Pennsylvania German Dialect

Pennsylvania German dialect, commonly known as “Pennsylvania Dutch,” is prevalent among Old Order Amish and Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania. Historically, however, it was spoken widely by Lutheran, Reformed and other groups of German immigrants and it is currently used in Old Order communities as far west as Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania German dialect classes, taught by Keith “Butch” Reigart, typically run for ten weeks each spring and fall. Classes are held in the LMHS conference room. All are welcome.

About the Instructor

A native of York County, Pa., and fluent Pennsylvania Dutch speaker, Butch was employed for more than 35 years as a foreign language specialist for the U.S. government. Also fluent in German and Russian, Butch has a good understanding of the language learning process.

Butch is respected by Old Order Amish and Mennonites, and is in frequent conversation with these Lancaster native speakers. He draws on this experience in his classes.

To Register

  • Click the “Add to Cart” button after any class above. Add an LMHS membership to receive a discount on each class. When you’re finished, click the “View Cart” button here. (Your payment will be processed by PayPal, but you don’t need a PayPal membership to register.)
  • Or give us a call. We accept credit card payments over the phone, Tuesday–Saturday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM at (717) 393-9745.

Beginner Pa. German Class

Saturdays, September 19 to November 21, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Fall Intermediate Pa. German Class

Wednesdays, September 16 to November 19, 7 to 9 p.m.


Folk Art Classes

A Taste for Fraktur – Beginning Fraktur Workshop

Saturday, January 16, 2016, 9:00 am –12 noon

Get a beginner’s introduction to the distinctly American folk art of fraktur with the folk art class led by Emily Smucker-Beidler.

Pies in the Mennonite Tradition

Saturday, January 23, 2016, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Drop by the Mennonite Historical Society, Saturday evening and enjoy a slice or two of a wide selection of pies, along with a good cup of coffee! See a pie baker demonstrate the art of crust making.

$10. Per person; Children 12 and under free

Grain Painting a Frame

Saturday, January 30, 2016, 9:00 am –12 noon

Learn how to add the rich look of wood to your next project with false graining techniques in this folk art class taught by Jim King.

Fraktur II, the Illuminated Letter

Saturday, February 13, 2016, 9:00 am –12 noon

Fraktur II will focus on learning lettering and calligraphy within the context and history of fraktur. Taught by Emily Smucker-Beidler.