The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Going Dutch

July 3, 2014

Our Waliant Wets - Part 1

— KIDS WILL POUNCE ON ANY CHANCE TO POKE FUN AT THEIR parents, but kids of parents who speak Pennsylvania Dutch have so much ammunition to use against their elders, it’s almost unfair. Charlie Fisher is a well known business owner in Lewisburg, Union County, who grew up with a “Dutchified” father.

He recalled, with a wickedly humorous glint in his eyes, how he’d tease his dad, especially during the Veterans’ Day Parade, where the vets, apparently, marched at the rear of the parade formation. “He’d say, ‘When the wets come, the parade’s over,’” Charlie said, adding quickly, “And then I’d say, ‘What’d you say, Poppy?’ “Oh, he’d get mad,” Charlie said, shoulders shaking in laughter.

Why the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect pronounces v’s like w’s, I don’t know, but it does make for some deliciously amusing expressions. Even the “Pennsylwania Dutch” label itself can arouse some grins, and if you talk long enough about having a potluck dinner in the “picnic pawilion,” you’ll have a hard time holding back the laughter.


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