Jersey Dutch

Jersey Dutch
Region New Jersey, United States
Ethnicity Dutch Americans in New Jersey.
Extinct Early 20th century[1]
Latin (Dutch alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Jersey Dutch was an archaic Dutch dialect formerly spoken in and around Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey from the late 17th century until the early 20th century. It may have been a partial creole language[2] based on Zeelandic and West Flemish Dutch dialects with English and possibly some elements of Lenape.

Jersey Dutch was spoken by the descendants of Dutch settlers in New Jersey, who began to arrive at Bergen in 1630, and by their black slaves and free people of color also residing in that region, as well as the mixed race people known as the Ramapough Mountain Indians.

Negro Dutch

A variety of this dialect, referred to by Jersey Dutch speakers as neger-dauts ("Negro Dutch", not to be confused with the Dutch creole Negerhollands) was spoken only by the Black population. It was distinguished from Jersey Dutch by pronunciation and grammar, reflecting African linguistic retentions: an overall decline in inflection, apparently including a loss of past tense verb forms because of isolation from other Dutch speakers and contact with English-speaking settlers.[2]

An example of Jersey Dutch from A text in Jersey Dutch Dr J. Dyneley Prince, 1910.

En kääd'l had twî jongers; de êne blêv täus;
de andere xong vôrt f'n häus f'r en stat.
Hai waz nît tevrêde täus en dârkîs tû râkni arm.
Hai dogti ôm dat täus en z'n vâders pläk.
Tû zaide: äk zal na häus xâne. Main vâder hät plänti.

In standard modern Dutch:

Een man (kerel) had twee jongens; de ene bleef thuis;
de andere ging voort van huis voor een vermogen.
Hij was niet tevreden thuis en daardoor raakte hij arm.
Hij dacht aan thuis en zijn vaders plek.
Toen zei hij: ik zal naar huis gaan. Mijn vader heeft genoeg.

In English:

A man had two boys. One stayed at home;
the other left home to make his fortune.
He was not content at home and therefore he became poor.
He thought about home and his father's place.
Then he said: I shall go home. My father has plenty.

See also


  2. 1 2 Holm, John A. (1989). Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335–8. ISBN 0-521-35940-6.


  • (in Dutch) Handboek der Nederlandsche taal: Deel I. De sociologische structuur der Nederlandsche taal I., Jac. van Ginneken and L.C.G. Malmberg, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. 1928. Chapter 10: Het Amerikaansch.
  • (in Dutch) Ik was te bissie...Nederlanders en hun taal in de Verenigde Staten: 2.3 Het taalgebruik van de 17e-eeuwse immigranten en hun nakomelingen, Jo Daan, De Walburg Pers. 2007. (Click on link and then scroll down.)
  • Mencken, H.L. The American Language. 1921. Appendix II - Non-English Dialects in America: Dutch

Further reading

  • Bachman, Van Cleaf. 1982. ‘The story of the Low Dutch language’. De Halve Maen 56: 3, 1-3, 21; 57: 1, 10-13.
  • Bachman, Van Cleaf. 1983. ‘What is Low Dutch?’ De Halve Maen 57: 3, 14-17, 23-24.
  • Buccini, Anthony F. 1995. ‘The Dialectical Origins of New Netherland Dutch’. Dutch Linguistics in a Changing Europe. The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1993. Ed. by Thomas Shannon & Johan P. Snapper. Lanham etc., 211-263. (Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies, 8).
  • Noordegraaf, Jan. 2008. 'Nederlands in Noord-Amerika. Over de studie van het Laag Nederlands (Low Dutch)'. Trefwoord, tijdschrift voor lexicografie, December 2008, 1-29. (
  • Prince, J. Dyneley. 1910. ‘The Jersey Dutch dialect’. Dialect Notes 3, 459-484.
  • Prince, J. Dyneley. 1913. ‘A text in Jersey Dutch’. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal en Letterkunde 32, 306-312.
  • Scheltema, Gajus and Westerhuijs, Heleen (eds.),Exploring Historic Dutch New York. Museum of the City of New York/Dover Publications, New York (2011) ISBN 978-0-486-48637-6
  • Shetter, William Z. 1958. ‘A final word on Jersey Dutch’. American Speech 33, 243-251.
  • Storms, James B.H. 1964. A Jersey Dutch vocabulary. Park Ridge, N.J.: Pascack Historical Society
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