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Interview with Jacob E. Dockter (JD)

Conducted by Allen L. Spiker (AS)
July 15, 1979
, Goodrich, North Dakota

Transcription and Translation by Marvin L. Hartmann

Allen L. Spiker Oral History Dialect Collection


JD Mein namen ish Jacob Dockter, und mei heim ish hier in Goodrich.

AS Haben sie in der nahe von Goodrich........?

JD Zwanzig jahre sage ich hier in Goodrich.

AS Und wo waren sie frueher?

JD Fourteen miles north von Goodrich. An der farm. Meine lieben freunden und bakannten, ich bin ein saavold habender mann. Ich besichten einen finstergrosses haus. Im oberstock habe ich zwei elektrische lichter drein und im unterstock habe ich hin und forna die warmen wasserleitung .

Trans: My dear friends and acquaintances. I am an (unclear) man. I observe (should really be besetze, which means occupy) a big and gloomy ( finistergrosses) house. (Very likely the interviewee meant a house with large or many windows because he continues...) In the upper story there are two electric lights and on the main floor I have hot running water front and back.

Transcriber and translator's note: In the above and following comments and recitations by the interviewee I encountered several problems. Since our interest here is in preserving the dialect in which he spoke, I typed the words phonetically without regard to either the High German spelling nor the capitalization of nouns. Occasionally rapid speech and unclear articulation made it impossible to discern specific words so again I resorted to typing phonetically what I thought I heard. Secondly, the interviewee strung his narrations and recitations together which occasionally created problems in sentence structure. I avoided correcting them so as to preserve the flow of his responses.

Es wohnt ein bauer im Odenwald der hatt eine schoene frau. Und darzu auch eine dienstmagd dass war dem bauer seinen beste freund. Und als die dienstmagd auf den Oder gang da wars der bauer frohr. Da schprach der bauer zu derer dienstmagd, "Komm mit mir auf der schtrohr." "Ach neine bauer, dass kann ich nicht, denn wenn dess deine frau, madahme hoert, dann gibt sie mir kein lohn." Und als doe die dienstmagt auf dem rucken lag und der Bauer oben drauf da kommt die frau madhame, die treppen oben rauf. "Zum deifel nicht a mahl, wenn du die magd beschlagen dusht dann beschlagen ich der knecht." Und so geht es fort , die meinden ueber freinden und bekannten . Aufs wieder sehen .

Trans: There once lived a farmer in Odenwald who had a nice wife. He also had a hired girl who was his best friend. As the maid went out on the Oder it made the farmer happy. So the farmer said to his hired maid, "Come with me to the haymow." "Oh, please, no, I can't do that because if your wife hears of it she won't give me my pay." And as she lay on her back and he upon her , the farmer's wife came up the stairs. "The devil, you don't beat her up because if you do that I'll beat up the hired man!? And that's the way it goes...(unclear) over friends and acquaintances. See you. (The interviewee usually closed his comments with such a farewell.)

AS Wo haben sie dass gehoert, die geschichte?

JD Oh, I learned that. I had a storybook one time.

AS Als kind?

JD Hah?

AS Als sie klein waren?

JD No, just about. And now do you want something more to that?

AS Then we can play it back.

JD Oh, desh villsht zurick schpinnal

JD Nu haben wir wieder wass zu sagen.. Was fange ja der teufel an? Meine gelde sinn verzaerht, aber gut habe ich alles verbracht der abeidenet aus geleheret. Und daraus folgt der harte schluss , dass ich auswandern muss. O yearem, O yearem, und zu hause darf ich auch nicht kommen, da hat man mich vergessen, Zeit dem ich denn ein dockter geworden bin im saufen und im fressen. Getanz, gespiel und kommet siet am meine gesundheit verruiniert In miner stube iss alles lehr, da ist nicht mehr zu finden, also an eltes mortgewehr, dass will ich um mich binden, und gagen die Franzhosen ziehen, vielleicht kann mir mein glueck noch bluehen Thank you, folks. How about that, huh?

Trans: Now I have more to say. Now what has the devil started? I've blown my money. I have messed up things very well and life is empty. So I have come to the difficult conclusion I have to leave. O my, O my and I can't go home because I'm a stranger there. Since I have a doctor's degree in drinking and overeating, in dancing and idleness...I've ruined my health. My living room is empty, not a thing is left there except an old pistol which I will strap around myself and head out against the French. Perhaps I'll better luck there.

AS Where did you learn that?

JD Well, the same deal, where I learned the other one. See, in der alte country da haben wir keine baby sitters khat so wir, sie heit-zu-dacks haben. Da haben die junge die kinder zu der groszmutter gebracht und da war ei famalie die haben zwei kleine junge khat. Einer had Fritslich geheisen und der andere Tschonny. Und die hin hide and go seek so arg gern schpiela villa. Dann hat der kleine Tschonny zu der groszmutter g'sagt, "Grossmutter, kansht du mir der platz finna dass des Fritzel mich nich finna kann." Noh hatt die Grossmutter des Tschonnisel unter der rok gnomma. Un noh hat der Fredrich noh rum g'schpronga und g'sucht und g'sucht. Entlich hatt mussa die Grossmutter sich uff schtella un die hat
ein opening khat neba am ihra rok. Nu finally hat der kleina Freddie g'sehena dass der kleina Tschonny
sie nasz und sei maul doh neba raus schtekka tut an da mutter ihrem rok. Na sagt er, "Ha, doh bisht du. Jetzt han ich dich g'funna." Na hat der kleina Hansel g'sagt. "Wann die grossmutter net pfortza haet bricht haetsht du mich net gfunna." I think that's enough for you now.

Trans: See, the old country we didn't have baby sitters the way we have these days. At that time the young parents took their children to the grandmother and there was a young family that had two children. One was Freddie and the other Johnny. And they loved to play hide and seek. So little Johnny said to his grandmother, "Grandmother, can you find me a place where Freddie can't find me?" So the grandmother put little Johnny under her long dress. So little Freddie ran around and looked and looked. At last the grandmother had to stand up and she had a kind of opening on the side of her dress. Then Freddie saw little Johnny's nose and mouth sticking out from the side of her dress. So he says, "Ha, there you are. Now I found you!'" But the little rascal said, "If grandmother had not farted you never would have found me."

Ya, oh yah, die liebe, die hat so veit gebracht. Sie hat das arme Meidelein in dass ehland hinein gebracht.
Ihrem eid genyelast euch raten . Heiratet keinen alter mann. Die liebe noch ein junger der iss yast noch heiraten kann. Thank you folks!

Trans: Yes, oh yes, with love it comes to this. Love brought this poor young maid into a terrible state.
(The sense of the rest seems to be: Love's lesson is that she should not marry this older man. Rather she should find one of marriageable age, however the sense of the poem is unclear.)

Heute morgen frueh fer da da rak hokket da da hoch der schneider da da ya. Ohne hosa, ohne vase und ohne rok , ohne hosa ohna vaste und ohne rok. Und vaer der schneider net so gschprungen , do haet der bok der schnieder gschprunga . Ohne hosa, ohne vast und ohne rok , ohne hosa ohne vast und ohne rok .

Trans: (The sense of this poem seems to be that this tailor got up in the morning and was without pants, a vase? and dress [rok]. Had he not run like that, a buck (bok) would have chased him. Admittedly the sense of this verse is lost or it was composed with deliberate nonsense.)

AS Now these are songs...... where did you learn these songs?

JD Huh?

AS Where did you learn these songs?

JD Oh, we had a book, you know. We live in a German settlement and dat was all included. I coulda sing you from here till hell freeze up!

Es war ein schnieder nein sich,schneider nein und nein zich. Die machet doh gein nichts aus
aus eine gebratene louse. Siche lem bem bem, bogga bogga bochs, schnieder hoap, hoap, hoap.
Aus eine g'rbroatene maus, da mach ich ei nichts aus. Und als sie alle gegessen hab'n bekammen sie alle durst . Und sie drinken alle neun sichs, schneider nein un nein und nein siex aus einem fingerhut , da schmekkt der vein so gut . Sigge lem bem bem, bogga bogga bochs, schneider hoap, hoap, hoap. Aus einem fingerhut , des schmekkt der vein so gut. Und als sie alle gedrunken hatten, da fing sie ahn zu danzen, und sie danzen alle neun zig, schneider nein und neun zig. auf einem nadel schpitz , und dass war der schnieder vitz. Die lem bem bem, bogga bogga boch , schneider hoap, hoap, hoap . Auf einmen nadel schpits un dass war der schneider vitz , Un als sie alle gedanzen hatt'n bekam sie al die schlaaf, un schlaefen alle neinzich, schneider nein un neinzich, auf einem halmen schtro, un da wars der schneider froh. Sie la bem bem bem , bogga bogga bok, schneider haop, hoap, hoap. Auf einem halben schtro ,
un da was der schneider froh und als she schliefen die halbe nacht der regelt die deine maus. Und sie schprang the neunzig, schneider nein un neintzig, vegra eine dode maus, zum schlichel doch hinaus. Thank you folks.

Trans: There was a tailor ninety, a tailor ninety nine. They they couldn't care less about a fried mouse.
Siche lem bem bem, bogga bogga bochs, tailor hup, hup hup. They couldn't care less about fried mouse.
And when all have eaten well they suffered a mighty thirst. And tailors ninety, ninety nine drank out of a thimble, the wine tastes so good. Siche lem bem bem, bogga bogga bochs, tailor hup, hup, hup. The wine tastes so good out of a thimble. And when they all drank well they began to dance all ninety, tailors ninety nine on the needle's tip and that was a tailor's wit. Lem, bem, bem, bogga bogga boch, tailors hup, hup, hup. Upon the a needle's tip, that was a tailor's wit. And as they all danced they began to fall asleep, all ninety slept, tailors ninety nine, slept on a strawy heap. That was the tailor's joy. Sie la bem, bem, bem, bogga, bogga, bok, schneider hup, hup, hup. Upon a heap of straw that was the tailor's joy. And as they slept half the night and the mouse reigned. And she scared up the ninety, tailors ninety nine because of a dead mouse they fled the house.

AS What's that schneida?

JD Schneider.

AS ..Sews clothing and that?

JD Ya, ya, that's it. It was about those ? , you know.

AS In welchen dorf sind sie geboren?

JD In Neudorf.

AS Und wann sind sie noch Amerika gekommen?

JD Neun yore alt.

JD Jetzt lass mol dess haera.

See vo mir rei komma sin noch Amerika, wir waren armseelighe leit. Mir hinna alle missa aus schaffa un ich war neun jore alt, dann habe ich a chop grikkt by beim unsera nochbar, beim alte Honesbaker, un sie frau hat Kaetrik g'eisa. Doh haan ich muessa fiel kee heeta, aber dess war ah beginners g'vest, hin ah so blos so kleines heisel kapt, noh han ich missa int fussa ent likka. Und die Kaetri un der Honesbaker, die varn im armblik g'legga un ich war unna am fuss ent g'legga un die hin kein kinner khat von ehra eigne.
Die hin so hart getriet kinner zu kriega. Un hat ei oben des Katribaes mit ihrem zaebe mir um mei beigel so rumgekratzelt un hat zie 'gsagt, "Schlofe ein, mei kleines kindelein." Un han ich an fanganna schnorixla un ZZZZZZ macha, nu hat sich rum gedraet un hat zum Peter Honich g'sagt, "Ich mein der kleine schloft schon ." Nu sagt der Peter Honeg, er denkt ah so. Nu hat der Peter Hon ah fanga uf acta, un bis er sich uffna guter platz g'lega hat un no war der mit seine fees mir am my beich g'vest un my bukkel kicka von un hatta gepaddled von um beich ge ge hogg daet. Un von doh alles gut ganga var beim Fetter Honnes, hat her villa der grosse Kaetri ah ae kuss geba zu selbe zeit aber veil er so glein var un sie so gross, so hatta sich so schtrekka missa , uff ein mal hat die Katiebaas so los gegricha, "Ouch , Ouch, " Sagt sie, "Du sipple, eina macha mal aerst runna fertig, no kommsht rup." Aber ich var yo keehalter. My business war net the FBI zu sei, ich war yo a kee halterlie. Un wo ich g'sehn hat dass der Fetter Hones gut ver hauer kriegt hat ich mich nur g'legt noh han ich g'schnorkeled. Danke schoen.

Trans: When we came to America we were miserably poor. I had to hire out when I was only nine years old. I got a job by our neighbor, the old Honesbaker... his wife was Katie. I had to herd many cows but of course I was only a beginner. They had a tiny little house and I had to sleep at the foot end of the bed. The Honesbakers lay the (long way) in bed and I across the foot end. They had no children of their own but had tried very hard to have some. One night Katie poked me with her toe on my back and said, "Sleep my little child." I started to snore and she turned to him and said, "I think the kid is asleep." He said he thought so too. So Peter started to act up until he found a comfortable position but his feet pushed against my stomach and kicked me in the back (the rest garbled). And when everything went well with Uncle Honnes until he wanted to give big Katie a kiss at the same time. Because he was so little and she so big he had to stretch himself. All at once Aunt Katie yelled, "Ouch, Ouch." She said, "You dip, finish below first and then come up." Of course I was only a cowherd. My business was not the FBI, I was just a little cow herd. And when I saw that Uncle Hones get a good beating I just lay back and snored. Thanks.

(What follows on this interview is a series of words and expressions put to the interviewee to check the various ways in which the dialect formed them. This is the standard series of questions Allen Spiker put to all persons he interviewed to discover how these expressions and words varied with the various dialects.
They are omitted here because they are very repetitious. )



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