An obscure dialect called Texas-German is about to disappear.
It was easy for Dorothy Schneider to get in touch with her European roots growing up in the tiny farming community of Galle, Texas, in the 1930s and 1940s.
“There was German spoken everywhere,” the now 75-year-old said recently. “It was our first language in my family. You could speak it at the church, at the butcher shop, all over the place.”
Today, though she doesn’t live far from her girlhood community, it is almost impossible for Schneider to find people who will speak her native tongue with her. She knows it is dying, and she can’t do anything about it.
“It’s terrible, but I just have to accept this,” she said.
As the obscure dialect of Texas German nears extinction, an entire culture and way of life that deeply shaped Texas is about to disappear.
A century ago, more than 100,000 people in a large swathe of south central Texas spoke the dialect. To the uninitiated, it sounds like a strange mishmash of English and German.
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My grandparents on my mother’s side spoke German quite often in their house, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Texas-German however as they came from Missouri and moved to Texas when my grandfather’s job with the VA caused him to come to Waco.