Saturday, July 24, 2004

Tales from Small-Town Saskatchewan: Liebenthal

Leader (Found this hilariously optimistic website the other day)(Love those giant kangaroo rat sculptures! How lifelike!) is smack-dab in the middle of where a bunch of Germans from Russia homesteaded in the early 20th Century.

My grandparents settled south of Leader, on a farm near the hamlet of Liebenthal. Or "love valley" for those Deutschophiles among you. I have a lot of cousins who grew up in Liebenthal, and although it is a mere 15 miles from Leader, boy do they talk funny! Everyone speaks English, but with German syntax, or pluralization, or direct translations.

In Liebenthal, you don't turn off the light, you "make off the light". When you need a haircut, you say, "My hair, they're so long!" I was at a wedding with my cousin Pete a few years ago, and we were looking for a great aunt's house where everyone was visiting. We drove around and around the neighbourhood, and then suddenly spotting something familiar, Pete cried, "There Bobby's car is!" I hadn't heard syntax like that in years.

If you go south from Liebenthal, you come to Fox Valley. My father grew up in Liebenthal, and he always pronounced the town's name something like "FuxFallee". Fox Valley has fewer of my relatives and its dialect takes the German influence even a bit further.

I remember a Fox Valley guy talking about his clothing to me once, and he said, "I got my chean chagget on, and my new cowpoy poots." My pal was at a field day (weekend-long baseball tournament) there once , and he reported this conversation between two elderley gentlemen sitting on the bleachers in front of him:

Old Guy #1: Hey der Bop! What's da score, der?
Old Guy #2: It's ten-sipp!


Most of my Liebenthal relatives don't speak any German at all these days, but the spirit of the language is still hanging in der.


Blogger liz said...

I'm partial to the giant hovering graven image of the Lake Sturgeon, myself.

Also, I want to know the "detials" of the Active Youth program!

Now, must make the internet to and go herefrom.

7:09 am  
Blogger argotnaut said...

This sounds much like Win-sconsin speak.

11:02 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home