The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 21, 2013

Sprecken Like the Locals

Part 1

By Cindy O. Herman
For The Daily Item

— In the Pennsylvania Dutch way of speaking, things make. Growing up in the coal regions of Northumberland County, when we saw gray clouds rolling in we said, “Uh-oh, looks like rain.” When we moved across the Susquehanna River into Union and Snyder County areas, however, our new “Dutchified” neighbors scanned the sky and said, “Oh, it’s going to make.”

On the other hand, I’ve heard men laughing, say, at a buddy going home to his angry wife, where there was sure to be a heated argument. Nobody would say, “There’s sure to be a heated argument.” No, what they would say, grinning and shaking their heads is, “Oy, it’s gonna make.”

Making matters even more complicated, a man recently told me that he grew up hearing the expression “making dumbness,” which is when you make a stupid mistake. “That’s great,” I said. “I never heard of making dumb. Maybe I can use it in my article.”

“The phrase is ‘making dumbness,’ not ‘making dumb,’ ” he said. “You see, if you mess up like that you’re making dumbness.” My dander was up in an instant, and it’s a good thing he’s bigger than me and I’m a coward, or things would have really made.

The nerve of some people!