In South Australia there is a region called the Barossa Valley. At some point [after WW2? not sure] it was settled by a lot of German farmers who bought land and started dairy farms. They applied Rudolf Steiner's methods of organic farming. Places got names like Germantown and Hahndorf. From then on they formed their own region of German language that didn't change. So when German people who speak current German went there they could barely understand each other.

In this and other examples is there a name for this "diverging language pocket" outcome? Is it rare? I can't think of a similar example offhand.

  • 1
    Patagonian Welsh? Birobidjan Yiddish? I don't know a particular name for the phenomenon though.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 27, 2019 at 18:36
  • 1
    I don't think these people used to speak current German in that time, but rather in all probability a German variety or varieties. Anyway, we call this kind of language evolution: language divergence.
    – amegnunsen
    Jun 27, 2019 at 18:45
  • Also see Pennsylvania "Dutch", a German dialect of similar origin still spoken in the USA. Jun 27, 2019 at 20:52
  • Also note that US English contains archaicisms with respect to UK English in the form of vocabulary and grammatical forms. Famous examples are the past participle "gotten" and the expression "I guess" (= "I believe") (Not of American origin, Chaucer used it). Jun 27, 2019 at 21:02


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.