Pennsylvania Dutch Dictionary

Custom Pennsylvania Dutch Dictionary for Microsoft Word

Click here to download a custom Pennsylvania Dutch dictionary (last updated January 30, 2023) for Microsoft Word.

By adding this file to Microsoft Word, as explained below, Microsoft Word will check the spelling of Pennsylvania Dutch words you type in any document.

Instructions on How to Add the Custom Dictionary to Microsoft Word

First, you should save the custom dictionary in the folder where Word keeps custom dictionaries. Although this step is not necessary (Word can access a custom dictionary saved in any folder on your computer), it is best to store it where Microsoft recommends that you save it.

Microsoft Word maintains custom dictionaries in the following places (in Windows computers):


C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof\

The first location above is the likely place where you should copy the custom dictionary after you have downloaded it. This is where modern (within the last 10 years) versions of Microsoft Word keep custom dictionaries. If this location does not exist, try the second location above. If neither of these locations exist, use an Internet search engine to find the location for custom dictionaries for your version of Microsoft Word.

Second, you need to tell Microsoft Word to start using the custom Pennsylvania Dutch dictionary.

In versions of Word prior to Word 2007:

  1. Click the Tools->Options menu item.
  2. Click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  3. Click the Custom Dictionaries button.
  4. Click the Add button.
  5. Navigate to the dictionary, select it and click the Open button. The dictionary should now be added to the dictionary list box.
  6. To be in use, it has to have a check in its checkbox.
  7. Click OK.

In Word 2007 and later:

  1. Click on the File menu in the upper-left corner of the window, or if it doesn't exist, on the round Office button in the upper-left corner of the window.
  2. Click the Word Options button.
  3. Click Proofing.
  4. Continue as in Step 3 above for versions of Word prior to Word 2007.

Notes on Orthographies

Spell checking Pennsylvania Dutch text can be difficult because of the variety of spelling rules employed by the various orthographies of the dialect. Writers often employ the Buffington-Barba orthography, which is generally detailed in their grammar. There is some uncertainty regarding the rules of their orthography, which has led to small differences in the spellings of words in works that follow their orthography.

Rules are valuable in determining how words should be spelled. The most complete set of spelling rules is provided in C. Richard Beam et al.’s, The Comprehensive Pennsylvania German Dictionary. It seems most logical, therefore, to follow such an orthography, which is called the Buffington-Barba-Beam orthography. We have tried to do so with this dictionary, although there are some differences, as noted elsewhere on this site.

By creating an electronic dictionary, we have been able to programmatically create a list of all of the words in the dictionary on this site and to conjugate them per the rules of Pennsylvania Dutch. The result is a comprehensive list of Pennsylvania Dutch words.

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