Berks History Center is pleased to continue offering in-person and online classes that explore the language and culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Pennsylvania Dutch is an American language that developed from the immigration of German speakers to colonial Pennsylvania. It is also referred to as Pennsylvania German to emphasize its German roots.
Enrolling in a Pennsylvania Dutch class at the Berks History Center offers a fun opportunity for students to enjoy the fellowship of other Pennsylvania Dutch enthusiasts, but more importantly, it allows an opportunity to celebrate and preserve this rich cultural heritage.
During the fall of 2023, the Berks History Center will offer both online and in-person classes, and we will offer three different course levels. All classes will be eight weeks in length. Classes cost $70 for BHC members (Individual Level Members and above) and $140 for non-members. Participants can become a BHC member by signing up online at https://www.berkshistory.org/membership/.
Our three course offerings are as follows:
Beginner Course: Our beginner’s course is perfect for students with little knowledge of the language, or for more experienced speakers who would benefit from a review. The beginner course introduces students to vocabulary, common phrases, and very basic grammar. This course also includes weekly culture lessons which provide students with a better understanding and appreciation of the people and the communities which speak Pennsylvania Dutch. This course uses a workbook, A Pennsylvania Dutch Beginner’s Guide, by Bradley Smith, which will be provided to all students prior to the start of class (in-person students will receive a printed version, online students will receive an electronic version).
Intermediate Course: Our intermediate course is ideal for graduates of the Beginner Course or for students with a basic understanding of the language. This course features less discussion of culture and entails a deeper dive into grammar and vocabulary. This eight-week course covers chapters 1-6 of the textbook Schwetz Mol Deitch by Douglas Madenford and Joshua Brown, with two weeks for practice and review. Students are required to purchase this textbook on their own, but the Berks History Center can provide links to vendors.
Advanced Course: Our advanced course builds upon its predecessor, continuing the deep dive into grammar and vocabulary, and covering chapters 7-12 of the textbook Schwetz Mol Deitch by Douglas Madenford and Joshua Brown. Similar to the intermediate level, this eight-week course will include two weeks for practice and review. Students are strongly encouraged to take the intermediate course prior to the advanced level, since the two are closely connected. Students are required to purchase this textbook on their own.
For questions or more information, please call BHC at 610-375-4375 during our hours of operation, Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.