Language Tips

Signals of Thought Changes

Thoughts affect the verb order in PG sentences, and complex sentences may contain several thoughts. How do you recognize these thought changes?

A sentence can be simple. But they can also be complex — having more than one thought. Below is a list of Pennsylvania Dutch words (mostly prepositions) that signal a change of thought in a sentence.

  • es (that)
  • vann (when)
  • fa (for)
  • funn (from/of)
  • zu (to)
  • mitt (with)
  • veyyich (about)
  • in (in)
  • eb (before)
  • zvishich (between)
  • un (see below)

There may be other words, but these are the most common in Pennsylvania Dutch.

Why is this important? Just as in English, Pennsylvania Dutch is a V2 (verb-second) language. That means that the second word in a sentence tends to be a verb.

Ich gleich broht. (I like bread.)

However, when a sentence contains more than one thought, the first verb in the new thought jumps to the end of the thought. The Deitsh words listed above make it easier to spot the start of a new thought. Knowing this will help you put the verbs in the second and any following thoughts in the correct order.

un (sometimes)

Un also signals a change of thought.

But not when simply separating multiple items (as in: mich un dich (me and you)).

Remember when it comes to un and verb order:

  • When un glues 2 separate sentences together that could stand on their own that are within a single sentence…
    || EN: It has been a long week and I am looking forward to a break.
  • … the first thought after un starts the verb order over again as if it were a new sentence.