Exclusive: Alex Paxton-Beesley who plays Anna Funk talks about Plautdietsch language used on WGN America’s Pure

Pure on WGN
Yo! Alex Paxton-Beesley gives us a primer on Plautdietsch for Pure on WGN America. Pic credit: WGN America

Actor Alex Paxton-Beesley explains the arcane language used by her character on WGN America’s breakout Wednesday night drama, Pure. It is one not heard very often.

WGN America sent Monsters and Critics a really fun behind the scenes clip of America’s drug trafficking drama, Pure.

Playing Mennonites on the show, the actors had to do some serious homework and immerse themselves on the culture, religion and the Plautdietsch language spoken in the series.

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Pure is inspired by true events — about a family of devout Mennonites who get embroiled in the drug trade.

One of the funnier bits of information she shareed is the use of “Yo” by the Mennonites. It is their aloha or hello that these people use commonly.

In this exclusive clip, Alex Paxton-Beesley who plays Anna Funk, the wife of Noah Funk, tells us what she needed to do to become her character.

Pure - Language backgrounder

In Pure, the quiet Mennonite life is intruded upon by this windfall of cash illegal business. And the series unspools the Funk family’s life as the intrusion of the outside world gets so very real and so fast.

Pure: Meet Anna Funk

She has to, first of all, figure out what’s actually going on around her and once she does and she gets brought into the loop, the problems of running drugs and the business side of it all just magnify.

Anna is also the mother of Tina and Itzhak Funk. And when we first meet her, she appears as a very typical Mennonite wife and mother, devoted and quietly submissive. Her intense business acumen reveals itself over the course of the series.

Plautdietsch, also known as Mennonite Low German, is a dialect of East Low German with Dutch influence that developed in the 16th and 17th centuries in Royal Prussia.

Plautdietsch was adopted by Mennonite settlers to the south west of the Russian Empire starting in 1789. Mass migration brought it to North America and even Latin America in the early 20th century.

Plautdietsch is spoken in Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Belize, Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Canada.

Of note, Homer Groening, Matt Groening’s dad (creator of The Simpsons), spoke Plautdietsch as a child in a Mennonite community in Saskatchewan.

In the series’ notes from WGN America, Anna is described as the fierce mama bear of which there is nothing that will stop her.

It is clear from the action that there is nothing she will not do to protect her family and that she has a deft facility for figures and managing a complicated business.

Pure is a surprisingly adept gut punch of dramatic intrigue and worlds colliding in unlikely ways.

The series reveals the noose tightening and tightening around the Funk family as they venture into a world wildly different than their modest agricultural and pious ways, and it is the stuff of a great original drama that we heartily recommend you record and watch.

Pure airs Wednesdays at 10:00 PM ET/9:00 PM CT on WGN America.

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