We left the Motel 6 to finally check out Fredericksburg proper. It is known for being very German, and it was. It has not one or no German restaurants like most American cities, but fourteen German restaurants and several German themed shops:
One of the shops we checked out was stocked with some German items that had come from Germany a great deal more recently than the German immigrants from the 1840s, as this was clearly made in the 1940s:
Something far cooler and nicer than finding Nazi paraphernalia was meeting a woman in a shop who still spoke German, not German from school or from Munich, but native Texan German. Her parents had been German, but they had become part of an existing Texan German community that had started in the 1840s and developed their own brand of Texan German. She was on the older side, so unfortunately this might be the end of the line for Texan German as many people in the town told us only older people spoke it, but here is one of the coolest clips we’ve gotten on the whole trip in my opinion as a linguist.
If you care about German, preserving dying languages and dialects or just want to know what German sounds like with a Texan twang, do check out the video. You will need to turn on subtitles unless you feel good about your abilities to understand this variety of German. We had three different Germans listen to it, and no one got 100%:
There seem to be some differences between her dialect and Standard Modern German. For instance, I didn’t fully realize at the time as I am pretty low level with my German, but she interpreted my question of ‘Do you like living here’ as ‘May you live here’. The verb in question was mögen, which I had learned on Duolingo is the polite form of to like. It also means may, as in to be allowed, as in ‘may I go to the loo‘. She went on to say she didn’t understand some of the words I used because her German was Low German and my little bit of German was High German.
A German speaker I met on Duolingo said that this was interesting because the lady’s parents were from Düsseldorf (a High German-speaking city). So she must have learned the local Texan dialect, an offshoot of Low German, rather than her parents dialect. This is unsurprising as our peers tend to inform how we speak more than our parents do.
On the way from Fredericksburg up to Austin, we saw so many vineyards. Central Texas is growing lots of grapes, which I hadn’t expected. I know all 50 states grow wine grapes, but not all of them do it in such abundance: