Der Mennonitendichter Arnold Dyck in seinen Werken
This thesis attempts to evaluate the role of the Low-German dialect as a medium for poetic expression, and to assess the achievements of Arnold Dyck as the most representative of Mennonite writers through interpretative consideration of his main works. Since all of Dyck's writings are concerned with Mennonite themes and most of them are in Low-German, the opening chapters of this thesis deal briefly with the history, the customs and the language of this ethno-religious group. The first Mennonite colonists from the Danzig area settled in the southern steppes of the Ukraine in the latter part of the eighteenth century. They were farmers, artisans and craftsmen. As a result of their toil and perseverance their colonies developed into thriving communities of farm villages. In time the colonies diversified their agricultural enterprises by developing farm-oriented industries. The pioneer years of economic and cultural austerity made way for a greater prosperity and kindled an interest in higher education and culture... While High-German was used in schools and in church services, the vernacular of the Mennonites remained Low-German, which they had brought with them from Danzig. As a result of the Mennonite transmigration loan words of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian origin found their way into their Mundart. The consequence was a unique dialect which effectively separated the Mennonites linguistically, not only from their Russian and Ukrainian neighbors but also from other German colonists. This development contributed to the cultural inbreeding of the Mennonites in Russia (and later also in Canada), but at the same time also served to strengthen their identification with their own cultural environment...