Studying Pennsylvania Dutch

At Kutztown University, students are able to minor in Pennsylvania German studies. Pennsylvania German, the language of the Pennsylvania Dutch, is spoken by over 150,000 people and is one of the only German languages native to the United States.

The minor studies the culture in all of its manifestations:


It is the 21st century, and college students are learning Pennsylvania Dutch in a one-room, 19th-century schoolhouse at the state university in Kutztown.For the second year, there apparently has been a resurgence of interest in the mother tongue of early Germans who settled in Pennsylvania and their culture.Kutztown University offers a minor in Pennsylvania German studies, an interdisciplinary program that combines language, history, culture, art and internship offerings.The one-room schoolhouse on campus “is just the perfect place where a Pennsylvania German dialect course should be,” said Quinter, 57, a German teacher at Parkland High School in Allentown, who for the second year is teaching Pennsylvania Dutch at the university. The course has attracted about 20 students each semester.Quinter, who earned a bachelor’s degree in German language and literature at Juniata College, took German graduate courses at Muhlenberg College, Millersville University and the University of Pennsylvania and studied in Germany and Switzerland. He has taught for much of his career.He also has devoted years to manuscript transcription and translation for various groups, including the Pennsylvania German Society, Northampton County Genealogical Society, Moravian Historical Society, Pennsylvania Heritage Commission, and Historic Bethlehem.”I grew up in Nazareth” in Northampton County, “a self-contained little place at the time, where you heard the old Dutch, but it wasn’t until I went to Europe that I gained a deeper appreciation of the language and the culture,” Quinter said. “When I got into translations of letters, documents and learning about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people … well, it was like peeling off the layers of an onion, doing detective work, discovering mysteries that would have been lost and never known.

At Kutztown University, students are able to minor in Pennsylvania German studies. Pennsylvania German, the language of the Pennsylvania Dutch, is spoken by over 150,000 people and is one of the only German languages native to the United States.

The minor studies the culture in all of its manifestations:

Studying Pennsylvania Dutch