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Yodeling of the Indiana Swiss Amish

Chad L. Thompson
Anthropological Linguistics
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Fall, 1996), pp. 495-520
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30028600
Page Count: 26
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Yodeling of the Indiana Swiss Amish
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Abstract

The Old Order Amish of Adams County, Indiana, and to a lesser extent, of Allen County, maintain the practice of yodeling. Yodeling, along with the continued use of an Alemannic German dialect, make the Swiss Amish unique in the Amish world. The practice of yodeling persists because it serves several important functions in the community: it is an accepted form of entertainment in a society that shuns commercial entertainment; it serves as a symbol of separation from the English-speaking world, as well as from the non-Swiss Amish communities; and it serves as a integral part of certain types of social interaction. The yodels themselves can be alyrical (without accompanying song), postlyrical (following lines or verses), or contralyrical (simultaneous with yodeling). The lyrics to yodel songs are typically either in Bernese Swiss or English, but some of the Swiss lyrics have Standard or Pennsylvania German elements.

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