The first German settlement in Australia was in South Australia in the 1840s. There were no official German translators in those days. German settlers learned English, but kept their own dialect. Many of the first German migrants to the Barossa Valley area of South Australia came from the Brandenburg province of what was then the Kingdom of Prussia. The dialect of the Barossa Germans developed from the original Brandenburg dialect.
While the quaint dialect of the early settlers has almost completely gone these days, there are still some words in use – not just in South Australia – which are thought to have had their origin in Barossa German. You don’t need to be a German English translator to guess their origin!
One word which almost definitely comes from the German is the word used in SA for a glass of beer. The humble 200 ml glass of beer, known as a butcher is based on the German word for a mug or a cup: “becher.” This is one word that hasn’t crept into widespread use despite the same size glass – the old seven-ounce glass – being used across Australia.
Author Dorothy Jauncey describes some of these words in her book “Bardi Grubs and Frog Cakes”. She also mentions the widespread use of the word “fritz” for a sausage and “kuchen” for a cake.
Even some expressions used today in the Barossa Valley are thought to have had their origin in the German brought to the country so long ago. The phrase “Are you coming with” in this part of Australia is derived from the same phrase translated from the German word order “Kommst du mit?”
In Australia today, German is the eighth most widely used language at home: over 70,000 Australians still use the language and the ties between Germany and Australia are strong: anyone today who needs to translate documents from German into English or vice versa will find high-quality German NAATI translators to do the job quickly and efficiently.