Kansas Map with German
Settlement Areas Identified

From J. Neale Carman's Foreign Language Units of Kansas, Vol. 1. Historical Atlas and Statistics. 1962.
(Click the map to enlarge it.)

J (Justice) Neale Carman (1897-1972) was Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Kansas (KU) from 1918-1966. From 1948-1958, Carman undertook a project to document the extent of foreign language usage in Kansas. He and his research team visited 500 locations in Kansas during their decade of fieldwork. The Foreign Language Units of Kansas project was realized in 3 parts:
Vol 1 - Historical Atlas and Statistics (the only volume to be published) - 1962.
Vol 2 - Account of Settlements in Kansas - 1974 (unpublished microfiche).
Vol 3 - European and American Background - 1974 (unpublished microfiche).

In his General Introduction to Volume 1, Carman writes "the Historical Atlas presents facts showing where settlements that originally spoke some other language than English are to be found in Kansas, when they originated, and most particularly, how, why, and with what chronology they evolved from almost exclusive use of the immigrant languages through bilingualism to speaking nothing but English." (Vol 1,pg 1). Carman determines a so-called "critical year" for every non-English speaking group settlement in Kansas. The "critical year" is the approximate date by which time only about half of the families with children in a given community were still using the immigrant language or dialect regularly in the home. Carman's work has been invaluable in pointing the way since 1980 for German dialect researchers at KU to target where to find remaining speakers of German in Kansas.

Unindexed digital images of all 3 volumes are currently available in Adobe PDF format to KU Scholarworks.

Last updated on January 15, 2012.