Puhoi Egerländer Dialect
Now includes traditional Bohemian recipes as well!
Why an Egerländer dialect web site?
The original Puhoi settlers spoke a dialect known as the Egerländer dialect, often called the Bohemian dialect. Sadly, few speak it fluently now - probably only a dozen or so (as at 2011). Even worse, since it is not taught in schools and since it is not spoken with the young any more, our dialect will eventually die out.
At most, all we can realistically hope for is that some words and phrases will survive. That's what this web site is all about; to encourage all Puhoi descendants to remember a few phrases in the Egerländer dialect. And to pass them on to their children. If enough of us do that, then something of the Puhoi Egerländer dialect will survive in spoken form.
Don't they teach German in New Zealand Universities?
Egerländer dialect is a German dialect. It is the particular dialect the Puhoi people spoke. However, the German taught in New Zealand Universities is different from the Puhoi Egerlander dialect. For example, many of the words are different.
Why "Puhoi Egerländer" dialect?
Over time and without contact with the motherland (Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic), the dialect underwent subtle changes. This was studied in the 1960s by the late Werner Otto Droescher, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, Auckland University (1961 to 1975).
It should be noted that some of the original Bohemian settlers in Puhoi later went to Ohaupo and took the dialect with them.
We always called it Bohemian dialect?
So did we. And we still do. This web-site uses both terms: Bohemian dialect and Egerländer dialect.
Why is it important to preserve our dialect?
Various reasons. For example...
- To provide a resource that can be used for research.
- To provide a record of how things used to be.
- To record the voices of the old people.
- To respect and honour the old people. They were fiercely proud of their dialect.
- Most of all, perhaps, as the Puhoi descendants are being increasingly dispersed, our dialect could help us to maintain a feeling of community.
What can I do about it? I don't know any Egerländer ("Bohemian") dialect!
First, recognise that it is better to know a few phrases and words well --- and to use them --- rather than knowing a lot poorly and never using them.So...
- Learn five or six (useful) phrases and words --- that's all
- Use these phrases and words with your immediate family --- your children, your siblings, your parents
- As you grow in confidence, use them with other descendants
Which phrases and words? Ones that are useful or fun. I suggest the phrases used in greetings, eg "Good day", are a great place to start.
What can I do about it? I am already fluent in the Egerländer ("Bohemian") dialect!
- When a younger descendant greets you in dialect, just respond with something simple. There is nothing more off-putting to a learner than a barrage of "gobbledegook."
- And let them know you are pleased they made the effort. It takes a lot of courage for someone who is not fluent in a language to speak. So just a few simple dialect phrases with a smile, please.
- When you meet a younger descendant, greet them in dialect with a simple "Good day". Nothing complicated.
Spread the word
Tell people about this site.
There are some cards on the Downloads page. Print them off and give them to your friends.
The Puhoi 150th Anniversary challenge...
To remember the simple Bohemian dialect greetings and to use them with your family.
I've done the technical side. However, the idea will only take off if you get behind it.