Pic­ture book teaches PA Dutch lan­guage

Mary Laub writes story ‘ On the Farm’ with pho­netic pro­nun­ci­a­tions, au­dio record­ing

The Hamburg Area Item - - Local News - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@ 21st- cen­tu­ry­media. com @ kutz­town­pa­triot, ham­bur­gitem and tri­coun­tyrecord on Twit­ter

Kutz­town area au­thor Mary Laub re­cently re­leased a pic­ture book, Uff der Bauerei, ( On the Farm) writ­ten in PA Ger­man, aka PA Dutch.

“My goal in writ­ing this book is to per­pet­u­ate the PA Dutch lan­guage. I am truly driven to do what I can to make this hap­pen,” said Laub. “I’m very con­cerned about the lan­guage not be­ing car­ried on. I am so pleased to hear that there is a resur­gence in in­ter­est in peo­ple want­ing to learn the lan­guage. I kept think­ing what can I do. I want to write a book.”

Il­lus­tra­tions, by Lester Zim­mer­man from East Earl, de­pict the story of a cat and dog liv­ing on the farm that Laub grew up on in Max­atawny Town­ship. One of 10 chil­dren, her par­ents both spoke Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch as their first lan­guage.

“For me to learn the lan­guage I need to see and to say it and read it and see it... and I just started writ­ing,” she said.

The story is writ­ten in both Eng­lish and PA Dutch, with pho­netic pro­nun­ci­a­tion. There is also an au­dio record­ing of the story in PA Dutch to help read­ers learn the lan­guage.

“I must save the lan­guage,” she said. “I am very proud to be a Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch per­son. To cling to our her­itage and our lan­guage is what I wanted to do. aub said Pa­trick Don- moyer, site co­or­di­na­tor of the Penn­syl­va­nia Ger­man Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter at Kutz­town Uni­ver­sity, was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing to cre­ate the Pho­netic Spell­ing Pro­nun­ci­a­tion Guide which is lo­cated in the front of the book as a ref­er­ence for learn­ing to read the text.

“Within the lan­guage there are re­gional pro­nun­ci­a­tions and/ or ac­cents. And, the use of var­i­ous vo­cab­u­lary words and syn­onyms for words, as well as spellings of the words, can vary con­sid­er­ably,” she said. “Re­gard­less of the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch lan­guage dif­fer­ences, the im­por­tance of pass­ing along the lan­guage can­not be over­stated. The pur­pose of the book is to en­ter­tain as op­posed to fo­cus­ing on the vari­a­tions within the lan­guage.”

The paper­back pic­ture book was re­leased on Nov. 15 by the Masthof Press, Mor­gan­town. Spe­cial ac­knowl­edge­ments in the book go to Emma Burkholder for help­ing Laub learn PA Dutch.

Laub has drafts for fu­ture books to carry on the story.

Laub held book sign­ings at the Christ­mas on the Farm at the Penn­syl­va­nia Ger­man Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter at Kutz­town Uni­ver­sity on Dec. 2 and at the Kutz­town Com­mu­nity Li­brary Dec. 9. She is do­nat­ing 10 per­cent of the book sales on Dec. 9 to Kutz­town Com­mu­nity Li­brary. Laub serves on the Li­brary Board of Trus­tees.

She is a re­tired teacher of 42 years, hav­ing taught at Kutz­town School Dis­trict and Kutz­town Uni­ver­sity. Laub teaches PA Dutch at the Early Learn­ing Com­mu­nity in Max­atawny Town­ship. She is a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­acy As­so­ci­a­tion and past pres­i­dent of the Key­stone State Read­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, a statewide lit­er­acy or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Cur­rently, books are for sale, in ad­di­tion to on­line, at Wooden Bridge Dry Goods in Kutz­town, Leid Shoes & Sad­dlery in Kutz­town, Di­et­rich’s Meats in Krumsville, Al­bright’s Mill in Kemp­ton and Farmhouse Fab­rics out­side of Fleet­wood. Since the book was re­leased, more than 150 books were sold within a two- week pe­riod. There is a free au­dio on­line down­load with the pur­chase of the book or there is a CD which is sold sep­a­rately. A free book­mark is in­cluded with each pur­chase, ” on­line or­ders L ex­cluded.


Au­thor Mary Laub, of the Kutz­town area, re­leased a pic­ture book, Uff der Bauerei, ( On the Farm) writ­ten in PA Ger­man, aka PA Dutch, pub­lished by Masthof Press, Mor­gan­town, and il­lus­trated by Lester Zim­mer­man from East Earl. Pic­tured in the book is her child­hood farm in Maxtawny Town­ship.

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