of the standard variety of English spoken in the region. In addition to briefly describing the some linguistic features of PDE, this study examines the forces behind the Pennsylvania Dutch--Pennsylvania Dutchified English--regional standard of English language shift that has taken place in this community, in two ways--first by looking carefully at the historical and economic factors that have played a role in residents' language choices in the past, and then by investigating the influence of certain social variables that may be linked to residents' choices between PDE and the regional standard today. The paper concludes with a discussion of the prospects for the survival of PDE in this area and offers some suggestions for actions that PDE speakers can take to preserve their dialect, if they choose to do so.