Mittwoch, 26. September 2012

Wilkum: Why not say that here?


By JACK BRUBAKER, The Scribbler (New Era)
Several years ago, a group of Pennsylvania Dutch enthusiasts suggested that towns and townships in the Cocalico Valley begin posting bilingual signs on roads and at other places.
One of those signs might designate Hans Jakob's Orchard also as Hansyaricks Baamgaard, the Pennsylvania German equivalent.
Hans Jakob's Orchard is on Texter Mountain, not far from Lancaster County's high point in the nearby meadow featured in the Sept. 21 Scribbler column.
The bilingual sign idea never moved forward here (except in West Earl Township, which already had marked several roads with bilingual signs before the German-Pennsylvanian Society suggested a more general application).
But now comes news that Kutztown, Berks County, has leapt in front of Lancaster by erecting the first "Wilkum" signs in Pennsylvania at entrances to that town.
The "Wilkum Zu Kutzeschtettel" signs are part of larger signposts "welcoming" visitors in English.
Kutzeschtettel added its Pennsylvania Dutch designation after much lobbying by several members of the German-Pennsylvanian Society, including Frank Kessler, of Brussels, Belgium.
"We hope that other townships in Pennsylvania will soon follow this encouraging example," Frank writes to this column.
Well, why not?
For decades, visitors to the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau on Greenfield Road passed a sign held up by two giant fiberglass Amish figures.
"Wilkum," the sign said.
Let's bring it back.
Bilingual road signs may be too controversial or too expensive, or whatever, but why not place "Wilkum" signs at major entrances to the county?
Everyone understands what "Wilkum" means.
It means Lancastrians are friendly.
It also means that Lancaster County's heritage is different from the heritage of Hanover, N.H., or Danville, Va.
It means that some bilingual people who live here speak both English and Pennsylvania Dutch, just as some speak both English and Spanish or both English and Vietnamese.
But the "Dutch" were here first and that tradition deserves recognition.
If Kutzeschtettel can do it, why can't we?

Read more:

Sonntag, 3. Juni 2012

What of the German voter bloc?

All we hear about in the elections discussion these days is the Hispanic vote. What about all of the other ethnic groups in this country? Do we not matter? Are our votes not important?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Germans in America, whether Pennsylvania German or German-American, are not quite as polarized as some other communities are. The Amish vote in Ohio did make a difference in the 2004 elections. There are many other ethnicities in the US that must not be ignored. It is time for the rest of us to demand the same attention that the Hispanics are constantly getting from politicians and the news media.

Otherwise, why should we continue to buy into what is left of the US as a nation?

Sonntag, 12. Februar 2012

Deitsch District in Lancaster County

There are already some areas in South Ephrata and in Berks, Schuylkill, and Carbon Counties with street signs in Deitsch. Lancaster County is the tourist epicenter, but the strength of the Deitscherei is scattered among many counties, each with different characteristics and some variations in cultural markers. 

Berks, Schuylkill, and Carbon are seeing a rejuvenation in cultural identity. These places should not be left out of future plans for expansion of this cause and the revitalization of the non-sectarian Deitsch culture. The tourist centers should not be the sole areas of focus, but they are a good place to start.

Dienstag, 24. Januar 2012

Declaration of Independence - German

Let us not forget that the first time newspaper to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was Heinrich Miller's Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote on July 5, 1776. 

This is important. The Deitsch settlers, though split by their oaths of loyalty to the English King and their desire to be free, ended up being a part of this country's history from the Colonies right through the Revolution.

This means that our ancestors fought for the principles that are now being rendered asunder by the insanity and unconstitutional actions being taken both by Washington and by Harrisburg.

Deitscherei deserves better. We need to return to the true values of the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.