Lancaster Lingo 101

September 22, 2010

With fall being such a popular time of year to visit Lancaster County, I thought a PA Dutch Lingo-Lesson would be a good idea.  No, we’re not talking about the latest dance craze!  The locals here in Lancaster County have a distinct dialect, much like other regions of the U.S. such as the deep south or Louisiana’s Cajun country.  The dialect in this area is often referred to as “Dutchy” (makes sense!) . Here are a few phrases to help you along when you encounter the locals!

“When’re yous comin’ to Lancaster County, here nah?”

The phrase “here nah” doesn’t mean a whole lot, just something to dress up the end of the sentence when delivered in a melodic manner. Translation: When are you coming to Lancaster County?  “Yous” is a word that gets a lot of play here… basically it’s he equivalent to “ya’ll”.

A couple phrases found on gift shop potholders:

“Throw Father down the stairs his hat!” and “Throw the cow over the fence some hay!”. They’re good demonstrations of the difference in grammar and word order in the local dialect. Neither father nor the cow are being thrown anywhere… thank goodness!

A few restaurant phrases you may encounter:

If you ask your waitress about the steak special and she says, “I’m so sorry, it’s all.” Translation: All gone.

You’re waiting for your breakfast to arrive and you hear, “Do yous want some coffee awhile? Translation: While you wait.

And a couple more for good measure:

“Don’t forget to outen the light.” Translation: Turn out the light.

“What for chairs do you want?” Translation: What do you want those chairs for?

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Translation?  I won’ner, can you figure that one out without the translation?!

And finally, one of my personal favorites! :

“When you come over – come out, and eat yourself full.”

Translation: When you’re in the area, drop by, and fill up on the Smithton Inn’s delicious breakfasts!!