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Pennsylvania Dutch Identity

Granddad Walter carrying Alan and Cousin Cay.  Grandma Ida holds cousin Patty.  Grandma Showalter's Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes from AlansKitchen.comRecently due to loss of the Pennsylvania German language (among others) in many communities, as well as to intermarriage and increased mobility especially in the more secular communities, Pennsylvania Dutch ethnic consciousness is often very low, especially among younger Pennsylvania Dutch.

Many young Pennsylvania Dutch consider themselves only descendants of Pennsylvania Dutch and it is not part of their personal identity.  However, many of those raised in the immediate area, or those who have close ties there, still hold those ties close even if their parents do not emphasize those ties. 

Many Pennsylvania Germans of the secular community today are now trying to reclaim their Pennsylvania German roots by holding classes for the Pennsylvania German language and encouraging its learning in the younger generations; this is especially true in Lancaster and Berks county in Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania German population is the greatest.

In these areas the Pennsylvania German culture is actually a big part of the social identity of the whole community.  The term "Pennsylvania German" is used primarily by scholars and in situations where a politically correct term should be used, such as classes on the language and the "Pennsylvania German Festival" in Kutztown, PA.

Within the Pennsylvania German community, however, they almost always refer to themselves as the "Pennsylvania Dutch".  In some communities the Pennsylvania Dutch name is reserved only for members of the Amish and traditional Mennonite communities.

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