For more than 20 years, the Texas German Dialect Project, an organization housed in the Department of Germanic Studies and the Linguistics Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin, has recorded and preserved Texas German language, culture, and history. Now, with the award of a million-dollar grant from an anonymous donor, the project’s efforts to build awareness and appreciation for Texas German are getting a crucial boost.
Texas German is a collection of dialects descended from the language of early German-speaking settlers in the state and was once spoken by as many as 160,000 Texans. But its recent use has declined sharply, and the dialect is expected to die out by 2035. All the more important, then, to preserve this unique language and culture while it’s still with us.
For more on the Texas German Dialect Project and its work, check out the video below, and be sure to read Life & Letters’ 2010 feature on the project, “Vanishing Voices.” The project’s website also has information about how to get involved.