Ask the Amish with Linda Byler

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Each month, we’re featuring reader questions about the Amish and having Linda Byler, who grew up Amish and now writes fiction, answer them. Read more about Linda below. Have a question for Linda? Ask it either in the comment section below or via our social media!

I would so want to know what the Amish think of our fascination with them—are they OK with books written about them? What about book covers with Amish characters’ faces shown?

I think people are fascinated with us largely because of our different style of living. They wonder how we can be happy. They’re curious about how we stay the way we are.

We are taught love, caring, sharing, obedience, and the value of doing things that are worthwhile (which sometimes you don’t necessarily want to do!). But these are ground rules I believe will always prevail among us. Not every Amish person likes having books written about our culture, but most of our people accept it. Book covers with Amish characters are blamed on the book publisher, so that, too, is tolerated.

I’ve noticed from reading Amish books that there are different words for father/dad, such as Dat, Datt, and Daed (and probably the same for mother/mom). Are they different with each Amish community and does each community have their own Amish language?

I know of no other word in Pennsylvania Dutch for “Father” and “Mother” other than “Dat” and “Mam,” but I’m from the East—my roots are Lancaster County Amish. In the western states, where the Amish also speak Pennsylvania Dutch, they vary the words slightly and say “Daddy” and “Mom,” pronounced with a sort of flat, long, drawn out “Dae-addy,” and “Mom” with a long, flat short “o” sound.

The different spellings in books are very likely what either the publisher, editor, or writer thought was the proper spelling. Pennsylvania Dutch is not a written language.

Bestselling author Linda Byler grew up Amish and is active in the Amish Church today. Her work includes the popular trilogy Lizzie Searches for Love, an annual Christmas novel, and her latest series, Lancaster Burning.

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Comments

  1. It is very hard when you try to write PD down, without it being a written language. It is a combo of German, Dutch and English all mixed together and some words they have just made up to accommodate.

    I noticed that if a particular area is in a book, that accuracy is more highly demanded from the community, about their area. There is a lot of back lash when an author takes a lot of liberties, but uses the same names of the community pillars or places.

  2. Dali Castillo says:

    Enjoyed the article and wish there could have been more questions answered. Very excited to see that Lynda Byler was answering. I thoroughly enjoy her books!

  3. Sharon Harm says:

    What has happened to book number three in The Lancaster Burning series?

  4. Jeannette R delmar says:

    what happened to book three in the Lancaster Burning series You can’t find it anywhere

  5. Bethany fus says:

    When is book 3 of Lancaster county comes out bc I really what know n I love her books

  6. Jeannette R delmar says:

    when will book 3 be on sale

  7. When will book 3 of Lancaster Burning be available?

  8. I, also, am waiting for Book 3 of Lancaster Burning. Do you know when this book will be available?

  9. Judy Tulloch says:

    Will book 3 of Lancaster Burning be available as an e-book? I very much want to read this series but with my bad eye sight, it is very strenuous on my eyes reading a paperback. I own a Kindle which enables me to set the size of the font. I will not buy books 1 and 2 if book 3 doesn’t come out as an e-book.

  10. Ingrid Klemm says:

    I have read the 3 books “Lancaster Burning. I like your style and they are wonderful to read. However, the issue of Salvation was rather vague.I have read
    countless Amish books and talked to real Amish people and I am still at a loss.

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