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The word "Dutch" here is left over from an archaic sense of the English word, which once referred to the people of Germany as well as to the Netherlands. This archaism may have survived for various reasons; for example, the German word for "German" is "Deutsch", which sounds similar to the English "Dutch". Nonetheless Pennsylvania German is a dialect of German, not Dutch.
Speakers of the language can be found today mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana in the United States, and Ontario in Canada. The majority of the speakers are either Amish or Old Order Mennonite although this was not the case a few generations ago; see Survival below. (Note that some other North and South American Mennonites speak Plautdietsch, which is a very different Low Saxon language.)
Pennsylvania German is well-known in popular culture for its association with the Amish. Those English speakers with a Pennsylvania German accent are typically noted for the switching of the sound of the v and w. An example of this is found in the phrase "A wonderful violin," which would be pronounced to sound like "A vonderful wiolin." However, it should be noted this is a stereotype that is promoted in tourist areas, and most Pennsylvania German speakers today speak English with only a very slight German accent.
Only Amish and Old Order Mennonites, i.e. the plain people, are passing the language along to their children in the current generation, although they were originally minority groups within the Pennsylvania German speaking population. According to the Johns Hopkins University sociologist John A. Hostetler, fewer than 10% of the original Pennsylvania German population was Amish or Mennonite.
However, there is no sign that the Old Order Amish or the Old Order Mennonites who still use the language are about to give it up. In these cultures, the language is a sign of Demut or humility, and the language serves as a barrier against the outside world. Furthermore, with the high birth rate in Amish communities, the possibility is great that the language will survive at least in the short term.
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