Hutterisch – the Mother Tongue of Hutterites

Written by: Linda Maendel on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Hutterites speak a Carintian German dialect, originating from the province of Carinthia in Austria, which we fondly call Hutterisch. This language is spoken on a daily basis. However, it’s unfortunately generously sprinkled with English words as well. Some of this cannot be altered as there are numerous things for which we have no Hutterisch word. These include, farm equipment, mechanical parts, cooking ingredients, medicines, and some kitchen utensils.

All Hutterites speak Hutterisch, although there are dialect shifts and various lilts and other interesting nuances from colony to colony. This is even more evident among the three groups, Schmiedenleut, Dariusleut and Lehrerleut; e.g. one group uses certain words that the others don’t even know. Would be interesting to know where they learned those words, given the fact that our history is the same. But, perhaps the better question would be, how did the other groups lose them?

Hutterisch is for the most part an oral language tradition. Yes, people do sometimes attempt to write it, in notes, text messages and emails. However, with no standard spelling system these can be quite challenging to read, with a confusing and often amusing mix of Hutterisch and English sounds, dialect shifts and everything in between. Still, I appreciate every attempt at Hutterisch communication in the written form and relish the challenge of deciphering them.

When I worked on my German children’s book, ‘Lindas glueklicher Tag’, (Linda’s Happy Day) a German language consultant suggested I change all dialogue to Hutterisch to make it more authentic. Initially, this sounded like such an odd concept and which I wanted no part of. One of my arguments, “Ours is not a written language,” did not change this consultant’s mind.

“Then make it a written language.” He stated nonchalantly. Easier said than done, I soon learned. In hindsight though, I do not regret this decision and both Hutterite and other German speaking people don’t have as much trouble reading it, than I initially thought. This probably opened the door to another interesting project I was a part of a few years ago.

We were approached by Dick Mueller, a Wycliffe Bible Translator/Linguist, asking if we’d be interested in translating a set of children’s Bible stories into our language. This was a long, tedious process, but worthwhile in the end – three books in this set of five are now published and available on Amazon and HB Book Centre. These books are especially enjoyed by young children, since Hutterisch is the only language they know. Each book comes with a CD.

While we were working on these books, we collected all the words in a special Wycliffe computer program and have since kept adding to the collection. This is not going anywhere fast, but we’re hoping to one day have a Hutterisch dictionary.

Jakob Hutter Denkmal beim Goldenen Dach’l

As mentioned before, Hutterisch originates from Austria, the land of our forefathers. A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country. I was grateful to visit friends and see an historical place – das Goldene Dachl, in Innsbruck, where Jakob Hutter was burned at the stake in 1526. I especially appreciated speaking my mother tongue with non-Hutterites. Of course, listening to this dialect in Austria has more High German than ours. Nonetheless, we could communicate and understand each other, which, for me was priceless!

I always find it interesting what people say about our accent when speaking English. Most often they can not figure out what it is, saying that it doesn’t sound like a German accent. Listening to Germans speak English, I’d have to agree with that assessment. When I was in Germany and introduced myself as Canadian, someone asked me, “But, why don’t you have an accent?” Of course the answer is that ours is a German dialect.

Quite frequently we hear that our accent has an Irish lilt to it. After a recent conversation, someone told me, “The sound of your voice reminded me of a couple of friends I have in Europe, Estonia to be precise.  You have a Baltic lilt to your voice.”

If you’ve ever heard a Hutterite speak, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Showing 74 comments

Eva Wright said:
On: 26th Sep, 2012 at 23:01

I would love to learn how to fluently speak the hutterisch dialect can u send me some information on how I would go about this. I have family that is of German descent and have many hutterite friends and it would be great to be able to speak with them as many have a hard time with translating certain English words and well all together it would be great to learn. But I am unable to find and books that can teach me. Can u suggest anything for me. Sincerely Eva Wright

    Max E. Stanton said:
    On: 14th Mar, 2014 at 08:52

    I have ‘stumbled across’ a little known document that might be of help to you. It was published in 1981 by the National Museums of Canada.
    It is:
    “The Bible and the Plough: The Lives of a Hutterite Minister and a Mennonite Farmer”
    by Rolf Wilh. Brednich
    National MUseum of Man, Mercury Series
    Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Study, paper No. 37
    Ottawa, 1981
    I got my copy of this paper through the “Inter-library Loan.” Most libraries in the USA and Canada can usually get a copy for you to look at. Because it is a government document, you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement if you make a photocopy. I just checked and you can get a copy of this report from AbeBooks for about US$32.00 (including shipping)

    It is a biographical sketch of the lives of a Hutterite minister and a Mennonite minister. The extremely helpful value of this publication is that after an eighteen page introduction by the editor of the paper, there in a fifteen page autobiographical transcription of the Hutterite minister (Michael S. Stahl of Riverview Colony, SK) –given in the Hutterite dialect–of his life experiences in moving to Saskatchewan and being elected minister. THEN this Huterisch dialogue is followed by the exact English translation.

    Here are the first few sentences given in a fairly accurate transcription of the Hutterite dialect (sorry, I can’t reproduce thr ‘SZ’ or the Umlauts wth this system.)
    “Zuerst muesz i dir erzaehln, wie meine Vorfahrn san i die Gma kumme. Dos Gscichtl hob i ghert von dem Prediger Samuel Waldner. Der hot mi amol frog: ‘Waszt du, wie des in die Gma san kumme? –Zog i : ‘Na”

    Then, here is the same passage as translated in he paper:
    “At first I should tell you how my forefathers joined he community. I have heard this story from the Reverend Samuel Waldner. He asked me one day, “Do you know why you are a member of this community?” “No”-I replied.
    (Note. When a Hutterite says ‘Gma”–he or she is usually referring to his or her home colony.)

    Now. As I read your entry above, you said you want to “learn how to fluently speak the Hutterish dialect.”

    My suggestion is this: Once you get a copy of Reverend Stahl’s story, take it to a Hutterite friend and have them read a few paragraphs through for you. Then, if she or he has the time, ask them if they can help you as you yourself read it through again.

    I might suggest an even more powerful method. Take along a voice recorder and have your Hutterite friend read the transcript directly into a voice recorder. hen make a recording of yourself reading the same passage.

    However, be very respectful of the fact that you always (no exceptions! ALWAYS) get their permission to work with them using a voice recorder before you even pull out the device.

    Then, maybe you might even go through a trial run–perhaps sing a song (almost all Hutterites know and love “Tirol” (Bin ein Tiroler Bub…) It is an easy song to sing and helps to’ break the ice.’ Also make it clear that they are helping you to begin to learn Hutterisch.

    Remember, don’t overwhelm them. A few paragraphs is more than enough. Then, after you have read the passage through a few times, take everything home with you and prepare to ‘Bust your Brain.” Take out an hour or so EVERY DAY and memorize word-for-word what you have recorded. Yes. Exactly what Reverens Stahl said–as read by your Hutterite friend. (Teenagers tend to be enthusiastic helpred and will often have a bit more spare time to help you with the project. And if you want to really have fun, practice reciting your memorized dialogue with ten year olds. They will laugh and tease you, but not to embarrass you–they just will love to hear an “Outsider” attempt to speak something that is near and dear to themselves.)

    This is what it takes to learn the language.

    I was a Mormon missionary in Germany in the early 1960s and I had to MEMORIZE 178 pages of dialogue–in German– in the first four months I was there. If I couldn’t do it, I knew I would have to be sent to the United Kingdom to finish off my (then) two-and-a-half years of missionary service. It wasn’t enough to just memorize the dialogue. We had to know it so well hat it sounded as if it was sincerely coming straight from our heart. In the two-and-a-half years I was there in the Rurhgebiet, only three or four of the total of 250 missionaries I was serving with were eventually “sent to England.”

    One Hundred seventy-eight pages!!!

    But, the magic of this process was that in virtually every context when we were speaking in every-day matters with the Germans, if we had a problem with the vocabulary or grammar– the correct answer would pop into our minds as if falling out of the sky. It would be there drawn directly from your memorized dialogue. (My wife teaches English as a second language, and she refers to this process as “Pattern dialogue.” If you have correctly memorized a specific dialogue, hen when you encounter a similar situation, the words seem to fall into place “out of nowhere,” It really works!

    We all (missionaries) felt that we had really succeeded in learning the language –somewhere after about a year in the country–when the Germans no longer congratulated us on how well we spoke German. They couldn’t hear the difference between the way we spoke and the way any other random person would speak the language.

    If you really want to learn to speak Hutterisch, you have to pay the “sweat equity.”

    When you finally memorize your first two or three paragraphs–go back for the next “dose” and keep it up until you can tell Reverend Stahl’s whole story as comfortable and flawlessly as if i were your own–with the same comfortable fluency is as if you were saying it in English.

    The only other way I can think of to become comfortable fluent in Huttrisch is to use the method of “total immersion” developed by McGill University in Montreal. Take out fourteen weeks (three and a half months) and live in a colony and allow yourself to speak or hear English for no more than thirty minutes a day. (Allow yourself a ten day initial “grace” period to sink into total immersion.)

Linda said:
On: 26th Sep, 2012 at 23:38

There are no books to help you learn Hutterisch, Eva. Like I said, it’s mostly an oral language, and we learn it by growing up surrounded with it. So, I don’t really know what to suggest, except, have your Hutterite friends teach you when you visit. Not sure how well that would work…

    Eva Wright said:
    On: 27th Sep, 2012 at 23:56

    Tthankyou and yes I will have them help me. Im catching some phrases as the speak to exchanger. I just think it would be great to converse in their tongue

    Johan said:
    On: 28th Sep, 2012 at 13:31

    Linda there is a good collection of Huttrischa word and phrases by a prairie mensch by the name of Walter Hoover.

    Hoover, Walter B. The Hutterian Language = Di Hutrisha Shproch : An Introduction to the Language of the Hutterites of North America with a Special Emphasis Upon the Language and History of the Hutterian “Prairie People” at Langham, Saskatchewan, Canada : A Grammar and Lexicon. Saskatoon, Sask.: W.B. Hoover, 1997.

      Eva Wright said:
      On: 28th Sep, 2012 at 17:01

      Boh thankyou Johan I appreciate the resource I’ll look it up 🙂

Linda said:
On: 29th Sep, 2012 at 01:15

I have this book, Johan…actually there are two, but I don’t see that they would help a whole lot in learning to speak the language. (Although, I do find the books interesting, as a Hutterisch speaker.) Like any language you want to learn, it’s best to hear it spoken and speak it with people who know it well. A dictionary is simply a tool on that journey.

thomas swatek said:
On: 10th Oct, 2012 at 21:38


how, does it work?

is everbody in your comunity able to read german?
or is it “just” the german of the 16th century?
is there any posibility of hearing the hutterisch language somewhere in the net?

please excuse my poor englisch i am austrian

wie funktioniert das?
Spricht jeder in Ihrer Gemeinschaft Deutsch?
Oder “nur” das Deutsch aus dem 16ten Jahrhundert?
Gibt es irgend eine Möglichkeit Ihre Sprache im Internet zu hören (ich würde gerne versuchen ob ich es verstehen kann)

Beste Grüße aus Österreich

    Max E. Stanton said:
    On: 14th Mar, 2014 at 09:59

    Ich kann Deutsch, aber mein “Computer Keyboard” schreibt nur nach dem englicshen Art. Deswegen werde ich auf Englisch reden.

    The Hutterites speak three languages. Their native, household language is Hutterisch. This dialect is very close to the Tirolean and Karinten dialects heard in Innsbruck and Klagenfurt. They have picked up some Hungarian and Russian words in their 500 year journey across Europe. Their “Hutterisch” is such a dominant part of their lives that the accent comes out even when they speak in either English or (usually int heir church sermons), Hochdeutsch.

    Their High German is heavily influenced by their 400 plus sermons all written 300 years or more ago. They sermons have been heavily influenced by the Swiss Frocshauerbibel (also known as the Zuerich Bible or Zwingli Bible) Here is a section fro Wikipedia explainging this edition of the Bible:

    “The translation of Martin Luther was used as far as it was already completed. This helped Zwingli to complete the entire translation five years before Luther. At the printing shop of Christoph Froschauer, the New Testament appeared from 1525 to 1529, and later parts of the Old Testament, with a complete translation in a single volume first printed in 1531, with an introduction by Zwingli and summaries of each chapter. This Froschauer Bible, containing more than 200 illustrations, became notable as a masterpiece of printing at the time. The translation is mainly due to Zwingli and his friend Leo Jud, pastor at the St. Peter parish.”

    I an comfortably fluent in contemporary High German–but I find that even when I am reading the handwritten Hutterite sermons, there are words and often entire phrases that I cannot understand. (And, yes, their sermons are all handwritten in the traditional German Zitterlich. The words, minimum and nimmer look like the needle of a seismograph during an earthquake.)

    However, I learned my German in the Rurhgebiet and Niedsachen. I found that when I visited Austrua and spoke to older people in Tirol they sounded to me like they had Hutterite accents and I had to repeat myself quite often.

    For example: I was looking for the place in Innsbruck where Jakob Hutter was burned at the stake. I was told to follow a certain street until I saw the “Golden Dachshund.” (Strange, I thought to myself– a Golden Dachshund? Na ja!) I couldn’t seem to find the Goldenes Dachshund. Finally, I asked a policeman ift here was a representation of a Goldenes Dachel ingendwo in die Umgebung. Er zeighte mit seinem Hand. Ach ja, sicher. Gerade da is es!

    It was a “Golden Roof” (actually a golden canopy) where the royal leaders stood and looked out over the city plaza. I said,to the policeman,” I thought I was looking for a statue of a dog. He looked at me and then began to laugh. He said ‘Mein Freund You learned your German somewhere north of Frankfurt, nicht wahr (actually, he said something that sounded like “Keld?” I said that was correct. He then explained that he understood my confusion because he had spent some time in Duesseldorf. He said: “Up there in the north, a Daechel means, a Dachshund. Here a Dechel (without an Umlaut) is a small roof or canopy. So when I heard “Das Goldene Dechel” (Roof), I had thought that they were saying “Goldenes Daechel”

    This same confusion often comes up when I speak High German with the Hutterites. For example, the Hutterites say “Vetter” when they refer to an uncle, and not in reference to a cousin.

    The only other time (outside of their church sermons) High German is commonly used by the Hutterites is in writing personal letters back and forth to each other.

    English is taught in the public school. All Hutterites have eight years of regular school instruction in English, and when they leave school at age fifteen, their English (reading, writing, and speaking) is on paar with their native English-speaking neighbors. Today, most Schmeideleut (about 40 % of all Hutterites) and a growing number of Daruisleut colonies (about 33 % of the Hutterites) now have their children complete high school (12 years) and have a high native-speaker equivalent fluency in English

Bernard Seachrist said:
On: 12th Oct, 2012 at 22:11

I was born in Almont,PA and grew up around Pennsylvania Dutch speaking relatives,
local country stores etc. My Mother and Father would speak PD at the Dinner table.
I attended the local Menonite Church, where the singing and Sermon was in German.
Years later I lived in Wiesbaden, Germany, where I met my wife of 54 years. I remained in Germany until my retirement from the German system,where I receive a small pension every month. Getting back to the point. Hutterish is almost like PD. You don’t hear to much spoken on the TV show, but a little. Now that I speak German, I can’t speak PD. I hope you get my point?
I love he show and hope they will continue to renew for many seasons.

BJay Jay B. Bigornia said:
On: 14th Oct, 2012 at 19:13

I am very interested in Hutterisch, since I already speak, read, and write German. I studied High German in High School, and honed my abilities when I was in the military stationed in Germany during the 1990’s. I now live in North Dakota and have friends in the Forest River Colony (Schmiedeleut). I am attempting to learn Hutterisch from them and hope to see some sort of book developed one day. I heard an intercom in the colony recently and it sounded like the woman said: “Megan, kum ham hiedst” (close approximation) which to me sounded like, “Kom heim jetzt” (Come home now). Of course, I’m only guessing. Vielen Dank fur diese seite. Hoffentlich kann ich Hutterisch lernen, uben, und reden. Eines tages, Ich mochte auch “Pennsylfannisch Deitsch” lernen.

    Johann said:
    On: 19th Oct, 2012 at 03:08


    You are in the best place and near a colony that could help you the most!
    Tony Waldner, the German teacher from Forest River Colony is very capable to teach you the Hutterisch language. I believe he is working in translating the Bible from German to Hutterisch language as we speak.

Christine Sachs said:
On: 14th Oct, 2012 at 19:28

I watched part of the show on television once. For a group of people the seem to dedicate their lives to our Lord Jesus Christ, I couldn’t understand why everyone was swearing, and drinking alcohol !?! The bible clearly tells us Not to do these things. Ephesians 4:29… Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers….
Colossians 3:8… But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Habakkuk 2:15… “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk,…..
1 Corinthians 6:12… Glorify God in Body and Spirit 12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Corinthians 10:21…You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.

Brad and Christine Sachs

Jay B. Bigornia said:
On: 7th Nov, 2012 at 15:30

I recently spoke with Tony Waldner from the Forest River Colony regarding the Hutterisch dialect and hope to be able to meet with him regularly as his time allows. I recently returned from my vacation in Lewistown, Montana. I was quite fortunate to visit the King Colony Ranch, located approximately 10 miles west of Lewistown. Mrs. Rita Hofer conducted my tour through the colony and answered all of my questions. She also spoke to me in both English and Hutterisch. The tour was a very special treat for me since it gave me the rare opportunity to see Hutterites from another location in the U.S and to see their operation first hand. I learned that the members of King Colony are from the Dariusleut group of Hutterites. There are two other colonies near Lewistown in central Montana. They are Spring Creek Colony and Ayers Colony. I hope to be able to visit these other colonies in the near future and make some more new friends!

    Max E. Stanton said:
    On: 14th Mar, 2014 at 07:10

    If you plan on making frequent visits to the Hutterite colonies, I would suggest you contact either Pat Murphy of the James Valley colony (not too far west of Winnipeg) or Tony Waldner of Forest River colony (about an hour west of Grand Forks, ND). Pat publishes a yearly edition of the “James Valley Hutterite Directory.” It has every colony listed with a whole bunch of names and telephone numbers. Pat’s telephone number is: (204) 353-2006 ext. 242. Tony’s telephone number is (701) 865-4294 ext. 237. (But I assume that if you have already talked with him, you already have his “number”–but I’ll add it here just in case anyone else is interested.)

    I am not sure how much a directory will cost, but as I recall I didn’t flinch when I bought a copy from Tony a few years ago. The “JV Hutterite Directory” also contains the GPS coordinates for each colony.

    Also, Reverend Nathan Wipf of Parkland colony (about an hour south of Calgary, AB) publishes an excellent atlas of all the colonies. His telephone number is (403) 646-5788 or 5773He publishes it in two parts. Part one is for the Western colonies (Dariusleut and Lehrerleut in BC, AB and SK inn Canada and MT, WA, OR and ND in the USA). The other volume is for the Eastern Colonies (Schmiedeleut and Unaffiliated) in MB, ND, SD, and MN.

    He has done a heroic effort in revising the two volumes on an approximately yearly basis. Each time a new colony is formed, he has to recalibrate the map for that specific page and it is a major time-consuming effort. His atlas also contains the telephone number of every colony boss, the GPS coordinates and a clearly written set of instructions on how to reach the colony–right to the front door of the colony kitchen!

    You mentioned the name of some Dariusleut colonies in central Montana, but in order to get to King Ranch, Spring Creek, or Ayers Ranch–from any direction, you will have passed within a fifteen minute drive off the highway to get to a half dozen other colonies in the area.

Alexandra Kinsella Waymeyer said:
On: 11th Dec, 2012 at 01:43

I am hugely fascinated by your religioin. I would love to learn more finer details if at all possibles.

judy holtsberry said:
On: 21st Jan, 2013 at 02:32

i was sorry there isnt going to be another show. i loved it. i just have one question, why would you not let outsiders into your faith. i love the way you dress. i have been making jumpers to wear, i am pennacostal so i like wearing dresses. i came to love your little group of people and would like you to have been friends. judy

Delmer Gross said:
On: 31st Aug, 2014 at 12:44

I once ordered two books on the Hutterisch language
From Mr. Hoover’s son I think. How would I contact
Him to order more?

    Linda said:
    On: 31st Aug, 2014 at 13:39

    I don’t know how you would contact the son, but HB Book Centre at Baker Colony had these books too a while back.

Amanda Kleinsasser said:
On: 26th Dec, 2014 at 22:53

I speak Hutterish and I love my language!! 🙂

wilhelm franz said:
On: 10th Jan, 2015 at 21:59

Learning Hutterisch is not in written form. It is an archaic German. Most German Clubs in Canada and the US speak this archaic German. They came from Yugoslavia,Rumania,Hungary., are known as Donauschwaben. I was born in Yugoslavia and to this day speak Deitsch. Die Mutter sproch soll mer nie vergesse.

    Linda said:
    On: 10th Jan, 2015 at 22:24

    Ich mahn ach su, die Muetersproch sull nir nia vergessn.

      Paul said:
      On: 11th Jan, 2015 at 15:26

      Du mahnst, die muetersproch sull MIR nia vergessn. 😉

        Linda said:
        On: 11th Jan, 2015 at 17:04

        Genau, Paul. Habe den Fehler spaeter gemerkt.

Stephanie Lüngen said:
On: 14th Mar, 2015 at 19:21

Dear Linda,
I just read your article above and I think, the reason of missing hutterish words for kitchen untensils or mechanical parts for example is that in time of leaving europe those things didn’t exist.
But I am sure that we in Germany do surely have words for them.
Maybe you could ask some german people.
I think its a pitty that more and more english words are used in hutterian colonies.
I just start to learn about hutterian life and I am happy to see, that the colonies still exist and keep the old faith and traditions.

Best wihses to all of you from Germany

Stephanie Lüngen

    Linda said:
    On: 14th Mar, 2015 at 19:45

    Thanks, Stephanie. That could very well be true, that these items didn’t exist back then, at least in some cases. However, it would still be tough to go find German words for those things, especially with the English so readily available.

Matthaeus said:
On: 19th Mar, 2015 at 15:05

Kannesch Du mir a Textbeischpiel zoagen, damit i sechen konn, wia eis enkre Sproch schreibts und redets?
I hon glesen, dass sie friehr vom Tirolerischen obstommt. Mi wundert’s ob’s ollm nou ehnlich klingt.

Danke und pfiaht di gott.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 19th Mar, 2015 at 15:52

    Mir schreibm nit uft Hutterisch, ober ich glaub du weat’s gonz guet kennen lesn und verstean – krod su guet wie ich dein Dialekt konn lesen.

      Matthaeus said:
      On: 20th Mar, 2015 at 10:20

      Vergeltsgott! Vielleicht werri Dein Buach lesen, es heart si ziemlich bearig un!

        Lindamaendel said:
        On: 20th Mar, 2015 at 13:02

        Matthaeus, was bedeutet, ‘ziemlich bearig’?

          Rebecca H said:
          On: 28th Sep, 2015 at 17:11

          »Sehr toll, nett, großartig, cool«, oder so glaub ich. Ich bin nicht der Matthäus, aber bin weit und breit gewandelt, aber ich glaube ›bearig‹ bedeutet ›bärig‹, weil dieser Wort ist oft in Bayern, Österreich, Tirol, und einige ›Dörfli‹ in der Schweiz wie wortinitiales p- oder b- gesagt, sowie ›perig‹, ›berich‹, ›bearig‹, oder ›beorich‹ gesprochen und geschrieben. Dafür glaube ich es ist sehr wichtig Hochdeutsch wie Mundart erkennen zulernen, dabei könnt man ohne Englisch seiner Bedeutung erklären und verstehen. 🙂

          Sehr lange vor, ich hörte es wie ›berich‹ und dachte er hat ›Bericht‹ gesagt. »des is berich(t)!«, als ob ›Bericht‹ dorthin ›toll, super, elefantös‹ umgangssprachlich meint.

Lloyd Purdy said:
On: 28th Mar, 2015 at 19:57

I just met some people from a Hutterite community in Saskatchewan as part of my work as a doctor. I new to the country from the UK and did not know they were from a Hutterite community or even what a Hutterite was before today. I was convinced they were Irish from the accent… Now I have a theory – how did original groups of Hutterites learn English when they came to North America? Could they have learned it from Irish settlers and picked up the accent this way? The reason I ask is because I have many German friends who learned English in private schools in Germany from American English teachers and they have a distinct American twang or accent. Could it be that a similar process has occurred with the Hutterite English accent in the distant past and it has survived from one generation to the next?

    Linda said:
    On: 28th Mar, 2015 at 20:48

    I’ve heard a number of times that we have an Irish lilt, but have no idea where that would have come from. I don’t think Hutterites learned English from Irish settlers, but learned it in school from non-Hutterite teachers and also from being around English-speaking people.

    Patrick said:
    On: 5th Dec, 2018 at 16:35

    I’m watching a show on Hutterites and the first thing that struck me was the Irish accent, I’m Irish and believe me it’s way too similar to be coincidence. It’s a very distinct Irish lilt at that. Very interesting show though 🙂

      Lindamaendel said:
      On: 5th Dec, 2018 at 16:56

      We’ve heard that a few times. Which show are you watching, Patrick?

Tanya Gayowski said:
On: 15th Oct, 2015 at 20:10

Hello, I would love to be able to communicate with you about the Hutterisch langague . I am a speech pathologist in southern Alberta. Please get back to me at me emai address. Thank you kindly, Tanya

Bob Wollmann said:
On: 25th Dec, 2015 at 22:52

I’m from Freeman, SD. We have a celebration called Schmeckfest every year for the past 50+ yrs in March of April – depending on when Easter is. We have 3 distinct dialects in Freeman – Low German, Swiss, and Hutterish. I am a Hutter. My parents spoke it often, especially if they didn’t want me to know what they were talking about. That is how I learned the dialect, somewhat, I could understand it better than I could speak it. During Schmeckfest, three of us would tell the same story in our dialect. Simple stories like The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen, Driving for the First Time, etc. It took a lot of practice and research, because as you said, there aren’t Hutterish words that translate from English. We had good audiences for our “performances” that enjoyed and connected somehow with each group. We did that for about seven consecutive years. Maachs Goot Bob

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 25th Dec, 2015 at 23:09

    Thanks for stopping by, Bob and for sharing your thoughts. I have friends among the Prairie People from Freeman. I can appreciate that your performances would have been enjoyed, especially by people still speaking the dialect, which as I understand is all but lost among the Freeman Prairie People. That is so sad. But it’s great to see that some are still interested in the Hutterisch dialect.

Orlando Krippner said:
On: 17th Feb, 2016 at 21:49

Liabe Linda,
durch an Zufall hab i dein Blog gfundn und find`s recht intressant zum lesn.
I bin in Tirol aufgwachsn. Hab einen vergleichbaren dialekt zum Hutterischen. I
bin daran intressiert zu lesn wia dei Hutterischer dialekt klingt. Bsonders guat find i das du angfangn hast a Hutterisches Woerterbuch zum schreibn.
Das Tiroleisch und Kaerntnerisch ist eine sehr lebendige sprach und wird vo fui leut gsprochn. Fuea de woerter die ueber d Zeit im Hutterischen vergessn wordn sind, giabts die moelichkeit diese wieder zu entdeckn im Tirolerischen und Kaerntnerischen. Wannsd magst kann i dir helfn. Gottes segn. Orlando

Dear Linda,

I found your blog by coincidence and was fascinated reading it. I grew up in the Tirol and my dialekt is similar to to the Hutterisch. I would be interested to read how your Hutterisch dialekt sounds. I think it`s very good you started a dictionary for the Hutterischen dialekt. Tirolean and carinthian is still a very alive language and spoken by many people today. Words that have gone lost over time in the Hutterisch could be rediscovered. If you want I could help. Would you let me know what you think about it?
God bless. Orlando

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 18th Feb, 2016 at 02:02

    I know that some areas in Austria still speak a similar dialect to Hutterisch. I think it would be pretty hard, if not impossible to add the ‘rediscovered’ words to our every day Hutterisch. I’m not even sure how one would go about doing that. But it’s an interesting concept, anyway. Does your dialect have a written form? I sometimes blog about Hutterisch on my personal blog as well.

Grant D. Taylor said:
On: 13th Apr, 2016 at 18:00

I have a book, done by one of my moms aunts I believe, somewhere packed away that is a Hutterish to English dictionary. My mom was Gladys Taylor (Miller) daughter of Katherine and Andrew P. Miller from Langham Sask area… her family came up from Freemen S.D…they were Prairieleut – Hutterites that left the colony life when they came to America. (there was only 1200 total I believe, we are all related) My great grandfather and I believe it was his brother whom built the church outside of Langham, in 1917… called Emmanuel Church. In German “Gott mitt uns” my mom and many of her side of the family are buried there. It is not very active and is only used part time….

I could look up the whole family via this book and who is who and who married which person and what ship they were on in the migration of the Hutterites to the USA… It lists births up and including my brothers and I .

Wow, big books… unbelievable work putting these together. I will have to dig these out again.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 13th Apr, 2016 at 19:18

    Sounds like a fascinating book, Grant. Would you know the title of it? That’s also a nice write-up of the church on that website you mentioned in your comment.

The Blocked Dwarf said:
On: 20th Jun, 2016 at 14:15

The other evening I chanced upon the audio ‘Gonz in Oofong’ sample for your Bible stories . To my ears it sounded ’17 Century Alpine Farmer’. I played it to my native German speaking Frau and she said it sounded completely Bavarian/Tyrolean. What really blew my socken off though was the fact that the Hutterites have lived in North America for some 300 years and still speak a German without any kind of ‘colonial’ (I’m a Brit) accent that I could discern. So unlike the ‘Texas German’ for example and so unlike the ‘Denglisch’ we speak at home. After 15 years of living in England we, The Bestes Frau In The World, and myself are very very aware how English ‘sounding’ both our Germans have become.

So a tip of the The Blocked Dwarf ‘Hut’ to the Hutterites and for keeping not only their language, their dialect alive but also the accent of their Fore-vaters.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 20th Jun, 2016 at 14:25

    Thanks, Blocked Dwarf! We speak this dialect daily and since we live a communal life it’s probably easier to preserve, but still, more and more English is creeping into our Hutterisch. Which is unfortunate.

      The Blocked Dwarf said:
      On: 20th Jun, 2016 at 15:05

      “but still, more and more English is creeping into our Hutterisch. Which is unfortunate.”

      I agree but I fear in this Internet Age things will only get worse. Do Hutterites allow their kids Smart Phones & Internet access? If they do then you might like to consider , although you probably have already, working in your spare time (do Hutterite authors have ‘free time’?) on something like this which would allow HutTeens to tweet and mail in what you so movingly call the ‘language of their hearts’ :
      That particular one translates High German into a standardized form of the Hessian dialect I learnt and I have found it invaluable when wanting to email fellow hessian speakers (even if they disagree about some of the word choices as being ‘not how we say it’).

Mary said:
On: 18th Jul, 2016 at 16:43

Hi… there was a phrase used often that meant
“don’t say anything about this” and phonetically it sounded sort of like
“sucknichtsmal” do you know it and how it would be spelled? Thanks

    Linda said:
    On: 31st Aug, 2016 at 19:36

    Mary, do you mean ‘nit sog wos’? Doesn’t sound quite like you describe, but it’s how I would say it.

Kenneth W Cornell Jr said:
On: 22nd Mar, 2017 at 16:41

Was there a colony in Ireland ??

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 22nd Mar, 2017 at 17:31

    There was no colony in Ireland, Kenneth.

April Mandel said:
On: 8th Sep, 2017 at 22:01

Hello. I am a Home School mother of 5 children. My husband was raised Hutterite. I am very fond of his family, as well as the culture and language. We have decided to teach our children the language. But where do I start. Help. To read your books to the children, the children and I need to learn to read and write the language. We look forward to the journey, but don’t know where to get the material to learn from. Do you know where to get the books on the language that is taught in the classrooms on the Colonies? God bless you and the journey you are on as well. Thank you. The Mandel Family.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 10th Sep, 2017 at 14:44

    Sorry, April, there are no books to teach Hutterisch. Most everybody that speaks it has learned it by being immersed in it daily since the day they were born. But, since your husband knows the language you could all practice with him everyday.

    Pennychilde said:
    On: 19th Aug, 2018 at 20:55

    As someone above mentioned, there are two books by Walter B. Hoover that may be helpful to someone looking for a place to start-The Hutterian Language and Hutterian-English Dictionary.

DD said:
On: 23rd Aug, 2018 at 20:51

Hello Linda,
I was wondering if the Hutterisch dictionary is available yet.
Could you please let me know.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 23rd Aug, 2018 at 22:28

    Dora, I haven’t worked on it for a long time, so no, it’s not available. Not sure if it even ever will be.

    Grant Taylor said:
    On: 26th Oct, 2018 at 11:15

    I have a dictionary somewhere in my mothers things… I will ask someone to do the digging as I am handicapped… there is also a book about my side of the family going back to europe, who and what ships they came over, who married who, when people died, children up to the fifties sixties as it has my brothers and I in it. My mothers side were Prairieluets from the Wolf Creek, SD area. I think I remember it might have been the Freeman SD, but the Wolf Creek area is correct, stopped there once and a man there said he knew of those millers and told me to look up someone in the area, but I couldn’t, was too shy to bother someone else.

    These are bound books so I don’t know how someone could photocopy them, but once found (wife put away about 4 years ago) I will research cost… No one seems to know about these books, must have been a very small run just for close relatives..

Grant Taylor said:
On: 26th Oct, 2018 at 11:06

That is all my mom and her family spoke around each other when I was growing up. I also have a hutterish to english dictionary along with another book with the history of the family going back to which ships they came over on, where they were from, who married who, when they died, children….going up to my brothers and I . My grand parents were Andrew P. and Kathrine Miller from the farm Risk and Hope outside Langham -Dalmeny, Sask area, lhis parents moved up from around the Wolf Creek colony, SD, but they were how do you say it Prairieluets…. but grandpa talked about that colony, I guess maybe because of little cousins he may have played with…or stories by his dad.. Not sure…he was speaking in Hutterish.

My mom was Glandys Grace Taylor. ruhe sanft

Grandpas family built a church on -I think it was his uncles land, named it Gott mit Uns My mom and dad, many of the family are buried there… Remember wonderful times running around that church as a tiny kinder. Best people in the world…

Ha, still slip into really bad hutterish I learned from my mom sometimes… like when someone is bragging too much or too proud of themselves… and I say….very badly… something that phonically is like Schelf sloeban schtink … I asked my mom what that means and she says lots of her first language does not translate exactly, but would be sort of like ” a skunk can not smell himself”…..

Always wished I grew up on the colony, as they were all gentile people as my mom made a big mistake and married a very abusive man that made all our lives hell… He hated everyone and always put down the hutterites…. so we made sure he was buried amongst them at the family church… might help him in the end.

I am Grant Taylor

Lynda N said:
On: 5th Dec, 2018 at 16:45

Your people sound southern Irish when they speak in English. You’re all descended from Germans so who knows why. . perhaps going back in time to the early days of your peoples arrival in Canada they picked up English from Irish immigrants , their dialect, vernacular and inflections. You definitely don’t sound German. Best wishes.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 6th Dec, 2018 at 14:53

    We do speak a German dialect. Have never heard of encounters with the Irish when the Hutterites arrived in North America, at least not to the point where our ancestors would have picked up their accent, and passed it on.

Walter Brecht said:
On: 12th Jan, 2019 at 16:02

Grüße aus Süddeutschland an alle Hutterer in Kanada

GOTT SEGNE EUCH und setze euch zum Segen für Kanada!

Hartmann O. W. said:
On: 2nd Aug, 2019 at 10:25

Der Forscher Herfried Scheer nennt das hutterische Wort “Tempezl” für ein einjähriges Schaf. Er sagt, er kennt die Herkunft des Wortes nicht. Ich habe mich etwas mit dem Dialekt der Hutterer befasst. Ich bin ziemlich sicher, die Lösung zu haben. In Kals in Ost-Tirol in der Nähe von Kärnten nennt man das Lamm “Lempezle”. In anderen Tiroler Dialekten nennt man es Lempl, Lampl, Lomp oder ähnlich. Das Wort ist urverwandt mit Englisch “lamb”.

Grüße aus Südtirol

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 2nd Aug, 2019 at 12:17

    Mit Herfried Scheer hatte ich auch Kontakt, jetzt ist er aber schon einige Jahre gestorben. Tempezl kenne ich nicht. Wir sagen Lampl.

      Hartmann O. W. said:
      On: 3rd Aug, 2019 at 10:19

      Ich hatte keine Adresse von ihm, und ich dachte mir auch, dass er gestorben sein könnte. Deswegen wollte ich die Information hier weitergeben. Danke für die interessante Antwort. H. Scheer nennt das Wort Lampl nicht in seinem Wörterbuch, dafür aber Lamplfleisch.

Peter Blinn said:
On: 6th Aug, 2019 at 14:45

Hi Linda,

I have a page that gives today’s date in over 800 languages ( and I’m looking to add Hutterite German if it’s sufficiently distinctive in that sense. For this I’ll just need its Gregorian month names, January through December. I already show eight German dialects there. I realize Hutterisch is not strongly standardized; but many other languages I display aren’t either, so we might have to go “unilaterally creative” a bit here!



    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 6th Aug, 2019 at 22:11

    Peter, thanks for your comment, but we don’t have the months of the year in Hutterisch. Most of the time English is used. Older people use the High German at times.

John Uminski said:
On: 26th Jan, 2020 at 13:58

I watched a BBC program about the Hutterites and noticed the different speech pattern of the community members in the film. I immediately understood that there must be a second language in the community, and sure enough, later in the film were scenes of people using German, most of which was understandable for me, unlike Amish.
The Hutterite speech pattern in English is not a foreign accent. I’ve notice the same quality of speech in other groups where a second language is spoken, as among French-Americans, Polish-Americans, and Mexican-Americans. When people live in community where two languages are spoken, there is an overlap. A German speaker would perceive you as a native German speaker, but would be curious as to what German speaking area you were from. I grow up Polish-American and never noticed the accent of my fellow community members until I went to college and “Americans” would ask me where I was from. The speech pattern of Hutterites is clear and interesting and I hope you all don’t feel it’s somehow “substandard”. It’s nice! I may be unusual for an American, as I speak fluent French and Spanish, and can get along in German and Polish too. Grüss Gott!

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 27th Jan, 2020 at 13:09

    Thanks, John. I appreciate your comments. I, for one, do not deem Hutterisch as substandard. It’s a dialect, for sure, and it’s uniquely ours and can be traced back to our roots in Austria. Walking on the street there, I could talk to people in Hutterisch and they understood me, and their dialect was very similar to ours.

Larry said:
On: 1st Mar, 2020 at 17:16

I saw a special on the BBC about the Maple Grove colony. At least to an American, the accent sound like an Irish brogue.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 1st Mar, 2020 at 20:46

    Larry, I’ve heard that our dialect sounds Irish as a few times. Although I don’t know if Hutterisch is even similar to that language. Someone told me it’s more the lilt that makes the two languages sound the similar.

Irish said:
On: 16th Jun, 2020 at 19:33

I’m Irish and at certain times the accent on every hutterite I’ve heard speak sounds so Irish it sounds like someone whose lives in Ireland all their lives.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 16th Jun, 2020 at 22:06

    Irish, I’ve heard people from Ireland and know what you mean, that the accent is similar. I find that intriguing.

Patrick said:
On: 1st Jul, 2020 at 01:14

I studied in Innsbruck for a year in college with the Notre Dame program there. I’m horrified to learn that Das Goldene Dachl was the site where Jakob Hutter was burned at the stake. I had no idea. It just looked like a pretty building.

I love the Tyrolean dialect, and am looking for a recording of Hutterite on the web to see how much I can understand.

    Lindamaendel said:
    On: 1st Jul, 2020 at 07:43

    Go to . There’s a short clip of a Bible story in Hutterisch. Hope that helps.

Stephanie Schwartz said:
On: 15th Jul, 2020 at 15:42

Please email me. I am an author, trying to find ANY Hutterisch glossary or dictionary on line or in hard copy Many thanks!