Bechtel Lecture: Dr. Mark Louden

Thursday, October 20, 2022 7:30 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

Reconstructing Linguistic History: What did Ontario's Earliest Amish Speak?

Mark Louden
What language did Amish Mennonites speak when they began migrating to Southern Ontario from dialectally-diverse regions in German-speaking Central Europe? This lecture will analyze the speech of their descendants from East Zorra-Tavistock and Wilmot townships, compare it with what Amish and Old Order Mennonites speak elsewhere, and explore important implications for our understanding of the linguistic history of Anabaptists in North America more generally.

Mark Louden received his undergraduate and graduate training in Germanic linguistics at Cornell University. A fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch, he has written extensively on the history and contemporary situation of the language and its speakers. He is the author of Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language, which received the 2017 Dale W. Brown Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. After twelve years at the University of Texas at Austin, in 2000 he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he is the Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics and director of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies. He is also an affiliate faculty member in the UW Religious Studies Program and the Mosse-Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies. In addition to his academic research on Pennsylvania Dutch, he is active in public outreach related to the language, faith, and culture of its speakers, the Amish and Old Order Mennonites. He also serves as an interpreter and cultural mediator for Pennsylvania Dutch speakers in the legal and health care systems. Married, with one daughter, he is a member of Milwaukee Mennonite Church.

Thursday October 20th,
Conrad Grebel University College, Great Hall
7:30 pm, reception to follow