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amish communication

Amish Communication

The Amish live in separate communities, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. They eschew modern conveniences like smartphones and laptop computers. 

If they’re not using text messages, emails, and video calls, how do they communicate with each other and the world? Amish communication, whether with each other or with outsiders, is a fascinating topic. But to understand the answers to these questions, you need a deeper understanding of Amish culture. 

Discover the joys of the Amish lifestyle in this guide to Amish communication. You may learn some new facts. And even how to improve your communication with the world around you. 

What this article covers:

How Do the Amish Communicate with Each Other?

How do the Amish communicate with each other daily? 

Amish Language

The Amish language is called Pennsylvania Dutch. Ever wondered why that is so? When the first Amish settlers arrived in the New World, they brought their language with them. This was back in the 1700s, and the place they chose to settle was Pennsylvania. 

amish communication styles

The majority of Amish people still live here to this day, although they’ve spread out through other rural areas over time. They kept their language alive while making a new home for themselves in North America. 

The Mystery Of Pennsylvania Dutch

Where does the ‘Dutch ’part come in? Honestly, it’s a bit of a mystery. Those first Amish arrivals were an offshoot of the Swiss Anabaptists and therefore spoke an old form of Swiss German. They still use this dialect today, when communicating with each other.

Perhaps, upon hearing their native tongue, their neighbors thought it sounded like Dutch. Or maybe they looked like Dutch settlers that they’d seen elsewhere in the country a century before. Wherever the reason, the name Pennsylvania Dutch was coined, and it stuck.

Handwritten Letters

The Amish generally don’t use the modern technological communication that modern society has come to rely on. They prefer time-honored traditional forms of communication, like hand-written letters. This keeps their language, with all its nuances and complexity, alive.

how do amish communicate

It’s also a personal touch for birthday greetings and well-wishes for newlyweds or even Valentine’s day love letters. Yes, some Amish couples celebrate it, although not in the commercialized way that secular society does.

In-Person Visits

Forget about virtual ‘friends’ on your social media accounts. Amish take their friendships far more seriously and place great value in the meaningful and lasting relationships formed with fellow community members. 

In-person visits are the norm and are usually accompanied by tasty treats - Amish women love to bake. Although church attendance takes up much of their time on Sundays, it’s limited to every second Sunday. The alternate Sundays in between are reserved for family bonding and visiting neighbors and friends.

Different Dialects For Different Settings

When the Amish socialize with each other, they chat and crack jokes much like any other community. They do so in their own language though, Pennsylvania Dutch. When they go to church, the Bible readings and sermons are conducted in High German.

how do amish people communicate

How to Communicate with the Amish

What can you do if you wish to communicate with your Amish neighbors? 

English and the Amish

When the Amish arrived in America, they quickly learned that most of their non-Amish neighbors spoke English. In time, outsiders came to be known as ‘the English’ irrespective of their particular heritage. 

Amish people realize the need to understand the language spoken and understood by most of the American population. That’s why they teach basic English in their Amish schoolhouses. It’s rare to find an Amish person who doesn’t have at least a rudimentary grasp of the English language.

Communicating With Amish People

If you’re considering communicating with your Amish neighbors, be prepared for a culture shock. While some modern New Order Amish have a more relaxed attitude to technology, most Old Order Amish don’t own cell phones and computers.

Some Amish use cell phones for work, and some only for emergencies. In such cases, these are usually ordinary cell phones and not smartphones. But this may differ from one Amish village to the next. In general, Old Order communities don’t allow the ownership or use of cell phones. 

communication of amish 

Amish rules on technology generally forbid such devices, especially in the more conservative communities. Don’t stress about being unable to send them emails or text messages. There are other ways to communicate that have stood the test of time. Let’s look at those now.

The Postal Service

If you thought the postal service was only good for parcels, think again. The postal service came into being for communication. If you’ve never written a letter before or haven't for many years, it’s high time you discovered (or rediscovered) the joys of putting pen to paper.

Ever wondered why the Amish don’t use electricity and technology like everyone else? They know the beauty of a simple life, humility, and genuine friendship. Nothing is quite as simple and yet as heartfelt as a letter. It shows that you took the time and made an effort to communicate.

The Fine Art of Penmanship

You don’t have to handwrite it, of course. You may type and print out your letter, too. But it’s a shame that good penmanship has been lost amid the sea of modern trends. 

communication of amish people

If you have a moment, take a pen and paper and express yourself with the written word. The Amish use this form of communication regularly and would love to see the ‘English’ keeping the tradition alive, too. 

Visits to Their Communities

If you decide to pay a visit to an Amish community. You’ll be made very welcome. 

Contrary to popular belief, the Amish aren’t prejudiced against non-Amish people in the slightest. They love visitors, but keep the following in mind before you drop by, unannounced. 

Respect For Amish Traditions

The Amish have a very strict code that they live by. This set of rules, set out in the Ordnung, is what has kept their culture going for centuries. The years have passed, but little has changed in the day-to-day lives of the Amish. Respect their ways and the faith that their culture is built on.

Communication with the Amish needn’t be lost in translation. Most Amish people are quite fluent in English, having been taught the basics in school. Chances are, you’ll pick up more than a few Pennsylvania Dutch words before you leave, too.

communication style of amish

May the Amish Interact with ‘Outsiders’?

Amish may interact with outsiders, but they generally don’t unless there is a good reason to do so. One of the more common reasons is to do business. The Amish men are talented woodworkers and keen farmers. The women sew, bake and weave beautiful wicker baskets. 

Some of these crafts allow them to earn an income, such as our Amish Baskets initiative.

The Amish baskets you can purchase here are the same authentic hand woven products the Amish use in their homes. Be sure to get a cute Easter basket for your Church’s Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. 

Social Gatherings

You won’t see too many Amish people at social gatherings outside of their communities. But they sometimes attend live folk music concerts and agricultural or craft events in the countryside. If you see them seated on the grass around a vintage picnic basket, go ahead, and say hello.

If you’re nervous about what to talk about, we have some helpful pointers for you, to help get the communication going and flowing. 

communication style of amish people

What Not to Talk About

Avoid asking them if they watched the last football game on tv. It’s not common for Amish to watch tv, as it’s banned from most Amish homes. Some New Order communities may allow it, but it’s rare.

Many Amish men are farmers or carpenters. However, when trying to drum up a conversation, the latest tractors or power tool deals you saw online aren’t ideal topics. 

Do the Amish use tractors? Although their use is sometimes permitted, most Amish farmers don’t use tractors. Can the Amish use power tools for their woodworking projects?  Traditional non-mechanized methods are preferred. 

If you see a group of Amish people there, don’t be afraid to greet them and exchange pleasantries. They love all people and are very sociable. You may make new friends somewhere you never expected to find them.

communication styles amish

What to Talk About

As an icebreaker, start talking about the weather or nature in general. Hunting is a good subject for conversation. Don’t be surprised if you or your family are invited to an Amish hunting trip. 

The only Amish weapons you’ll find in an Amish community are hunting rifles or similar guns. Amish people are pacifists, but they do hunt. However, they would never use a gun against another person.

Alternative energies are a nice, safe topic. The Amish and solar power are good friends. They have a deep interest in alternative energies as they are nature-based and the Amish love nature. This is why so many of them work in agriculture.

communication styles amish people

Business Dealings

Amish people can and do operate their businesses. Sometimes they go into partnerships with non-Amish businesspeople, too. If you are considering such a partnership, discuss their communication preferences with your Amish business partners at the start. It will prevent communication difficulties later.

Amish and computers don’t generally coexist. But despite their avoidance of technology, some Amish communities may allow the use of emails for business purposes. So, don’t worry that you won’t be able to conduct business with them. 

But it’s best to check first, as one community will differ from another in attitudes to modern communication. Don’t let this slight inconvenience put you off doing business with the Amish. They have many skills and talents to share with the world.

amish people communication styles


Amish communication is not as dependent on technology as the world’s communication in general. Whether or not you understand their reasons for that, you have to admit their traditional ways are charming. 

In a world where most people have forgotten the arts of eloquent speech and handwritten notes, Amish communication keeps them alive for future generations. 

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