My Calisota, which is located in the north of what we know as California and largely resembles the universe seen in German-language Disney comics (Lustiges Taschenbuch), except for the absence of anthropomorphic animals and the presence of humans in turn, largely speaks German due to the German heritage of the majority of the population. Being a melting pot of cultures, Calisota will likely have a strongly americanized vernacular dialect.

My question is:

  • To what extent and how will a.) the dialect of Calisota and b.) its Standard German Language be influenced by American English and others? To what extent will it likely diverge from Standard German over the course of the existence of Calisota and Duckburg? Which non-German words and phrases are most likely to enter it?

Take into account that:

  • Calisota was first sighted by English and Spanish explorers in the late 16th century.

  • During the course of the 17th century, German settlers, mostly from Rhineland, arrived and constructed a wooden fort.

  • The city-sized colony became a medium settlement and most likely acclaimed a fairly large territory by the 19th century. There was a further influx of German settlers, but also of settlers from the eastern USA and Scotland (Scrooge McDuck). A small minority of fanatics from Deseret seeking religious freedom also moved to Duckburg.

  • Calisota most likely fought small wars with the USA and successfully prevented it from absorbing it.

  • During WWII, German Americans and Canadians, mostly from Pennsylvania and Ohio (Pennsylvania Dutch), fled to Calisota, which stayed neutral, in fear of repressions.

  • In the late 20th century, Germans still stayed the main immigrant group as the number of new settlers decreased.

  • $\begingroup$ So, you're essentially asking what would happen if an enclave speaks language A and is surrounded by/has immigration from speakers of language B? This seems more like a linguistics or possibly a history question to me. $\endgroup$
    – Patrick N
    Aug 28, 2018 at 17:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is this Kalisota an independent country? Is it a state of the United States? Why would its inhabitants speak standard German (which did not exist in the 17th century) instead of the expected Franconian? What do you mean by "Rhineland" in the 17th century? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 28, 2018 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Your mention of a mix of German and Scottish settlers more or less describes much of Appalachia today. $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2018 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia on Pennsylvania Dutch is the German spoken by persons from insular communities whose immigrant ancestors spoke German.

Adoption of English vocabulary

The people from southern Germany, eastern France and Switzerland, from whom the Pennsylvania German culture and dialect sprang, started to arrive in America in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. To a more limited extent, this is also true of a second wave of immigration in the mid-19th century, which came from the same regions, but settled more frequently in Ohio, Indiana and other parts of the Midwest. Thus, an entire industrial vocabulary relating to electricity, machinery and modern farming implements has naturally been borrowed from the English.

Numerous English words have been borrowed and adapted for use in Pennsylvania German since the first generations of Pennsylvania German habitation of southeastern Pennsylvania. Examples of English loan words that are relatively common are "bet" (Ich bet, du kannscht Deitsch schwetze = I bet you can speak Pennsylvania German), "depend" (Es dependt en wennig, waer du bischt = it depends somewhat on who you are); tschaepp for "chap" or "guy"; and tschumbe for "to jump". Today, many speakers will use Pennsylvania German words for the smaller numerals and English for larger and more complicated numbers, like $27,599.

Easier though if you are writing in English for English readers would be Pennsylvania Dutch English; an English cake with German icing. There are great turns of phrase which are easy to understand for English speakers but clearly influenced from German.

Make wet? = Is it going to rain? Outen the lights. = Turn off the lights. The candy is all. = There is no more candy. Don't eat yourself full. = Don't fill yourself up. There's cake back yet. = There is cake to come. It wonders me. = It makes me wonder.

I love "Outen"!

  • $\begingroup$ Please note that all of your examples of Pennsylvania Dutsh English are meant as a joke. Writing dialogues like that would make it actually hard to understand for Englisch and German speakers and would redicule any content. $\endgroup$
    – Elmy
    Aug 28, 2018 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ gibberish (English Spanish mix down in Gibraltar) is nigh impossible for non guvalters to understand as it is a weird amalgamation if English and Spanish $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2018 at 3:12

To what extent will it likely diverge from Standard German over the course of the existence of Calisota and Duckburg?

Very, very much! There are not many German speaking countries around because the Germans didn't have many colonies, but if you take someone from Germany and put them into Switzerland or Austria, they will not understand the local dialect unless the locals take pains to speak slowly and clearly. It's even enough to take someone from the north of Germany and someone from the south and they will not understand each other. The reasons lie in the history of Germany as an accumulation of more than 300 kingdoms and principalities, each with their own local dialect.

A real-world example is German South West Africa (nowadays Namibia), which was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1919. The local dialect resembles Low German (or Plattdeutsch), a dialect only spoken around the coast and on the islands of the north sea. The regular German tourist in Namibia doesn't understand a word.

To what extent and how will a.) the dialect of Calisota and b.) its Standard German Language be influenced by American English and others? Which non-German words and phrases are most likely to enter it?

As it is, words and names for new technologies are commonly assimilated into the German language (called Anglizismen). Every-day examples include: internet, laser, smartphone, Googeln (to google), laptop, computer, tablet [computer], streaming, fast food, disco and so on, and so forth. Here's a list of English words used in German (please note that some of them are more like slang).

A few decades ago, there was a custom of creating German names by writing English names in a typical German way (called Eindeutschungen). Examples are Telegraf, Telefon, Technik (technology), Keks (caces), Scheck (cheque), Streik (strike) and Schal (shawl). If the Calisotans wanted to make a statement how much they differ from their English speaking neighbors, they would have more such adaptations in their current dialect.

In recent years, even things that have German names are commonly substituted with English terms (called Anglizismen). Most notably are things like exit, workflow, info point, deadline, flyer, flatrate, meeting, sale. For a while, it was simply "in" to use english terms. If the Calisotans relationship with their English speaking neighbors were quite friendly, similar assimilations could have taken place.

Another notable difference is that Calisota would probably use the metric system.

  • $\begingroup$ Lookb into gibberish, an English/Spanish dialect spoken in Gibraltar and understood by neither the Diamante nor the English, even if the said English soaker can soak Spanish (abs vice versa $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2018 at 4:03

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