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Interview with Theodosia Mehrer (TM)

Conducted by Allen L. Spiker (AS)
14 July 1979, Jamestown, North Dakota

Transcription by Matthew Miller
Transcription, Translation and general editing by Pr. Marvin L. Hartmann, June 1, 2006.


Note to readers: The dialect words and sentences have been spelled phonetically. That is, no effort was made to spell words in the common German spelling. Neither did we capitalize the nouns. The original purpose of the Spiker interview was to discover similarities and differences in the pronunciation of dialect words. Hence it is very important to note the spelling. Since it was not possible to insert umlauts to assist in pronunciation, we often combined two vowels or other letters. Repeatedly it has been asserted in this interview that it was about the Katchubish dialect, however, it is clear that the distinctions among the various dialects by 1979 were not as clear as they might have been 50 years earlier. We do not claim to be consistent in the application of spelling rules nor in the accuracy of how we heard the voices on the tape.


AS: My name is Allen Spiker. Today’s date is July 14th, 1979. We’re at the Jamestown German-Russian Historical Society and Convention. And I’m speaking with…do you say Theodosia Mehrer?

TM: Theodosia.

AS: Theodosia Mehrer, okay.

TM: Yes. I am Theodosia Schultz Mehrer. I live at Mott, North Dakota now. My parents lived at New Leipzig for many years. And there, my grandfather lived with them until he died at the age of 89 years. Now when he was 86 he dictated some songs to me. But first we want to go back to his origin.

AS: Yes.

TM: He, grandfather Simon Schultz, came from Kulm in Bessarabia, South Russia to South Dakota in, about the year 1876. And about 1900, they moved to Kulm, North Dakota and there I was born. And at the age of six weeks, my parents moved to the area, which was then not established, you know, Elgin, North Dakota. They had a farm north of there on the Hart River and later, when I started high school, we moved to New Leipzig, which is mostly Germans from Russia.

AS: And you said you’re Kachuba, from back over there.

TM: Yeah, our language was the Kasheebish dialect…

AS: Okay.

TM: …which was spoken in Kulm.

AS: Kulm, right?

TM: Kulm in Russia, and also many people of that dialect lived at Kulm, North Dakota. Now grandfather was…he used to sing to us, he had a deep, strong voice. And even at the, in the age of, at the age of 86, he could still sing. So, I like these two songs that he used to sing to us, and so, I asked him to dictate them to me. And this is what he did. The one of them is about birds. It is called, “Der Vogel Gesang.”
[Singing]
Ach Schwester wie du sicher, auf einem estchen ruhst, mit deinem Manne schertzet, auf allen baumyens lied.

Der greener abend lach dies, wohl hier auf dieser flure, und alles schlief ein vae fuhr, durch reiselt die natur.

Ich sass im nest un deckte. mit unschuldsfuller ruhe, mit mitterlichen fliegeln, die nacht den jungen zu.

Mein maennchenschen sass mir nei, auf einem baum un sang, sein abend leid durch raushde, durich allen baumens klang.

Da platzlich untern baume. Ein flintenschuss geschah, und ich mein armes maennchen, von bleiget troffen sah.

Er schaut nach einmal zertlich, hinauf auf mich zurick, fiel dann von zweig zu zweige, hinnach sein scharrer blick.

Oh maensschen ihr barbaren, und moerder das seit ihr. Was tat euch dann so leide? Das arme, gute tier.

Nun vill ich hinaus ziehen, in all die veite welt, in viestern will ich flien, wohs keine maennschen sind..

(Translation: Oh, sister (bird), how securely you rested with your husband in a little ash tree and your song rang through

the foliage. The green evening spread over the meadow and all nature was quietly falling asleep. I sat on the nest in

peaceful rest and covered the little ones with my wings. My dear husband perched near me in a tree and his evening

song rang throughout the trees. Then suddenly under the tree there a gunshot rang out and instantly I saw my husband

was hit. He turned and gave me one more kindly look, then fell from branch to branch with expressionless eyes.

O people, you are barbarians, yes, murderers. What was it that this poor, good bird did to disappoint you so?

I'm ready to go away somewhere out in the wide world, in some deserted place where there are no more humans.

AS: Very good. One question now…When did you write this down from your grandmother? About what year would that be?

TM: That was in May, 1933.

AS: Okay. And I noticed you write German. A lot of people don’t.

TM: Well, my grandmother taught…me.

AS: Okay, I was just wondering about that.

TM: …taught me. Yes. She taught me the old script but now I don’t use that anymore.

AS: You use the Latin?

TM: I’ve kind of forgotten that.

AS: The Latin script?

TM: Yes.

AS: Because a lot of German-Russians can’t read or write German.

TM: Oh yes, they were educated. They were…

AS: Before, but I mean people born here haven’t learned any form of German.

TM: Oh, yeah. Well, I was taught by my grandmother because I lived at her house for three school years and went to school and she taught in the evenings. We had to learn German.

AS: Okay.

TM: [Laughter].

AS: Well, I was just…because I’ve seen others who’ve tried to write things in German and they’ve never been educated in the language. And that’s why I was wondering. That was very good.

TM: And I did a lot of reading all the time, so, which helped me a great deal. Now, I think I failed to say that, that these were songs that the young men used to sing when they walked up and down the streets in the evenings, as youngsters will. And they called them "Gassen Lieder," or street songs.

AS: Okay.

TM: And this is the way he explained it. Now you want me to continue with the other one?

AS: Yes, please.

TM: This is a sad one about a soldier, “Der Arme Kriegesmann.”

[Singing]
Mit jammervollen Blicken, mit tausend Saughen schwer. Lauf ich es mit meinen Krikken, die wiete Welt umher.

Gott weiss ich hab viel sehr gelitten, ich arme Kriegesmann.
Bei manche Schlacht gestrichten, geschmaekt den Pulfer Dunst.

Oft stand ich bei Sturm und bei Regen, bei dunkler finster Nacht,
Bei Blizt und bei Donnerschlaegen, ganz einsam auf der Wacht.

Oft traten wir vor den Doren, oft furchteten wir den Tod.
Oft tranken wirs aus ge_____ ____ Oft ahsen wir schimliches Brot.

Kein Arm kann ich mir ruehren, wehr nimmt sich meiner an?
Ich weiss nicht, muss ich yetzt sterben oder bin ich Morgen Tod?
Ich weiss nicht, muss ich yetzt sterben oder bin ich Morgen Tod?

(Translation: I wander the world over with my crutches,
With painfilled eyes and a thousand heavy sighs.

God only knows what I have suffered, this miserable warrior,
In many a battle with the taste of powder still on my tongue.

Many a time I stood guard through storms and rain, in darkness
And through lightning and thunderstorms, in abject loneliness.

We often stepped to the door, fearing death,
We drank out of _________ and ate mouldy bread.

I can't even move my arms, who will look after me?
I don't know, must I die today or will it be tomorrow?
I don't know, must I die today or will it be tomorrow?)

TM: Well this…

AS: Just some of..........it's going now.

TM: This is it. The difference between the Kulm and the Leipzig is mostly in the endings of the words. Like for I, you say like we (say it, Ich). the Kulm says "Ik and Ich."

AS: Over in Leipzig, near Leipzig?

TM: Yeah.

AS: Okay. Were there other differences in there?

TM: Well, why don’t you say a number of words and than we’ll see. I can’t think of any…a lot of right off.

AS: Well how would you say something like, "I was there," in the Kulm now. How was that?

TM: "Ik war doh"

AS: Okay.

TM: "Ik war dort.". Un "Ich war doe." Yeah.

AS: Okay. And how about, "What’s wrong?" in Kulm?

TM: "Vas ish los?" "Vas ish letz?"

AS: Which do you think you’d usually say?

TM: I think we’d say, "Vas ish loes?"

Woman: "Vas ish loes?"

AS: Okay. And then how about, if you’d say, "Hey look," and point out the window?

TM and Woman: "Keek a mohl."

AS: "Keek a mohl?"

Woman: You say…

TM: …the same thing.

[Laughter by All].

AS: How would you say, "Look out," you know, if I were standing out here in the parking lot, and a speeding car was coming at me?

TM: "Pahsuff or pahsamol uff."

Woman: Der fahrt dich ueber. (He'll run you over."
[Laughter by all].

AS: How would you say, "I like that?"

TM: "Ich gleich des."

AS: Okay, and…

Woman: "Ich gleich des."

AS: You’d say des?

Woman: "Des," ya.

AS: That’s in Leipzig then. Then how do you say, "I used to like that?" Just the, just the past tense. I like having…

Woman: "Ich habs amolle glicha."

TM: Yeah.

AS: And how would you say it?

TM: "Ich hops amolle glichen."

AS: And than how about, "He walks now and he walked yesterday?"

TM: "Der ist yeloafen, der loaft new." "Der ist yestern yeloafen."

AS: Okay.

Woman: Mine’s the same.

AS: All right. And then how about, "She runs now and she ran yesterday?"

TM: "Die ist yestern yerenne......

AS: And "She runs today?"

TM: "(Sie) yerennt heit."

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "I jumped now, and I jumped yesterday?"

TM: "Oh, ik hops heit.". [Laughter].

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "I jumped yesterday."

TM: "Ik bin yestern yehopst.

AS: You say "yestern?"

TM: "Yestern."

AS: How do you say devil?

TM: "Teifel."

AS: "Teifel," or do you ever say "deevel?".

TM: No. "Deifel."

AS: "Deifel." And then how about, "He sold the plow. He sold the plow."

Woman: "Der hat den flook verkoaft."

AS: Okay. That’s in Leipzig. And then how do you say it in Kulm?

TM: "Der hat den floogh verkoaft."

AS: And how do you say, "One plow, two plows?"

TM: "Floog and fleegh."

AS: "Fleeg?"

TM: For plural, "fleegh."

AS: And how do you say, "He always smokes a pipe?"

TM: "Der roacht immer die pfife."

AS: "Pfife."

Woman: Same word.

AS: Same over in New Leipzig. And how about, "God and devil," for the…just pronunciation?

TM: "Gott und Teifel."

AS: And "I hear something."

TM: "Ick hear etwas."

AS: Okay. Same....?

Woman: No. "Ich hear etwas."

AS: Oh. Okay, you’d say "Ich" than over in New Leipzig. How would you say, "No, I don’t know him?"

TM: "Nay. Ick kenn den nich."

AS: Okay. The same?

Woman: No. "Ich kenn den mensch nicht."

AS: Okay. And how would you say, "I know that he doesn’t have any money?"

TM: "Ick vase der hatt kei kay yelt."

AS: Okay. And one thing about…

TM: Instead of…you’d say "Ich," but…

Woman: "Ich," ya.

AS: Okay. Otherwise, it’d be the same. Now you said, this is the way you used to speak, or when you speak German, you speak like this, or is this…

TM: Well, there are very few Kulmish people around there so than it’s very seldom that I get a chance to speak with anyone, like that way.

AS: So what do you usually speak?

TM: And we very seldom speak German anymore, anyway. Yeah we speak a mixture of Schwaebish now.

Woman: Yeah.

TM: All, most of us just for fun. That’s the only time we speak.

AS: Okay.

Woman: Like now.

TM: Yes, and than we speak half English, half German, you know. It’s, it’s really not, not the way the older folks spoke.

AS: Well, how would you say, "Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall?"

TM: Sommer, vinter.....

AS: Spring and fall.

Woman: "Freejahr."

TM: "Freejahr und Schpaetjahr."

AS: And than how would you say, :That’s a pretty girl?"

TM: "Dets aber a schoenes maechen."

AS: Okay. How do you say "girl"?

TM: "Maechen."

AS: "Maechen." And when you talk to your grandparents, or to an adult, when you were a child, would you say "du" to them?

TM: No. "Ihr."

Woman: "Ihr."

AS: "Ihr."

TM: "Ihr."

AS: And how would you say, "One day, two days?" I’m just trying to get the plural and the singular.

TM: "Aen dach, swae dach."

AS: "Dahg?"

TM: You, you soften it a little, but…dog.

AS: Okay. And the same over in Leipzig?

Woman: No, no. We would say one, "Ei tahk....

TM: Yeah, you could just say…

Woman: "Zwei tahk, Zwei tahg."

AS: Okay. And how would you say, "One wagon, two wagons?" in Mott then. "One wagon, two wagons?"

TM: I don’t even know.

AS: Would you say "Vahgen..."

TM: "Aen vohgen."

Woman: Vohgen."

TM: "Vohgen."

AS: And two?

TM: "Zwee…"

Woman: "Vohgen."

TM: "Zwee vohgens." I, but I don’t… That’s the way we’d say it now.

AS: Okay. And how would you say…what do you call a…

TM: "Zwee vohgen, zwae vohgen."

AS: …a path, like a trail going out in the fields?

TM: I can’t think of that.

AS: Would you call it a "vaeg?" A "vaegl?" or anything like that? What do you call a street?

TM: "Schtroes."

AS: Okay. And what’s something smaller than a street?

TM: A "vaeg," I think.

AS: Okay, a "vaeg." And two would be?

TM: "Vaeg, vaeg."

AS: And how would you say, "One saw?". You’d say it the same, or different over in Leipzig? And what would you call a saw for sawing wood, "One saw, two saws?"

TM: "Ahne zoegh."

AS: Okay. And two of them would be?

TM: "Zaegh," I think.
Woman: Would we? Would it be? [Laughter.] Oh, it sounds so silly to me.

AS: I’m putting you on the spot like that. How would you say, "I saw wood?"

TM: "Ich zoegh hultz."

AS: How do you say it?

Woman: "Ich zoeg hultz."

AS: "Hultz?"

Woman: Ya.

TM: Ya.

AS: "Hultz?" And then how do you say, "I sawed…he sawed wood yesterday?"

TM: "Der hat hultz yezoght yesten. Der hat jesten hultz yezoeght."

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "One frog?" Would you say it differently over in New Leipzig?

Woman: No.

AS: Okay. And how would you say, "One frog, two frogs?"

TM: "Froesch?" Ya. "Eena...eina froesch." "Eina froesch," that would be one. And die "fresch."

AS: "Fresch?"

TM: Yeah.

Woman: And mine would be "Eine krott."

TM: Yeah, froesch. I think we would say "froesch."

AS: Okay.

TM: I think we used "krott" too.

AS: For frog?

TM: They’re both words. Yeah, because I know I’ve heard them say both.

AS: Then it’d be "Ein, ein krott?"

Woman: "Aena krott." Not.... "aine krott."

AS: Okay. And then two?

Woman: "Zwae krotten."

AS: "Krotten?" OK. And how do you say, "One horse, two horses?"

Woman: "Ae pfaert, zwae pfaerd."

TM: Yeah, that’s the way we would say it too.

AS: In Mott, you’d say the same then? And what do you call cattle or livestock?

TM: "Fiech."

AS: "Fiech?" And how do you say, "One egg, two eggs?"

TM: A what?

AS: An egg. "One egg, two eggs?"

Woman: "Ei."

TM: "Ein ei, zwae eier."

AS: And "One tomato, two tomatoes?" The same in New Leipzig?

TM: Oh, I don’t know. Yeah, we said tomato.

AS: Okay, that…if you use an English word that’s fine.

TM: Yeah, because they had no tomatoes…a lot of them.

Woman: I’ve never heard of this for a long time, but…

AS: And how about, "One potato, two potatoes?"

TM: "Aena kartoffel."

AS: Okay.

TM: We said "kartoffel."

AS: And zwei?

Woman: "Zwae kartoffeln."

TM: "Zwae kartoffel."

AS: And what do you call oats?

TM: "Hoeber."

AS: Is that it?

Woman: "Hoeber."

AS: With a "b?"

TM: Ya.

AS: "Hoeber."

TM: Ya.

AS: Okay. Some say it with a "v," and some say it with "b." That’s why I was wondering.

TM: Ya.

AS: And how do you say "Cucumber?"

Woman: "Gurken."

TM: Yeah, I think that’s what we would say too. "Gurken."

AS: Gurken? That would be a number of cucumbers than?

TM: Yeah.

AS: How would you…what would you call a pickle?

Woman: "Gurke."

TM: "Saure gurken."

AS: And how about a sweet pickle, what would you call that?

TM: "Sees. Sees."

AS: How do you say, "One beet, two beets?"

TM: "Rotrieben." That’s what we said.

AS: Is that one or more?

TM: "Rotrieb, oder rotrieben."

AS: "Rieben."

TM: Yeah, that’s more.

AS: What do you call "One carrot, two carrots?"

TM: "Jaehlerieben."

AS: And "One apple, two apples?"

TM: "Aepple."

AS: Is that one or more?

TM: "Aepple?"

Woman: "Aepple.

AS: "Aepple and aepple."

TM: Only, you would use the number than, you know, with it.

AS: Yeah, but it’s not like "ahpfel, aepfel," or…

TM: No.

AS: And how did you say it again?

TM: "Aepple."

AS: "Aepple." Is that a "p" or a "b?"

Woman: "P."

TM: I think we used "p." I would say "p." "Aepple."

AS: And then how about, "One tree, two trees?"

TM: "Bohm" We’d say "bohm." "Ah bohm und zwae baehm."

AS: Okay. The same in New Leipzig? And then how about a garden, "One garden, two gardens?"

TM: "Ah goehrten un gaerten. Zwae gaerten."

Woman: Ya.

AS: And what would you call the part of the garden where you’d raise vines? Vine plants, cucumbers, harboosa, or watermelon?

TM: Oh, let’s see. I don’t know.

AS: "Bashtahn, or anything like that?

Woman: "Oh, bashtahn."

TM: Oh, yeah where you would grow watermelons. Out, ya that was out in the field, you see.

AS: What did you call that?

Woman: "Bashtahn."

TM: We said "bashtahn."

AS: Okay. And then how do you say, "One shirt, two shirts?"

TM: "Hemd."

AS: And zwai?

TM: "Zwae hemden."

AS: Okay. The same? And "One candle, two candles?"

Woman: Other than the English word, though, I don’t know.

TM: Candle. I don’t know.

AS: "Kiartz, kartz?"

TM: No.

Woman: "Kaertze, Kartzen."

TM: Yeah, that would be the High German though.

Woman: But than we’d…

TM: How did we say that? Gee, I can’t remember that anymore.

AS: Okay. Could you count from one to twenty in Katchubich then?

TM: Oh, yerema, I don’t know. Ains, zwae, drei, fier, finf, sex, seeben, acht, nein, zehn.

AS: To twenty.

TM: Ehlf, zwoelf, dreizehn, fierzehn, fufzehn, sechzehn, seibzehn, achzehn, neunzehn, zwanzig.

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "One stone?"

Woman: It’s the same.

AS: Same in New Leipzig than. "One stone, two stones?"

TM: "Ae schtaen, zwae schtaener."

AS: Okay. And "The hill is high?"

TM: "Der berg iss hoch."

AS: And then two hills would be?

TM: "Die berigh sinn hoch."

AS: Is it the same as one? What’s one?

Woman: "Da berigh or da puekkel."

TM: Yeah, you just…yeah, you might…now we said "bergh," but you said "bergh" And then for more, you soften it. "Die baarigh sinn hoch."

AS: Okay. And then what did you say? The "puekkel?"

Woman: Yeah.

AS: Is that a hill too than?

Woman: It means more. It means bigger.

TM: When we said higel, that meant a pointed, rugged hills.

AS: Okay. So there was a difference with them. How, what would you say for mountain?

TM: Let’s see.

Woman: We didn’t get that…

TM: "Die grosse bergh."

AS: Okay.

TM: "Geberigh, geberigh."

AS: Was mountains?

TM: That was…yeah. That was, but, around here, of course, we didn’t use that, you know.

AS: Yeah. It’s a long way to any mountain. How would you say, "The cemetery is behind the church?"

Woman: "The kirich hof.....iss hinter dah kirich."

AS: Kirich?

Woman: "Kirich."

AS: "Kirich?"

TM: "Krich." Ya, we would say that too.

AS: And how do you say, "One ladder, two ladders?"

TM: "Littr."

AS: Same in New Leipzig, than? Littr?

Woman: The way you say New Leipzig. [Laughter.]

AS: Pardon.

TM: "Leipzig."

Woman: The way you say "New Leipzig."

TM: Well, "Leipzigs."

AS: How do you say it, how do you pronounce it?

Woman: What?

TM: New Leipzig.

AS: New Leipzig?

TM: That is not really New Leipzig; this is Leipzig from the old country, the dialect they used.

AS: Okay. And then how would you say, "One cradle, two cradles," that you rock a baby in?

Woman: "Vieg."

TM: Yeah.

Woman: "Aine vieg und der zwai viegen."

TM: Yeah.

AS: The same in Mott too then? And then how do you…what do you call "One fly, two flies?" Insects.

TM: "Anna fleeg un zwae fleegen."

AS: Okay. And what do you call a coffin?

Man: "Zaargh."

Woman: Hi.

TM: Yeah, "Ein saarich."

AS: That’s in Kachubitch now.

TM: We say softer than he said it.

AS: And how do you say it?

TM: "Saarich."

AS: "Sarrich." And you say "Zarrik?"

Man: "Sarrik," yeah the same.

AS: Just a little harder on it. And then how would you call two of them?

TM: "Die saaerich."

AS: And than how do you say burial and funeral?

TM: Oh begroben."

AS: And how about the funeral service?

TM: Oh, "die leich."

AS: "Leich?"

TM: "Leich."

AS: There’s no "t" at the end, "leicht?" Or just "leich."

TM: No, no, just "leich."

AS: Now was that funeral service or…

TM: "Eine leich," that means funeral service.

AS: And what’s the body called?

TM: I don’t know.

AS: Some people have different. Say, a "leicht" was the funeral, and "die leich" was the corpse, the body. That’s what I was just wondering. See I’m not familiar with Kachubish, that’s why I have to ask that.

TM: And I’d, well, and we’d forgotten, or never knew some of it.

AS: And how do you say, "One chair, two chairs?"

TM: "Ae schtul un mehr schteel."

AS: And than how do you say, "He sits in the chair all day?"

TM: "Der sitzt uffen schtul den ganzen dach."

AS: Okay. And do you ever use hoaken? Hoaken?

TM: "Der hoakt. Der hoakt uffen stuhl. Yeah, the old folks used to say it.

AS: Does that have any…

TM: Yeah, they used, they used "hoakt" and they used "sitzt."

AS: Was there a difference in meaning?

TM: Oh, I don’t know. I think it was used interchangeably.

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "I want to drink a cup of coffee with cream and sugar."

TM: "Ik vill anne tass kahffee mit rahm und zukker."

AS: Okay. And then "drink?"

TM: "Trink."

AS: How would you say "drink?"

Woman: "Trink."

AS: "Trink?"

TM: "Ik trink."

AS: Okay. And then how do you say a cup? For a cup, you call it a what?

Woman: "Tass."

TM: "Tass".

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "One haystack, two haystacks?"

TM: "Schober."

AS: And zwei?

TM: "Schaeber."

AS: Schaeber.

TM: Yeah.

AS: Same in New Leipzig. And than "One house, two houses?"

TM: "Ah hause, swae heiser."

AS: Okay. And what would you call a small house. If you don’t say klein, could you say anything like…

Woman: "Klain haus."

TM: No, "Klaines haus oder heisle."

AS: "Heisle," okay.

TM: "Wir hat ah heisle." [Laughter.]

AS: And than how do you say, "We eat meat for supper every day?"

TM: "Wir essen flaesch alle obend."

AS: You say "flaisch?"

TM: Yeah.

AS: And "That smells good."

Woman: "Reecht gut."

TM: Yeah, "Det reecht gut."

AS: And "That tastes good?"

TM: "Det schmaekt aber gut."

AS: Okay. It’s interesting because the Schwaben say that smells good, "that schmuckt gut."

Man: Right.

AS: There’s no difference.

TM: Yeah, that means smell and to us it’s taste.

AS: Yeah. So there’s a difference.

TM: We are so…we say "reecht" for smell.

AS: And how about…what do you call "fog," down in the river valleys and that, in the early morning.

TM: Oh.

Man: "Naebl."

AS: Okay. You say "naebl."

Woman: "Naebl," yeah.

TM: "Naebl," yeah. I couldn’t remember.

AS: Do you say "b" or "v?"

TM: "B, naebl."

AS: And in Kulm you say?

Man: That.

AS: But is it a "b" or a "v?" "Naebl or naevl."

Man: Oh, a "b," yeah.

AS: "Naebl".

TM: Yeah, "naebl."

AS: And you say "b' too.

TM: Yes.

AS: And than how do you say, "I wash clothes?"

TM: "Ik wasch die klaeder."

AS: "Klaeder?"

TM: "Klaeder?"

AS: The same in New Leipzig. And then "She sweeps the floor with a broom?"

TM: "Die faecht aus mit dem baesen."

AS: You say "faecht?"

TM: Yeah.

AS: "Faecht."

TM: "Faecht aus."

AS: And "I’m going home now?"

TM: "Ik gehe noo zu haus."

AS: There’s just a…

Woman: "Ich gehe zu haus."

AS: There’s a, there’s a couple more here that I’d like to ask.

TM: "Oh, ich gehe nu zu haus." [Laughter.]

AS: There’s just a…I’m not asking all the others, so this will go fast. How do you say, "One foot, two feet?" Just…

TM: "Ae foos, zwae feece."

AS: Okay and then how far when I…if I would call you on the phone and say, "Ich hab mein foos gebrocha," how high could that be? I would say, "Ich hab mein foos gebrocha?"

TM: You mean how high would that be then?

AS: Yeah, what…would that be only to the ankle, to the…could it be up to the knee, or could it be all the way up to my hip?

TM: No I think, that to me, that would mean only the foot to the ankle.

AS: What would you think?

Man: Yeah, that’s foos.

AS: Okay. How do you say…

TM: Because, this would, this would be something else.

AS: What do you call the heel of your foot?

TM: We would say.....

Woman: "Hack ack."

AS: Okay.

Man: "Absatz," did you say?

AS: No of the foot, of the foot.

Man: The heel of the foot we’d call "Absatz."

AS: Aupsatz or…

Woman: No, "Absatz."

TM: Yeah, that’s the heel on the shoe.

Woman: That’s Schwaibish.

AS: "Faershda," or something like that?

TM: No.

AS: I’ve got a, if you don’t mind, I’ve got maybe twenty words left, so. Just if there’s any difference. What do you call your…

Woman: I’ve got to be somewhere else.

AS: Okay. It’ll be just a couple of minutes, so it won’t hold you up so long then. How about ankle?

TM: Oh my goodness, I can’t even think. I can’t think of that word.

AS: Okay.

TM: I can’t think of that word.

AS: Well how about, "One hand, two hands?"

TM: "Aena hant, zwae haent."

AS: "Wrist?"

[Pause.]

Woman: I can’t think of that.

AS: Okay. Okay, to tell you the truth, I’ve never found the word here in North Dakota, among the Germans, for wrist or ankle.

TM: Is that right?

AS: A lot of German dialects don’t have words, because for them, it’s "hond" and "arem," and it’s "foos," and they may say "vad" or something like that.

TM: Ya, ya.

AS: They don’t have anything because foos went up beyond the ankle, and hond went beyond the wrist. And that’s common in Germany too.

Woman: Oh yeah, that’s true.

TM: And, and this is, like you said, "vadeh." We’d say "vod." They say "vod."

AS: Okay. You have a little bit different. Okay, and mine say "schenkel, dess ish fliesch, or something like that.

TM: But no ankle. Yeah.

AS: Yeah, a lot of German dialects don’t have it either.

TM: Oh, is that right. See we weren’t so ignorant after all. [Laughter.]

AS: That’s what my program was all about. Trying to tell people that there’s nothing unusual about your language. How do you say mouth, for a person.

TM: "Maul." We say "Maul."

AS: And how about an animal, like a cow or something, or a dog.

TM: I think we said "Maul."

Man: No, "Gosch un fress."

Woman: "Fressen."

AS: Okay. Was there a difference between a "gosch" and a "fress?"

Man: Not too much, no. A "fress" was a little bit more vulgar.

AS: Okay.

TM: Yeah, well I think we said "maul," but then if you talked about eating, than you’d say "fressen" for an animal and the person, "essen."

AS: Or how about if you were fighting with your brothers or sisters, and you said, "Shut up." What would you say then?

TM and Man: "Halt fress."

Man: Yeah.

TM: Oh. No, I can’t remember that we said it, we heard it too, but I don’t…we said, I think we said usually, "Halts maul!" maul.

AS: Okay.

TM: "Halt dei maul."

AS: That’s a little better then. How about "One lip, two lips."

TM: "Lip und lippen."

Woman: That was the "lip," ya.

AS: Okay. And then chin.

TM: "Kuehn."

AS: Okay. But you’d say…for chin?

Man: "Kaeh."

AS: "Kaeh" Oh, you don’t, you don’t say "bart?"

Man: No.

AS: All right, and how about "forehead?"

Woman: "Forekop."

TM: Yeah, "forekop."

AS: "Forekopf? You wouldn’t say "shtearn" or "shtaern?"

Woman: No, we didn’t.

TM: "Shteirn."

AS: But, you’d say "shtaerne?

TM: Die "shteirn." Yeah, I think we said "shteirn." The "shteirn, mein shteirn."

Woman: No, "forekopf."

AS: And in New Leipzig you said, "forekopf."

Man: In New Leipzig, they say it "haern."

TM: Yeah, but that’s mean the whole head.

AS: Inside, right?

TM: But, no, we said shtirn. Not shtern, shtern.

AS: Shtirn?

TM: Yeah.

AS: What do you call a star then?

TM: "Staern."

AS: So there is a difference?

TM: That’s "ir" and that’s "er."

AS: But you’d say…what would you say now?

Man: For…

AS: Forehead.

Man: Yeah, we would say shtern. Oh for the "hirn," mainly. We usually did. Ya.

AS: "Shtern," for the forehead?

Man: No a "hirn." I don’t known about shtern, too much.

AS: Okay.

TM: But you see, the difference was, they said, use "e." And we say "i," "shtirn." We said, for this.

AS: Okay. And how do you say….what would you call a bald spot on a man’s head?

Woman: "Kahlkopf."

Man: "Kahl," ya.

AS: And you’d say…

TM: We’d say "koh."

AS: "Kohl?

TM: And you’d say "kohl." "Kohlkopf," bald head, "kohlkopf."

AS: Okay, and what do you call a moustache?

Woman: "Schnautzer."

AS: Okay.

TM: Yeah.

AS: And in Mott, you’d say the same too?

TM: Yes.

AS: And then a "beard?"

TM: "Bart."

Woman: "Bart," we used to say that.

AS: Okay. And you said for animals, you said…okay, how do you say "I eat," meaning you, for yourself? For a person.

TM: "Ik ess."

AS: Okay. Did you ever say anthing like ick…

Woman: Well I would be, "Ich ess."

AS: Okay. Did you ever say anything like, "Ich ade?"

TM: "Ich hoab gegessen." We’d say, I have eaten.

AS: "Ich hoab? Ich hoab."

TM: "Ich hoab gegessen."

AS: Okay. And then animals, you said, you said…

TM: "Fressen."

AS: Okay. And how about "I drink," and "An animal drinks."

Woman: They "saufft."

TM: "Ich trink. Ich trink."

Woman: They "sauf."

TM: Yeah, the animals, we’d say "saufen."

Woman: "Saufen."

TM: "Saufen wasser oder…oh, trinken," we say, we’d say, I think we’d say "trinken."

Woman: No more.

TM: "Saufen."

Woman: We said "saufen."

AS: Okay. And how do you say…

TM: It depended on the size of the animal, I think.

AS: Okay. How do you say "in-laws?"

TM: Oh, "schweeger. Sweegerleit."

AS: Okay. And "father-in-law, mother-in-law?"

TM: "Schweegermutter and schweegervatter."

AS: And the "son-in-law."

Man: "Tochtermann."

TM: Yeah, that’s right. "Dochtermann."

AS: You say a "d," don’t you?

Man: "D," yeah.

AS: Okay. And what do you say?

TM: And we say "dochter." Yeah, we’d say "dochtermann."

AS: With a "d?" And then two would be, "dochter…?"

TM: "Maenner. Dochtermaenner."

AS: And then a daughter-in-law would be?

TM: Daughter-in-law? Let’s see, oh, let’s see now. I don’t even remember.

AS: Well if it’s "dochtermann," would it be…

Woman: "Dochtermann?"

AS: "Saensfrau, sonnsfrau?"

Man: You know I…they just never said it. It was never…

AS: So then it’s just the son-in-law.

TM: I don’t know, maybe. [Laughter.]

AS: Yeah, you’d pray for a son-in-law.

TM: I don’t remember.

Man: I’d like that. What I’m trying to say is that I think they weren’t.

Woman: "Schweeger, schweeger…"

TM: "Schweegersonn and schweegerdochter." I think that could be.

AS: But a "schweegersohn is…then dochtermann." Which was the one you use? "Dochtermann, or…"

TM: "Schweegersonn, schweegersohn."

Woman: No, "schweegersohn."

AS: Okay. And then how about "brother-in-law and sister-in-law?"

TM: Well, is that "schweeger, schweeger?"

AS: Did you say "schwager" and…

Woman: "Schwoeger."

TM: "Schwoeger and schwaegerin."

AS: Okay.

TM: Yeah, yeah.

AS: And how do you say "uncle? One uncle, two uncles?"

TM: "Oonkle." We said "oonkle."

Man: And also "fetter."

AS: Okay. And you’d say "fetter?" Would you ever say "fetter" among the Kachubish?

TM: No. We didn’t.

Man: We spread it. Some of them were Christian "fetter" and the other ones were Christian "vetter."

AS: Was there any difference?

Man: No. But for some names we used one, and for the other one, I don’t know why.

TM: There’s no reason. [Laughter.]

AS: And how’s "one aunt, two aunts?"

Woman: "Tante."

TM: Yeah.

Man: Or "baesele."

TM: We said…

AS: "Baesele." Is that one?

Man: That was an aunt, yeah.

AS: And what’s two then?

Man: I remember tante from another language.

Woman: What was an aunt? What did you call them?

TM: "Baesele."

Man: "Baesele."

Woman: I’ve never heard that though.

TM: Yeah. I didn’t…

AS: Did you ever, did you ever call one a "bahs," or was it "basele?"

Man: No. We never did.

TM: "Tantebahs." Some people…

AS: Okay. And then what would you call a "godfather?"

TM: What?

AS: Godfather and godmother.

Woman: Oh, jimminy, we didn’t practice that. I don’t think we’d know that.

TM: I don’t remember them…

AS: Are you…your Congregationalists…you don’t have a godmother or godfather?

TM: Sponsors in English, we’d say sponsor. But I don’t remember saying anything in German. What did we…yeah, we did too, the Lutherans did. When I was baptized, my…oh, how did I remember? What were they? What did they call them?

AS: Do you think it was anything like "taufpatte" or something like that?

TM: Oh yeah, "taufpattner." Oh yeah. But that, I don’t think that…

AS: That’s not yours.

TM: See that was in, that was said in high German.

AS: Okay.

TM: Because that was with the church.

AS: Okay.

TM: So we didn’t say that any other way.

AS: So godmother neither. Okay. How do you say, "One orphan, two orphans."

TM: Let me see. Steefkinder. No, no those would be…

AS: Step-children.

TM: Yes.

Man: Are you trying to think of orphan?

AS: Yeah.

TM: Yes.

Man: "Scweegakinder."

TM: No, no, that’s not right.

Man: That’s not right? Well, I know, I know that…

AS: Anything like…

TM: Orphan? Orphan?

AS: "…weissenkinder?"

Man: Yeah, that’s right.

TM: Yeah. "Weissen, dat sind weissen." Yeah.

AS: Okay. So then one…

TM: "Weissenkinder. A weissenkind oder weissenkinder."

AS: Okay.

Woman: Yeah.

AS: And how about "One widow, two widows?"

TM: A "vittvae." That would…"Die iss eina vittvay."

Woman: "Viven or vittviven."

AS: Vittva. And two would be, vitt…

Woman: "Viber."

AS: Is that a "b" or a "v?" Vittviber.

Woman: "Viber. B."

AS: Okay. And how do you say, "One widower, two widowers?"

TM: I’m pretty sure I can hear my uncle say "Vittva. Die is eina vittva." That means one. And then more were "Vittviber."

AS: Okay. And how would you call a "widower?"

Woman: That would be "Vittman oder vittmanner."

AS: Okay. And how would you say, "Most people in town are Germans."

TM: "Die meesta leid in der stadt sind Deutsch."

AS: And how do you say most? Die…

TM: "Meesta."

AS: "Meesta?" Would you say that in New…"meesta." And then two left. How do you say, "They been married for twenty-five years."

TM: "Sie sind schone ferheirat fer zwanzigh yore."

AS: Okay, "finfunzwanzigh yore."

TM: "Finfunzwanzig yore."

AS: And "They’re divorced."

TM: "Oh, die sinn yescheeden."

AS: Okay. That’s it, see it’s…

TM: And I have to say it since she left, so…[Laughter.]

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