They had to teach us English first

Mr. Manderfeld talks about his experience growing up and learning the English language.

Audio Chapters

DL: You were German/American. Did your family ever talk about the family back in Germany?

WM: No, no. My parents were all born here so it was just my great grandfather or whatever… But I never got to really know him. He passed away in 1932 so I never did get to know him.

DL: Did your parents speak English or German?

WM: German.

DL: Do you still speak it?

WM: Oh yes. Wherever there are people around in the neighborhood that talk German, we still talk all German.

DL: Do you have children?

WM: Yes.

DL: Do they speak German?

WM: No, they might make out a few syllables here and there but no. At the time I was in school, I guess the schools didn’t want the kids to…they wanted [them] to be brought up in the English language I suppose. But when I started kindergarten or first grade, it was a good thing we had German teachers because we didn’t… they had to teach us English first. {Laughter}

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Willard Manderfeld Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, MN | Thursday, August 11, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. They had to teach us English first June 23, 2024.

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