Interview with Cornelius Blotsky
(CB) and Mrs. Blotsky (MB)
Conducted by Allen L. Spiker (AS)
17 July 1979, Bismarck, North Dakota
Some parts transcribed by Matthew Miller,
student at NDSU, 2005.
Transcription, Translation, Editing and Proofing by Pr. Marvin
L. Hartmann, June, 2006.
(Reader, please note: When Allan Spiker posed words
or statements for restatement in dialect often they were declarative
sentences but I punctuated them with question marks to underscore
the implies question, "How would you say...?" Dialect
words I spelled phonetically in an effor to demonstrate shadings
in expression. Since I could not use umlauts I employed diphthongs,
double letters, which then reflect as close as possible the variations
in pronunciations. Often there are variations of spellings within
the same series of exchanges where there may be a repeated use
of the same or similar word. These variations are intended because
often the respondent varied the pronunciations of the same word.
Further, I did not capitalize the dialect nouns. I make no claim
for consistency. MLH)
AS: My name’s Allen Spiker, I’m in Bismarck,
North Dakota. Today’s date is July 17th, 1979. And I’m
speaking with Mr. and Mrs…
CB: Cornelius Blotsky.
AS: Okay. And maybe you could tell me something
about your people and just, where you were born and…how
about your people down here in Morton county.
CB: In English?
AS: Auf Deutsch.
CB: Deutsch, okay. Ich bin na boarn in Russland,
in Grossna. Und ik var drei jahr alt und vie mya, mya family rieba
gamooft sint oof Amerika. Und ninezen hunnert un nein.... (I was
born in Russia, in Grossna. I was three years old when my family
and I moved to America. And in 1909.....)
AS: Vo hat ihre familien ihre heimstadt? (Where
did they homestead?)
CB: Heimstadt in Raleigh. Nort von Raleigh nort
von Raleigh hamerga heimstadt hat mein fatter lahnd oof genoo.
Und dann sinn mir veiter g'moovt. Ich kann nit saga was feer yore,
Ich war noch younk vo mer dort fort g'mooft sinn noch Solon. Un
varen mer dort a veil un dann sinn mer dann veitter g'mooft..(unclear)
Un dann in ninezen hunnert un achtunzawanzig habe geheiratet.
Von ...in Raleigh, St. Katherine kirich. (Homestead in Raleigh.
My father took land north of Raleigh. Then we moved further. Can
not say, I was only four, I was young when we moved away to Solon.
We were there for a time and then we mmoved further. I was married
in 1928 at the Raleigh St. Katherine's Church.)
AS: Musst sie auch vas sagen? I’ll ask this
in English but you can answer in German. You said your people
speak…your German is a little different than the others
from around here?
CB: Yeah. We do, yeah.
AS: How, maybe you can tell me something how it’s
CB: Stroosburgich. Yeah. Mir redda so .....well....you
ask me something?
AS: Well, oh, well first of all, where do your people,
the people who speak like you, which towns do they live down in
MB: By Raleigh.
CB: Near Raleigh, Grant County.
MB: In town.
CB: Grant County.
AS: Oh, I see. And how about some of the other towns
down here, Shields, Reim…?
CB: Well, Shields is in Grant county.
MB: Shields, Flasher.
CB: No, Flasher’s in Morton county.
MB: Well ya, but he means like…
AS: I mean your people.
MB: Yeah. Shields...
CB: Shields und Raleigh. Dort rum vohnen unsere
leit. (His people live around there.)
AS: Oh, .....Flasher....sin (unclear)
CB: Well, vash…sie verzehlen wieder anderschter
vie mir....(They speak differently from us.)
MB: Sie verzehelen wieder anderschter......
CB: Bei Flasher. Aber das iss grat von Raleigh...von
Grant Country dort so.....
AS: Raleigh and Shields?
CB: Raleigh and Shields.
AS: Und leit?
AS: Or Leed?
MB: Leed by…
AS: Hin sie soa andra?
MB: Dat sinn mehr, dat sinn mehr......
AS: Yeah, uh huh.
AS: So your people are just in that small area.
CB: In that small area, yeah.
MB: Vann da sinn Philip in Bismark...in Bismarck
sinn viela vonnah. Arig viel in Bismarck.
AS: Fon ihren leit?
CB: Fon unser leit.
AS: Sinn nu noch veniger in Raleigh and Shields.
CB: Yeah, yeah.
MB: Sinn da ander noof zu, yeah.
AS: Und vie lang haben sie dann in Raleigh geleben?
(How long did you live in Raleigh?)
CB: Raleigh, mir hoan in Raleigh…mir sinn
doa ...fon in neinzehn hundert und sieven und funfzig sinn mer
noch Bismarck g'mooft. Un..es yetz shun, vert shun zweiunzwanzig...
(From 1957....and now its 22 years later...)
MB: Fun nein, fun nein und zwanzig bis und sieben
AS: Waren sie auf der farm?
CB: D'farm, yeah. Und jetz wohn wir in Bismarck.
AS: Well, what’s some other names of people
from that area? Are they kind of like yours too?
CB: Well there sinn na…
AS: Kind of Polish then?
MB: Well, das sinn…
MB: Sinn Leber, Bolga.
CB: Und sinn auch Bolga.
MB: Un Bachmeira.
CB: Bach…yeah, Bachmeier und ah…
MB: ......Schenkle, der sinn Millera und ...........
AS: Des sinn alla ihra leita? (They're all your
CB: Alla. Yeah.
MB: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
CB: Oder Thompson, yeah.
MB: Sie sinn manesh allra related. (Many of them
AS: Und familia varra alla aus Krasna? (And all
the families from Krasna?)
CB: All from Krasna. Dann ihr elt nooch auf in dunkel.
In Grasna, yeah.
AS: Dann sinn sie allet zu zammen vie… (Then
they are all together.....)
CB: All zu zamme, all zu zamme. Sie vo die, rieber
koomst sinn die or zurueck, dann hat er g'settlt in Straussborg.
(All together, together. Just like those who came over and back
and then settled in Strassburg.)
AS: Die alte freer? (The old ones earlier?)
CB: Vie die alte als rieber g'mooft g'sint. (As
the older ones moved over.)
AS: Neinzehn, neinzehn…
CB: Neinzehn hundert und acht und ..........Und
der earsht in Straussborg. Und dann sinn doat no rieber g’mooft
eber der river nort Raleigh dat in, dat rum uns. (In 1908, first
in Strassburg. And then they moved over the river north of Raleigh,
in that area.)
MB: Dann kannt mer noch land kenna uff nimma aber
der .....var nichts. (Then you could still homestead but [later]
there was nothing.)
AS: Var nichts da?
CB: And that’s a…
AS: How, how is your German different from say the
people over in Strassburg, or the other people up in other areas
of Grant County and Morton?
MB: Mir sag'n Lidja un sie Lidda. (For Lydia).
AS: What's the difference? Can you think of any
CB: Well, es iss unnerscheit.
CB and MB: (Undiscipherable exchange because both
spoke at once.) Dass wass unnerscheit iss.
AS: I'm going to ask this word list, then. Who would
like to answer?
CB and MB: (One or the other indicates willingness.)
AS: And then, if you disagree, or you think you
say something different, just interrupt. How would you say, "I
like that and I used to like that?"
CB: Well, es iss yetz, eh........
MB: "Ich gleich dess un ich hans noch immer
AS: And how would you say, "I was there?"
CB: "Ich war dort."
AS: And, "What's wrong?"
CB: "Gar nix." (Laugh)
AS: You're not supposed to say what's wrong.
CB: "Wass ish letz?"
MB: "Nich war letz."
AS: And how would you say, "Hey, look."
MB: Nay, "Gook."
CB: Oh, "Gook."
AS: And if I were standing on the street and a speeding
car were coming and I didn't see it and you shout out the window,
"Look out." How would ..........
CB: "Pass oof."
AS: And how would you say, "He walks now,".............maybe
you could move up a little closer then because I don't know if
I'm picking you up. Both come in a .......that should be OK, that's
better. Thank you. How would you say, "He walks now and he
MB: "Er lauft yetzt un er laufft gischter rum."
AS: OK. "She runs now and she ran yesterday."
MB: "Sie laufft naw...un..you know....yetz
AS: Do you ever say, "springa?"
MB: Huh ah....laufft ....lauffet.
AS: To run.
MB: Ah hah.
AS: Oh, you don't say "springa?"
AS: And...it....for walk, the same word then?
MB: Mir sagt "laffet" oder "ei g'laffet."
AS: How would you say, "I jump now and I jumped
MB: "Bisht dernach g'hoapst, see."
AS: OK. And how would you say, "He sold the
MB: "Er hat der ploog ferkaufft."
AS: And then how would you say, "One plow,
MB: Nae, ae plooch oder zwei plooch. Zwei pleech."
AS: OK. A number of these words....a number I asked
...like one, two..just to get the singular and plural. To note
the changes like baum and baem.
CB: Oh, yah.
AS: "He always smoked the pipe."
MB: "Schmoaked da pife."
AS: How would you say, "God?" How would
you say, "Devil?"
MB: "Der Herr Gott un der deivel."
AS: When you say, "devil" is with a "d"
or a "t?"
MB: A "d."
CB: "Deivel." Ya.
AS: And how would you say, "I hear something?"
MB: Hear something, "Heera."
AS: And, "No, I don't know him."
MB: "Ich kenn net."
AS: How do you say "no?"
MB: "Ich kenn ihn net."
AS: Ya, but when you say, "no" do you
CB: "Nay. Nay."
AS: How would you say, "I know that he doesn't
have any money?"
MB: ".......er hat kei gelt."
AS: OK. And how would you say, "Summer, Winter,
Spring and Fall?"
MB: "Sommer un Vinder un Freeyore un Schpaetyor."
AS: And, "That's a pretty girl."
MB: "Mmm...ne, that's a schoenes maerah."
AS: How do you say "girl?"
AS: OK. I may ask you to repeat some words because
they're different from what I've heard before. I'm glad I ran
into you. Now, when you were children and you were talked to an
older person, would you say, "du" to them?
MB: No, "Ihr." Unsere eltern hin uns gelernt
es macht nix aus wie alt ...............wann senior or aelter
warn, hamnn nicht darea "du" sagn. .........un auch
AS: Respect, ya. And how would you say, "one
day, two days?"
MB: "Yea dagh, zwei dagh."
AS: Its the same for one or more like "kuh"
and "kueh." There's no change in it then? And how would
you say, One wagon, two wagons?"
MB: "Ae vong, zwie vaen"
AS: And what you call the trail out in the field
where you take out the wagon or truck?
MB: "Ya, der vaeg."
AS: And two would be?
MB: "Zwei vaege"
AS: OK. And how would you say "one saw, two
saws," like you saw wood with?
MB: "Na aeg....saw....saeg oder zwei saeah."
AS: And then, "I saw wood now and I sawed wood
MB: "Han ya, holz gesaet...un g'schtert han
ich holz g'saea."
AS: Un morga...?
MB: "Un morya sae is wider holz."
AS: And how do you say, "One frog, two frogs."
MB: Na, "Ae frosch, un zwei froschen."
AS: Do you ever say "croat?"
MB: "Froascha und krotta."
CB: Is there a difference?
MB: I difference bei uns. Die krotta die sin yo
mehr bi uns in the guarta und am ____________. Dir froascha in
AS: So a krott would be a toad. Some people don't
make any difference. Everything is is a krott.
AS: How do you say, "One horse, two horses?"
MB: "Ae pfat oder zwoi phat."
AS: And then, what do you call cattle or livestock?
Just live stock, what would you say?
MB: Ziever, ya, zieva.
AS: Would you ever say "fiech?"
MB: Yah......(Brief section undecipherable) ....solmer
auch "ziever fueddera."
(Brief discussion over whether "ziever"
pertains to only cattle or includes all animals like horses and
AS: What would you call just cattle?
MB and CB: "Kieh."
MB: "Kieh ora fiech."
CB: You could say "fiech" too?
AS: And how would you say, "One egg, two eggs?"
MB: "Nae, ae ei, zwei eyer."
AS: And, "One tomato, two tomatoes."
MB: "One 'chunna,' zwai 'panchunna.'"
AS: OK, is there any other word you used for tomato?
MB: Mir sag'n yetzt tomato, aber in Friedenstal,
mir sag'n immer panchunna.
AS: And how do you say, "One potato, two potato?"
MB: "Eye, ehe kartoffela, zwei kartoffela."
AS: Did you ever say 'kumbaer, kumbaera?'
AS: I'm asking the differences because ................
And how do you say , "Oats?"
AS: And "cucumber?"
AS: And "a pickle?"
MB: Eh, well, "Sauere kumbere."
AS: "One beet, two beets?"
MB: "Rotrieba, ae rotriebe, zwei rotrieba."
AS: "One carrot, two carrots?"
MB: "Ae, gehlrieba."
AS: And one would be....?
MB: Ae gehlreiba, zwei gehlreiba."
AS: "One apple, two apples?"
MB: "Ae ahpfel, zwie aepfel."
AS: And , "One tree, two trees?"
MB: Well that, "Ae bomb, zwei baem."
AS: And, "One garden, two gardens."
MB: "Ae gahrta oder zwei gahrta."
AS: What did you call the place that you raised
watermelon and cucumbers?
MB: Dass him mer eins "baschtann" g'sagt.
AS: And how do you say, "One shirt, two shirts?"
MS: "Ae hemit oder zwei hemita."
AS: OK, and "One candle, two candles?"
MS: "Na, ae wahx licht oder zwei wahx lichta."
AS: And would you please count from one to twenty
in your German.
MS: "Aens, zwei, drei, feer, fen-iff, sex,
sieba, awcht, nein, zaehn, eh-liff, zwel-liff, dreizen, fortzen,
fufzen, sechtzen, siepzen, achtzen, neinzen, zwanz."
AS: People should be glad I don't ask for a hundred
or something like that. (All laugh.) How do you say, "One
stone or two stones?"
MS: "Ae schtaen oder zwei schtaen."
AS: Is it the same for one or two or is there a
MS: No, "Ae schtaen order zwei schtaener."
AS: How do you say, "The hill is high?"
MS: "Hoch or high."
AS: And how do you say, "One hill and two hills."
MS: "Berga, berga."
AS: How about a "mountain?"
MS: "Grohza bergha."
CB: "Dass sinn mer sonna grohza bergha."
AS: And "The cemetery is behind the church?"
MS: "Nah...der khirgha hoff is hinner da kirch."
AS: And, "One ladder, two ladders?"
MS: "Ae laether, oder zwei laether."
AS: And "One cradle, two cradles?"
MS: "Ae veegh, oder zwei vieah."
AS: And, "One fly, two flies."
MS: "A meek oder zwei meeka."
AS: And, "One coffin, two coffin?"
MS: "Ae lawt oder twei lawt."
AS: And what would you call the funeral service?
AS: And then the burial, what would you call that?"
AS: And how do you say, "One chair, two chairs."
MS: Well, "schtuhl...se schtuhl oder zwei schteel."
AS: And how do you say, "He sits in the chair
MS: "Der hoakt der ganze dagh im schtool."
AS: Now, does that have a bad meaning of any kind.....?
AS: It is something you would normally say?
MS: Yah, yah.
AS: How would you say, "I want to drink a cup
of coffee with cream and sugar?"
MS: "Er villa a tass koffee mit rahm un zukker."
AS: OK, so you sat "tass?"
CB. Ya, " tass."
AS: Because over in Strassburg they say, "kaepfel."
CB: "Kaepfel. Ya." And "Tassya."
AS: And in Bethsada they say..........?
AS: I'm not always quite certain what they say but
I have an idea. How do you say one haystack, two haystacks?"
MB: "Ae heischober un zwei heischaeber."
AS: And "One house, two houses?"
MB: "Ae haus und zwei hous.....heiser."
AS: And how do you say, "A small house?"
MB: "Ae klaenes haus."
AS: Is there anything you can add on the end of
'house' to make it small?
MB: Vell, wir hae'n g'sagt wann mer ahn klaenes
heis....im hof oder im _________ ha'm mer g'sagt summer kiche.
AS: Some people would say, "Kleines heisel."
AS: Would you say anything like that?
AS: So you don't have any ending like a "heisel"
CB: No, no.
AS: How would you say, "We eat meat and potatos
MB: "Mir essa fleisch un kartoffel alle dagh."
AS: And, "That smells good?"
MB: "S'reecht goot."
AS: And, "That tastes good?"
CB: "T'schmahkt goot."
MB: "T'schmahkt good."
AS: OK. That, like the others in Strassburg and
further west, when they say it smells good, they say, "De
AS: Its different again. How do you say "Fog?"
AS: And then how would you say, "I wash clothes?"
MB: "S'wisched klaeder."
AS: And "She sweeps the floor with a broom?"
MB: "Klaent der boada.....mit dem....baed(s)a."
AS: And then, "I'm going home now?"
MB: "Ah...gehen mer haem."
AS: Now on the next page I have just a couple....on
each page.....so it is not going to take all day.
AS: How do you say, "One foot, two feet?"
MB: "Ae fouss oder zwei feece."
AS: And how do you say the heel of your foot?
AS: And what do you call your ankle?
MB: What calla mer da ankle? (Unclear)
AS: And when you say "foos," how high
does the "foos" go for you.
MB: Bis an da ankle.
AS: On the knee, on the hip?
MB: No, an da foos... (Mixture of voices disputing
AS: Because for some people when they say "foos"
it goes ..............
MB and CB: No, no we don't say that.
AS: Not for you. See, that's different for you too,
then. How do you say, "One hand, two hands?"
MB: "Ae han oder zwei haend."
AS: And wrist?
MB: Doh muss mer aber ah yetzt denka....(One has
to give this some thought.)
CB: Ich denk its jetzt "wrist."
MB: Mei aeltera hins ah was g'ninnt aber ich kanns
jetzt nee.................(My parents called it something but
now I can't...)
AS: I have never found a word for ankel or wrist
here in North Dakota. A lot of German dialects don't have a word
Because, you know 'foos' goes here or higher. (Undecipherable
AS: How do you say "mouth?"
MB: "Ae maul."
AS: Then how about an animal?
MB: Ae mensch sagt mer a maul un an animal sagt
mer a "schliss" (schnitt) fer a maul.
CB: Dass iss, .....so hab'n mir g'sagt.
MB: So habn mei aeltlera.....
AS: I never heard that ......its like for a horse
or a cow...?
CB: Ya, ya.
AS: And when you were children and you would be
arguing and you would tell the other to shut up, what would you
CB: Ah..."Hall die schliss."
AS: I've never heard that a schliss before. They
said, "gosch"..........I'm glad I heard about you people
because your German is different than the others.
CB: Ya, ya.
AS: I think it is wonderful that you're still speaking
AS: And how do you say, "One lip, two lips."
MB: "Ee un alla zwei lippa."
AS: And the "chin?"
AS: And "Forehead?"
AS: How do you say, "One star?"
MB: "Ae schtaen." (Discussion ensues with
overlapping voices regarding the difference between forehead and
star. They agree its is different in their dialect.)
AS: When a man is bald, how do you say, "He's
MB: Ah, "blutkaeppich."
CB: Oh, oh ya, "blutkaeppich."
AS: How do you say, "head?"
AS: "Kopf." And how do you say "mustache?"
AS: It sounds better than "mustache."
And how do you say a "beard?"
AS: Is that the same word as for chin?
AS: And the word for chin was....?
MB: (Unclear because several were speaking at the
AS: And how do you say, "I eat and I drink?"
MB: "Aet un drink."
AS: How about the guy who is a real slob when he
eats and sits in a bar and drinks all night, how would you say
that "He eats and he drinks?"
MB: "Er ish schlappish."
AS: Would you use anything that essen und trinken?
CB: "Der ish ver suffa."
AS: Would you say anything like, "Der fresst
un der saufft?"
MB: "...........der saufft un der fresst, ya."
AS: Yes, you could treat him like an animal?
AS: OK. How do you say, "in-law?"
CB: "Uff deitsch, dess kann ......................"
MB: Ya, "Schwerleit."
AS: And how do you say "father-in-law?"
AS: "Son-in-law" now?
MB: Oh, son-in-law is "Schwersohn."
AS: OK. Do you ever say anything like "dochtermann?"
MB: "Dochtermann?" Aber mir sag'n net....mir
AS: OK. And how do you say, "two son-in-law's?"
MB: Vell,....."zwei schweegersaen."
AS: OK. And "daughter-in-law?"
MB: Well, sag'n mir "dochter-in-law."
AS: And then "brother-in-law?"
AS: For daughter-in-law did you ever say "schwiegertochter?"
CB: "Schwiegertochter? Ya ...."
AS: Did you use that or just others...............?
MB: Ya, daughter-in-law ish n'ye English un schwierdochter
AS: OK. And how would you say, "brother-in-law?"
MB: Well, ah................"schwoager."
CB: "Schwoager, ya."
AS: How would you say, "sister-in-law?"
AS: Is that one or more?
MB: Well, schwaeger, doesn't.....aens oder zwei...............schwaeger.
AS: How do you say, "One uncle, two uncles?"
MB: "Ae faether oder zwei faethera."
AS: And "one aunt, two aunts?"
MB: "Ee vaether, zwei vaether."
AS: You don't say "baes?"
CB: No. Vaes.
AS: This is good.
DB: "T'zisch ah vieder ahnderscht."
AS: And then, when you were children, would you
call other people aunt and uncle who weren't your real aunt and
uncle, just older people?
MB: Da hin mir immer g'sagt "fetter."
MB: "Fetter." "Immer fetter."
AS: I mean even if they were not your real not your
parents' brother or sister?
MB: "Mir h'an immer g'sagt fetter un vaet.
Ueber unser alter nochber leit, die waren unser nochber leit waren
aeltere, nochber liet und komrada, mir hin alle g'sagt ich vill
yetz fetter sag'n....
AS: OK. Good. And how you say, "godfather?"
AS: OK. And "godmother?"
AS: Did you ever use that with "tauf pate,
MB: Mir ha'n so g'lernt, "path un goath."
AS: OK. And how do you say "One orphan, two
orphans." A child that doesn't have any parents.
CB: "Uff deitsch, des war au vitter vass nice."
(In German that was also something new.)
MB: " Ich .........(garbled) ..........s'var
so ah ahngenommenes kind." (Adopted child.)
CB: Ya, des wars.........
MB: So...."ah ahngenommenes.....kint. Und ahngenommene kinder."
AS: Did you ever say anything like a "veisenkind?"
MB: "Ya, ........mir hann so g'sagt....und
andere hand haen mir so g'sagt aber mir sagen ahngenommenes kind."
AS: OK. And then two would be.........."
MB: "Zwae ahngenommene kinder."
AS: And how would you say, "One widow, two
MB: "Vittfrau oder vittveiber."
AS: And then when you say "vittveiber"
is that a "b" or a "v" at the end?
AS: How would you say, "One widow, two widows??
MB: "Ee vittman or zwei vittmaenner."
AS: How do you say "vitt....?
AS: How would you say, "Most people in town
MB: "Maenscht sinn dietsch."
AS: And how would you say "in town."
MB: "Int schtatt."
AS: And then, two more. How would you say, "They
have been married twenty five years."
MB: "Sie sinn ferheirat von finf un zwanzig
AS: And how would you say, "They're divorced?"
MB: "Haent schaedig g'lasst."
AS: "Schaeda." Is your name Polish?
CB: Well, mie uhragrossvatter, da war Polish.
MB: Von Polak.
CB: Un dass, mei fatter.........
AS: Do you know where your people came from in Germany?
CB: Mei fatter koomt fon Rumania, Bessarabia, ya.
Mei mutter var vitter von Krasna, ya.
AS: Aus welchen dorf?
CB: Als Krasna....ich kann wieter nie saga......als
was ich g'hert..sie kommt von Krasna.
AS: And were was Krasna exatly?
CB: Ya, ich kanna dass nich saga. Ich war drei yor
AS: But you were born in Krasna?
AS: So your father went to live in your mother's
AS: Were all the people in your village ....Krasna..was
Catholic? So Raleigh and Scheels.... Are there any other people
MB: Oh, there's some...
CB: Well, ....
MB: Yetzt sinn schon mae...
AS: Do you know of any other people from Krasna
that came to North Dakota and settled towns?
CB: Well................the alts sinn shon all doat
and die younga, die sinn halt...
AS: But when your parents came over and settled
eventually in Releigh and Scheels, were there any other people
you know from Krasna who went in some other part of the state?
CB: Well, da sinn fiel noch Kahnada g'mooft.
AS: Vohnen sie dann in Kahnada?
CB: Na, die sinn alle schon doat. Die maerschte
AS: Do you happen to know any songs, stories like
AS: Or jokes?
CB: Noi, ich waess nich viel jokes.
AS: Did your parents ever tell you anything about
CB: Ya, die haen verzaehle aber mire haben gar kahn
achtung g'geba un dass.......vir varen younk un was mir verzaehlt
mir gar nix vom kenn..you know. ( When the old folks spoke, we
paid no attention. We were young and we had other things to talk
MB: Wann die alte zusamma war'n war'n sie alaen
un die youngga war'n alaen. (The old folks gathered separately
and the young people gathered separately.)
AS: Was haben die kinder dann getan? (What did the
young people do?)
MB: Wir hab'n dann alaen dann eine schtub g'habt.
Wir haben nich dann bei die aeltera ge'gang'n in des room wo die
(We were then in a different parlor. We were not in the same room
with the adults.)
AS: Sind sie auch in einen vasenhaus gewohnt? (Did
you also live in a sod house?)
CB: Oh ya, mir hatten ein vasenhaus g'hatt aerscht
yora. (We had a sod house the first years.)
MB: Mir zwei net aber. (Not the two of us.)
CB: No, no, mei aeltera.(No, no, I mean my parents.)
MB: ".... there were vasen gebeier und schtaen
gebeier. Mir hatten kuhe in der schtall gehat, varen unna gebauer
mit schtaener un laem ....mit oberst war mit holz ......dene habn
immer mit schmaera, na mit dem laema, schmaera un weisela mit
kalik weisla ....... hatt immer wieder schaen g'sena." (There
were buildings still standing built with sod and stones. We had
a cow barn the lower part of which was made with rocks and clay
and above there was wood. We had to keep it in repair with lime
and whiteneing....when it was whitewashed it looked real nice
AS: Where did you get the lime and all that stuff?
MB: Der lime kann mer immer kaffa aber the laema
wo mer g'schimert hann, da kann mer mit der hand rierha. Grund
genomma und dan han mer ....dann hann mer mit der..... antriera
un hann schtro un mischt rin .....han mers immer doan and han
mers immer frisch ueber g'schmiert. (The lime we were able to
buy but we had to mix it with clay by hand. We took dirt........and
then stirred in straw and manure......then smeared on a fresh
AS: How often did you have to do that?
MB: Well, im sommer.... un vinter ham'ers halt net
aber im sommer han mer zwei, dri mals verschiera, nicht, auch
Das war schoen. (Well, in summer..........in the winter we could
do nothing but in summer we did it two, sometimes three times
..with whitewash. It was nice.)
AS: Did you live in town..........."
CB: No, mir...I bought the farm.
AS: Wie gross war ______und Scheer...wie fielen
wohnten da? ( A discussion ensued over the demise of the little
town near by. Many overlapping comments.)
CB: Frier war dass gross...
MB: ______doh ish ueberhaupt gar nix nimme. (There's
nothing left.) Und in Scheer ist auw gar nix mehr. Do sinn a parr
farmer dort vohnna, dort drinna. But that's ...it. ....zum brenna.
Doh hat mir die hola missa raus graaba, aus der aert, for bei
dagh un mit mischt (long discussion ensues on how to make the
clay brick) dann hab'n mir en eh uff g'schobert ...no bis sie
drukka wohr. (more undecipherable explanation in bits of sentences)
bis mann dann mischt un laema uff g'schmiert....
Un bei nacht dann kann mer mit kohla brenna. (Obviously she described
the process by which they build buildings with bricks together
with the heating system.
AS: Von wo kamen die kohla her? (From where did
the coal come?)
MB: Dae kohla hab'n wir aus der aerd g'grabt.
(In the early years they used to dig it out of the
ground but in the latest years it was purchased.)
AS: Un was fier deutschen gibts in _____________?
CB: (Drach and Bornagotsky names come up in an overlapping
exchange regarding the residents of a town. The discussion continues
regarding the prominent names in Heil.
AS: Was fiel deutsche gibts in Bryan und Flasher?
(What kind of Germans are there in Bryan and Flasher?)
CB: Gibts viel deitache...gibts Koch un Mildere.
AS: Die sind Krasana?
CB: No dass sinn deitscha.
AS: Auch in Flasher da?
MB: (She discusses her relatives, including lots
of cousins in Bryan and Flasher, suggesting there were many of
AS: So how far the the Krasna go? Shields, Raleigh?
CB: Shields, Raleigh un dann weiter west kann ich
ni sag'n. Wie weit al's geht. Aber es geht....let's see, Carson,
you got Carson on here.....dort droan?
AS: These are here......not all towns are on here.
CB: Oh dass sinn die townships?
AS: The towns that they have here are the ones that
Germans usually settled on. So there's a lot of towns missing.
MB: See, that Carson, dort dru'eben sinn auch noch
aber dort settled wider mah andere leit. (Others, implying non-Krasnens
and non-Germans settled near Carson. Dort sinn von unser jetz
auw schon dort reingemooft. (But some of ours moved into that
AS: But did when your people first came over, did
they all settle in Bryan and Flasher, die Krasnacher?
CB: Inna Grant County. Hawn sie aerst g'settlt.
MB: (Speaks of movement into Grant county through
the purchase of land with lots of rocks.)
AS: So...what kind of Germans were in Flasher and
Bryan then. Were those 'pantata?'
MB: Sout of Flaesher sinn lauter von unser leit
and nort fon Flaesher .........
As: Then Brian were kinda of your people too then?
AS: And the Indians were over here?
CB: Yah. They were in Sioux County.
AS: Do you know Father Sherman?
CB: Wo ist der?
AS: Grand Forks. Zur Zeit.
AS: He's interested in German Russian buildings.
You know, like the vasenheuser.
CB: Oh, oh.
AS: He's always going around taking pictures. He
was wondering about the word "beck haus." He's wondering
when they started using them.
CB: Why, they used them....................
MB: Aber doh schtaet ae wann mer uff ah, Mott, so
fahrt, a vasenhaus dass grad noch uff g'schmaert un alles.....
(Long confusing discussion over an old sod house,
disputing its location and agreeing that someone recoated it and
AB: Aber grad schon bek heuser hier? In Strassburg.
MB: "...............jets kommts jetzt zu mir
wir sprechen von a bathroom, a toilet.
MB: Aber mir hat das....ueber awl...
AS: So when you came over, they were already using
CB: Yah. Yah.
MB: Ich kann mir noch gedenka wo mir noch .....aber
die gebeiera daehn. (Sense: I can remember when we built one.)
AS: So the 'bek haus' came....... (Sherman) was
just interested in when they started building them.
MB: Un dass war when die ander, die alte gebauert
g'worn, dann haen sie dass g'bauert. Es war schlimm frier yora
(That was when the old ones were first here that they built them.
It was bad in those early years.)
AS: So kalt war.
CB: Dass war schlimm. (That was bad.)
AS: How about prohibition? What did the Germans
down there do? During prohibition, you know, when you couldn't
buy anything to drink?
CB: Oh ....du meinscht dass getrink? (Oh you mean
something to drink?)
AS: Ya. Da war nix. (Yes, there wasn't anything.)
CB: Sie haens g'macht. (They made it.)
AS: Ah hah.
CB: Dass hab's selber g'macht. Schnapps gebrennt.
Beir gemacht. Wein gemacht. (They made it themselves, schanpps,
beer and wine.)
AS: In Flasher und .....
AS: Hab'n alles des g'macht? (Did you make all of
CB: No grad nich grad alle, aber wars die g'maerschte
haen dass g'macht. Grad for sich selber. (No, not everything but
we made most of them.)
AS: Nichts verkafft? (Didn't sell anything?)
CB: No, no.
(Another overlapping discussion about making beer
for personal use or for sale. They agreed that there was perhaps
some made for sale but very little.)
AS: Bier, oder?
CB: Bier, schnapps.
MB: Bier un schnapps un vine.
AS: Wie haben schnapps g'macht?
CB: Na, den haens g'brennt. (They 'burned' it.)
CB: Mit zwie rahm kanna. (With two cream cans.)
CB: Na, was haens sie g'kat? (How did you have it?)
MB: "Ehr rahms kanna." .....dann wasser.
(Refers to special pails and then add water.)
CB: Un zukker.
MB: Der zukker durch kalt wass ish gahnga un dann
haen wer is kocht dass mer dans g'schnapps wart. (You cook the
sugar with the water and make schnapps.)
AS: Was haben sie gebrannt dann? Kartoffel oder....?
(Did you ever use potatos?)
MB: Mir haens g'kat..aber...
CB: Mit rokka, wiesht was rokk iss? (With rye; know
what rye is?)
AS: Ya, rye.
CB. Ya, rokka.
:(Discuss again rye and potatos.)
AS: Wie haen bier g'macht? (We made beer.)
CB: Malt. So quartz...
AS: In cans, in bottles...?
CB: Cans, quart kanna. Dass kann mer yetz noch kahffa.
AS: Do you know of any stories that your parents
told you. Children's stories? Fairy tales and things like that.
CB: No, net ich waess. Nope. Zu klaen ....
MB: (Some comment about the radio.)
AS: I was interested in the dances and how they
MB: Int schtalla abschaeber. (In the barn haylofts.)
CB: Schtall up staes, in the grainery. (In the barn
AS: Vom tanzen.
CB: Well, fried yora, war kaena electrician. Nu
habt mer missd die gas lampa fanga un an hanega... (Without electicity
in the early years we had to find lamps and hang them up.
MB: Laterna. (Lanterns.)
CB: Laterna waren und dann waren die gas lamps mit
den _____dran. Un so lang we die hell waren ... _______waren dann
aus. Un han mer missa halt an manga aber er fried war so .....im
haus und im schtalla boda oder in der grainery. Un dann da war
kae limit dass mer had kenna uff hoera ..gans bis morgens. Un
dann .........aus melka gehen. (We had lamps which we lit and
hung up. When they were out of fuel they went out. Then, of course,
one had to relight them. .....in the house, in the barn and on
the grainery floor. We didn't quite until morning. Then we had
to go milking.)
AS: Koennten die kinder au to dancen, im schtall?
(Could the little children also come and dance?)
AS: Kinder auch?
CB: (Further mixed discussion reaches the consensus
that the little ones and the older people did not go to the dances.)
AS: Who played the music?
CB: Well dess wohr verschiedniche musikan. (A variety
MB: (Discussion: sometimes they were satisfied to
have only a 'mouth organ.')
AS: Waren sie volka tanza, Amerikanischa?
CB: Dietsch...oder die fiddle. Die geige.
AS: Was sagen sie zu welschkorn?
AS: Dass sagen die Krasnache? Your people say, "opschoi."
AS: Are there any other words like that?
MB: Well, manche sag'n "bukerrutsch."
Manche sag'n "welschkorn."
AS: Ihr sag'n "opschoi."
CB: "Opschoi" sag'n wira.
AS: Are there any other words that are different
than your German then...?" Like you said, "geige"
you said, "geig."
MB: Well, wir sag'n ...........
AS: Violin, fiddle?
CB: Well ish na fiddle, English.
AS: Ich wollte fragen, wie alt sind sie dann? (How
old are you?)
CB: Mir? Ich bin dreinsiebsich. Sie iss aen un siebsich.
(I'm 73. She is 71.)
AS: They always ask me how old they are.
CB: Ya, well...
AS: They could be anywhere from the fifties to the
CB: Ya, so alt waren wir nich. (We aren't that old.)
AS: (Long monologue about women in a nursing home
who were 93 and 94.)