Friday, September 12, 2014

The different Americas: Long-lasting ethnic cultures

Us, the Baptists, the Mormons, our cousins the Lutherans, and the Methodists.

We rank because we're bigger than any one Protestant sect in most of the North.
The United States are not a real country, but there are several real countries within the United States. Checking a couple of maps of ethnicity and religion in the USA can pretty quickly give one a good feel for where the boundaries lie.
"The Orthodox lose people after the third generation in the new country because nation worship obviously has less appeal to them."
Well, John, Catholics have also not been all that great at keeping their children in the fold, or perhaps grandchildren.
True. But we've had more staying power. The Byzantine Catholics here lose people for the same reason as the Orthodox (when they're not Ukrainian anymore) plus "Catholic is Catholic" backfires on them: people go Novus Ordo when they move away or marry out.
You mean third-generation American Greek Orthodox don't rally 'round the banner of Hellas?

Even the second generation seems to lose some interest, if *My Big Fat Greek Wedding* is any indication. (Of course, giving your kids a house when they get married might tend to keep them in the fold. ;))
There's a history of long-lasting ethnic cultures in America. Not just self-segregating groups like the German-speaking Amish either. Until stupid anti-German propaganda from World Wars I and II, there were many German speakers in Pennsylvania and Texas. (Admiral Nimitz, from Texas, was third-generation and a first-language German speaker.) The oldest German-speaking Texas Germans grew up in the '50s. (Texas German's a dialect with some English in it.) Cajuns spoke French, as did some part-French Louisiana blacks such as Fats Domino (that's a French accent you hear in his songs). Even New York state's old families spoke Dutch until around the '20s. Around here, DJ Jerry Blavat, half-Italian, speaks South Philly Italian, a southern Italian mash-up (Neapolitan, Calabrian, Sicilian) with an American accent. So the Greeks and Slavs have a fighting chance. It just isn't happening.

Article on Texas German, in German:
Das texanische Deutsch ist reich an solchen sonderbaren Sätzen wie "Die Kuh ist über die Fence gejumpt!" oder "Wasever, ich muss die Pick-up da erst mal greasen und das Oil changen".
A few American English words got in over the past 150 years.


  1. Thanks. This was a very interesting and enjoyable post. In central Texas, Wendish (a slavic language spoken in Eastern Germany and west Poland) was a predominant language in many communities. About the time of the first World War it was replaced—by German, as church records attest. After WWII English took over. In East Texas French was the most common second language (all those Creoles, etc.), replaced by Spanish as second language in the sixties and seventies. There are parts of South Texas where the most spoken language has been Spanish since the 18th century. Then there are the native American languages, the most spoken of which is Coushatta in East Texas, the result of forced immigration from Alabama.


Leave comment