PA Dutch Words and a Contest

In July, while at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, my publisher told me that my three books in the Sisters of the Quilt series will be coming out in audio format. I was THRILLED. It’s something many readers have asked me about. The publisher mentioned that the narrator would contact me in a few weeks so we could discuss correct pronunciation of some of the Pennsylvania Dutch words in the book.

Um . . . I don’t actually speak the language. I work really hard to get it written correctly. I’m blessed with three things that make me able to write the Pennsylvania Dutch words.

One, I have an Old Order Amish friend who’s willing to make sure each character is saying the correct turn of phrase. 

Two, I have a very rare copy of a Pennsylvania German dictionary.

And three, I work with a woman who has taught the language to college Englischers for years. She covers the grammar and usage part, because speaking a language and being able to spell the words correctly are vastly different from writing something grammatically correct. 

A week after I heard the news about my audio book, I received an e-mail stating that the narrator would be JILL SHELLABARGER, Christian author and the actress who played Carol in the NBC TV series Chicago Story. She also played Amanda White in the audio drama series based on the Left Behind books. She is a fabulous voice actor. My excitement soared!

She and I talked on the phone, and I was blessed to be able to put her in contact with an Amish woman who speaks the language fluently. I sent Anna* an overnight package with all three glossaries.

A few days later, Jill contacted me about a song Hannah sings in book one. She asked if I knew the tune that went to it.

The Old Order Amish sing a cappella, so the book I had taken the song from doesn’t show any musical notes. However, I know the tune of that song for Englischers. It’s in every hymnal I’ve ever seen. But because the Amish don’t use written music, I didn’t know how it would be sung by the Amish today. And since the song was written more than two hundred years ago, I thought it likely that the tune would be different now from when it was originally incorporated into their worship.

Thankfully, all this back-and-forth among me, my Old Order Amish friends, and Oasis Audio took place during the summer, because I try to avoid calling a phone shanty in winter. We think it’s interruptive to get a phone call during a movie. What if we had to don hats, coats, and boots and then shiver in the snow while talking on the phone? EGAD!

I called Anna’s phone shanty and left a message, knowing that her husband checks the phone out near the barn every day or two. When I heard back from her, I shared my predicament. She assured me she’d find the song, memorize the tune for it, and speak to Jill within the week.

You know, I’d hate to have to try to sing a song for a stranger on the phone. But as always, Anna came through for me. Now everyone who purchases the audio version will get to hear Jill Shellabarger sing as Hannah just the way Anna sang the song to her via phone. What a blessing!
*Anna is the  name I use for all my female Old Order Amish friends. It gives them double privacy because I use the same pseudonym for several people.

Contest News:

A winner has been drawn randomly from the last blog entry. Commenter number 52, Jordan, will receive an autographed copy of each book in the Sisters of the Quilt series. Jordan’s comment for her contest entry said:
My sister loves your books, and it would be awesome if I could get these [the Sisters of the Quilt series, autographed] for her because she will not shut up about the third book and it’s getting on my nerves. So enter me, please.

Okay, Jordan, we’ve done our part to make your sister shut up. Now answer the e-mail I sent a few days ago by sending me your postal address. The books await you . . . uh . . . your sister. 😉

It’s time for another contest! 

For a chance to win an autographed copy of each book in the Sisters of the Quilt series, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog. You can share your thoughts or simply post “enter me.” This contest will last approximately two weeks. Anyone who entered the last contest after the drawing took place (that’s commenters 85 to 94 on “Winner, a Contest, and Detasseling”) will be moved to this contest. A winner will be drawn in approximately two weeks.

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