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Pennsylvania German focus of Walnutport guest lecturer

Published June 11. 2010 05:00PM

Distlefinks, Fastnachts, and Schnitzel.

Sure sounds like a topic worthy of Pennsylvania German lingual.

So much so, that it was the title of a lecture sponsored by Northern Lehigh Future Focus earlier this month at the Walnutport Canal Association Pavilion.

About 100 visitors attended the lecture, one in a series of speakers on area history and culture, which was conducted by local PA German linguist Paul Kunkel.

Kunkel spoke about PA Dutch superstitions, jokes, hex signs, their way of life, and so forth, according to Robert Stettner, president of NLFF.

Stettner said Kunkel has helped organize and teach classes in the Pennsylvania German dialect for 30 years. In addition, Kunkel also helps preserve the Pennsylvania Dutch culture through speaking engagements, and also serves on the advisory board for the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center at Kutztown University, Stettner said.

The Pennsylvania German Heritage Center represents the commitment of Kutztown University to the preservation of Pennsylvania German ("Pennsylvania Dutch") history, folklore, and traditions.

The center sponsors year-round series of events celebrating Pennsylvania German culture and traditions, and classes on Pennsylvania German dialect.

Afterward, visitors were able to sample Pennsylvania Dutch refreshments, such as shoo fly pie, pretzels, rhubarb cake and birch and root beer, Stettner said.

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