The Amish, by A.M. Aurand, , at sacred-texts.com
Are They "Dumb Dutch?"—These people are not ignorant—that is they are well able to read and write, either in German or English. But they are not generally educated to what we call "our modern ideas." They shun these and learn what they want to, and keep on searching after the information relative to the teachings of their kind.
Generally the German of three hundred years ago is the language of their religious meetings and sermons. Their services may last several hours and usually are largely attended by every one belonging thereto resident in their community. Either English, or Pennsylvania-"Dutch," so-called by the English in lieu of "Deutsch" is the language of the home and for general purposes, if desired.
Reasoning Powers.—One advantage the average plain man has over others of his worldly neighbors is that he knows both English and German tongues. This gives him opportunity to reason in both and when his thoughts are put into words the grammatical construction leaves much to be desired at times. He is not at a disadvantage due to these "handicaps."
Dialect Advantages.—It has been the writer's personal experience to carry on a conversation at length in our plain, simple, Pennsylvania "Dutch," not only with members of the plain "sects," but with Germans from any and every section of this or any other State, settled by those who originally came from Germany or adjacent countries, and whose children and their children blazed trails to all points of the compass.
The writer has also used successfully enough, our simple "dialect" to speak to, and to be understood by, German-born students, scholars and professors; Jews born in Germany, Roumania, Latvia and elsewhere; Austrians, whether of the pre-war, or post-war period. There is still enough of the original German flavor in our dialect after more than two hundred years' use and abuse, to satisfy the daily needs of many plain people and others of German extraction.