Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 17:37:28 -0500
From: Mike Salovesh
Subject: Re: go with

charles fritz juengling wrote:

> Check Dialect Notes vol 2 part 2 page 118. This is found in the mouth of
> nearly every Minnesotan. It is attributed to German "Gehst du mit?' or
> Norwegian "Vil du gaa med?" I have never heard it anywhere outside of
> Minnesota and my wife's family in Oregon. However, my father-in-law is
> from MN, so my wife's siblings must have gotten it from him. I don't think
> it's an Oregonism. BTW, South African English also has 'go with' where it
> is attributed to Dutch/Afrikaans 'meegaan.' I had never heard of 'go with'
> used outside MN or S Af (and my wife's family in Oregon) until the
> reference to Trenton and Long Island.
> I would never use it.

My wife's speech has both "go with" and "come with". I noted the usage
when we first met (49 years ago!) and immediately attributed it to some
kind of German influence. (It may be that I was influenced by the fact
that we were both taking German I, and were in the same class at the

Eventually, I asked her about where she picked up this expression. She
attributed it to her (distant in time) Pennsylvania Dutch relatives.
That may have been true, but I always suspected some Minnesota influence
there, too: she spent her first six or seven years in Moorhead and St.
Paul. She didn't think it came from her grandmother, born in Germany.
True enough, when I got to know her grandmother, I didn't notice either
"go with", "come with", or any frank Germanisms in her speech.

My wife's grandmother's distinctly un-German English is probably
attributable to her experiences around World War I, when all kinds of
funny things happened to German-derived expressions in U.S. speech.
Historically, Germany was the origin of many (perhaps most) pre-1900
immigrants to Chicago. In a flurry of demonstrating pure American
patriotism during WW I, thousands of Schmidts became Smiths; hamburgers
were called victory burgers; frankfurters gave way to hot dogs; and on
and on. The same course of events led to the abandonment of bilingual
ed in Chicago public schools, which until 1916 or 1917 graduated lots of
students whose classes were conducted in German (or Polish or Yiddish,
that I've heard about, and perhaps Italian, besides) all the way through
8th grade. (And, in those years, eighth grade was as far as many
students ever went: truancy laws only went that far.)

-- mike salovesh
anthropology department
northern illinois university PEACE !!!