The Fourth International Conference on Romani Linguistics

'Romani in the Context of General Linguistics'

took place at

the University of Manchester

September 2-5, 1998


Academic Committee:

The conference was supported by the British Academy, the University of Manchester Research and Graduate Support Unit, the Linguistic Association of Great Britain, and the Department of Linguistics

Selected papers will be published in the following collection:

Elsik, Viktor, & Matras, Yaron, eds. Grammatical relations in Romani: The noun phrase. To be published by John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam.

Papers from previous international conferences on Romani linguistics have been published in the following collections:

Conference abstracts:

The history and classification of Domari Language, a preliminary overview.

Amjad Abu Nseir

This paper will present a critical summary of the various description of the Domari Language and people, and their history. It will also examine the validity of the hypothesis that the ancestors of the Doma left India in the 5th century, and will examine the claim most recently made by Hancock that the Domari people and the Romani people represent two quite independent migrations out of India at two quite different historical periods and geographical routes. In the support of this, I will present an evidence from various non-English language sources and conclusions based on my own lexical and basic phonological analysis.


Language and dialect classification - the special challenge of Romani

Peter Bakker

There is a tradition in linguistics of classifying languages according to shared, inherited traits. This is the case both for classifying languages into families of related languages and for internal classification of dialects of a language. Grouping languages or dialects together should be based on shared lexical elements as well as shared grammatical features.
Romani deviates from the general pattern in that dialect classification cannot always proceed along the traditional lines. Romani poses a number of special problems which I want to discuss in my presentation. Two have to do with the internal classification of Romani dialects, and the third one with its relationship to the languages of India.
The first problem concerns the status of the so-called Para-Romani languages. The Para-Romani languages are only lexically related to Romani, and as such not dialects of Romani proper. These have to be considered as a separate group: they cannot be classified on the basis of the grammatical system, but only on the basis of their vocabulary. Nevertheless, using lexical and underlying phonological similarities, these dialects are usually linkable to certain branches of Romani dialects.
The second problem in classification is the fact that many dialect differences within Romani are caused by language contact. Influences from other languages play an important role in the internal classification of Romani dialects. On the other hand, contact influence may have deceptive effects on Romani classification. On the other hand, the presence of shared subsets of loanwords from certain languages are often used as tools in Romani dialect classification - this method is not used in other regional or genetic groupings, but it is certainly useful in the case of Romani. Nevertheless, it is only valid if supplemented by other information, such as shared grammatical features.
Even though Romani is not spoken in contiguous areas, the dialects of Romani do not show a chaotic mess. Everywhere (except parts of the Balkan) can we detect areal features, only some of which can be related to contact-induced influences from non-Romani languages.
As for the classification of the Romani language among the Indic languages, the apparent lack of regularity (sound laws) between Romani and the related languages of the Indian subcontinent have been mentioned as a problem for the Indic status of Romani. It appears, however, that one encounters the same problems with the internal classification of the Indo-Aryan languages of India. There is at least one point in which the internal classification of Romani makes use of a strategy that is not common in other fields, and perhaps unique. This is the use of layers of loanwords from European languages in order to link Romani dialects historically and genetically. I will argue that the use of these methods is valid, but they have to be used carefully.


The Nature of Romani Dialects

Norbert Boretzky

Romani dialects appear to behave differently from dialects of other European languages in that they do not show the same relationship to neighbouring dialects as dialects of other languages normally do. The differences are the following:
i. there are no transitional zones between related dialects; ii. there is no regular spatial variation within one dialect; iii. the dialects of one group cannot be classified into subgroups.

At least, this is the impression we get from the study of Balkan dialects. It will have to be examined whether all dialect groups behave this way.
The reason for this behaviour seems to be that, since the immigration to Europe, Romani did not cover coherent regions; rather, the Roma settled in separate places, and did not necessarily maintain contact with groups once related to them. Due to later, less extensive migrations groups/dialects not closely related came into contact (and influenced one another to a certain degree), whereas contacts between speakers of the same dialect might have been cut off completely. This resulted in what we my call ³insular dialects², as opposed to (the normal) ³areal dialects². Thus, related dialects which are spoken in different places and have no regular contacts are held together by a network of partially common features: these do not allow to draw isoglosses which would run more or less parallel, or would even form isogloss bundles, allowing subgrouping.


Deriving Inchoatives and Passives in Slovak and Hungarian Romani

Vít Bubeník and Milena Hübschmannová

Inchoatives (verbs of becoming) and passives in Slovak and Hungarian Romani are derived by the suffix -ov. Some proposals regarding its Middle Indo-Aryan source, and its relationship to Hungarian Romani ov-en ³to become, be² (in Slovak Romani only its grammaticalized form, the suffix -ov exists) will be offered. The description of its allormorphs in several regional varieties will follow.
This large group of verbs may be viewed as consisting of (i) derivatives based on participles, and (ii) derivatives based on adjectives. Within (i) and (ii) one may further distinguish among those based on (i.1) participles of lost primary verbs (1.2) participles of intransitive verbs (i.3) participles of transitive verbs (with further subcategories of causativized participles in av-d-o, and participles of compound verbs in -d-n-o (i.4) participles of so-called Œpsyche¹ verbs (ii.1) primary (e.g. kal-o ³black²) (ii.2) and secondary (e.g. bar-ikan-o ³haughty²) adjectives.
It will be shown that in (1.1) one may derive factitives (e.g. *pa” > pa”-l¹-ol ³lie² pa”-l¹-ar-el ³place² but, normally, NOT in (i.3) (mar-d-o Œbe ³be beaten² > *mar-d¹-ar-el, but pher-d-o ³full² > pher-d¹-ol ³become full² > pher-d¹-ar-el ³fill up²).
On the other hand, with adjectival bases in (ii.1) and (ii.2) one may freely recycle inchoatives as factitives (bar-ikan-o > bar-ikaÀ-o-l ³boast² > bar-ikaÀ-ar-el (pes) ³give haughty airs²).
In (i.4) the suffix -ov derives semelfactive counterparts to basic Œpsych¹ verbs (denoting a single occurrence of an action denoted by the basic verb): asa-l ³smile² > asa-nd-o ³smiling² > asa-nd¹-o-l ³give a smile, smile once².
A general discussion of polesemy of the mediopassive suffix -ov (inchoative, reflexive, passive, semelfactive) will conclude our paper.


External Possession in Romani

Mily Crevels and Peter Bakker

External possession is a phenomenon in which ³a semantic possessor-possessed relation is expressed by coding the possessor as a core grammatical relation of the verb, and in a constituent separate from that which contains the possessed item ...² (Doris Payne (1977). It is found in languages in all parts of the world, including Europe.
König and Haspelmath (1997) clearly show the extent of areal spread of external possession constructions with dative possessors in the languages of Europe. Among others it is found in the Balkan languages Bulgarian, Rumanian, Albanian and Greek. In this light it is not surprising that certain dialects of Romani show the phenomenon as well, as exemplified for BugurdÏi in (1).
(1) BugurdÏi (Boretzky) 1993: 26)
I raçake pej i kundra.
the girl.DAT fell the shoe
ŒThe girl¹s shoe fell.¹

In our fieldwork on the Terzi Mahalla (Prizren, Kosovo) dialect of Romani, however, we have found no signs of the forementioned phenomenon. In our paper we will explore external possession in Romani. In doing so we will use data from our fieldwork as well as from the published literature. We will discuss our data both in relation to the Balkan languages as to recent typological findings on the phenomenon.


Romani nominal paradigms: their structure, diversity and development

Viktor Elsík

The paper intends to discover general principles in the structure of Romani nominal paradigms, with particular regard to inflectional subclassification. Universal, typologically determined (cf. El”ík 1997), language-specific, and dialect-specific phenomena are identified in various Romani dialects and in different model stages of development (A, B and C, and in some dialects D) of Romani nominal morphology. Genetic, contact-induced, and areal determinations are distinguished. Special attention is paid to the interaction between inherited (Indic) and borrowed (Greek and later) morphological devices in the domain of word-form segmentation, paradigm structure, and subclassification. The paper adopts the theoretical gains of natural morphology (e.g. Wurzel 1984, Bybee 1985), paradigm-oriented morphology (e.g. Carstairs 1991, Plank 1991) as well as morphology-based typology (e.g., Skaliãka 1979) and hopes to contribute to them in a few points. Concepts of macroparadigm, cumulative exponence, the paradigm economy principle etc. are used and tested against Romani evidence.
Comparison with Subcontinental Indo-Aryan is carried out in order to evaluate the genetic input in the area of Romani nominal morphology (e.g., the inherited split in encoding of the subject -- direct object relation, viz. distinctness vs. homonymy, as a hyperparadigmatic phenomenon of semantico-pragmatic character [cf. Matras 1997]; differing patterns of paradigmatic syncretism; inherited and developed suppletion in personal pronouns; etc.). Proto-Romani (Stage A) noun declension is reconstructed to involve half a dozen subclasses, where stable inflectional classes (based on extramorphological criteria) are carried by categorial marker subclassification, while stem formative subclassification constitutes complementary classes with the potential of a change of class membership (which has been later realized in some dialects, cf. de-iotization in Ajia Varvara, Eastern Slovakia Romani etc.).
The new pattern of loan-word integration (cf. Bakker 1997), apart from being typologically unique, has brought new structures into Romani (Stage B). Markers borrowed from Greek increased the number of noun classes, caused re-segmentation of word-forms, and, consequently, a new type of subclassification (Œexponencial¹) emerged. It seems that the Stage B marker borrowing could be selective in some respects. Base form markers of words borrowed later (Stage C) only adapted to the Stage B pattern, while nominative plural markers were borrowed as morphological segments of a new type. Generally, marker borrowing from Greek and later contact languages has taken place in accord with the degree of categorially determined contact-sensitivity. Stage C contact-induced processes seem to be recursive (cf. Boretzky & Igla 1991). - An indirect consequence of marker borrowing is the process of intraparadigmatic assimilation or levelling, one type of which (viz. intercasual vocalic assimilation in the singular of [some] borrowed masculines: -es-> -os-) must be assigned to Stage B. Other types of assimilation, which could also affect the inherited noun morphology, took place in the individual dialects or dialect groups (e.g., internumeral vocalic assimilation in some Vlax dialects). Some of them have profoundly changed the word-form structure of nouns in some dialects (cf. bimorphemic formant of pap-en-ge Œto grandfathers¹ in Eastern Slovakia Romani vs. innovative trimorphemic formant with the move of the stem boundary in BugurdÏi papu-j-en-ge).
Morphological effects of dialect specific phonological changes (palatalization, metathesis, contraction, aspiration etc.) are also discussed. There is an indication that the contact-induced loss of the conservative stress-pattern (which had been a reliable signal of the borrowed vs. inherited dichotomy in nominals ever since Stage B) in some dialects, is one of the factors contributing to the shift to Stage D, which manifests itself in wide interparadigmatic levelling, weakening of the Stage B adaptation pattern, and in a full(er) integration of loan-words (e.g. in Roman).


The standard (mis-)conception of Swedish Romani: The sociopolitical conditioning of linguistic interpretations

Kari Fraurud and Kenneth Hyltenstam

Swedish Romani is an intertwined variety of Romani, similar to, for example, Angloromani. By the out-group majority, employing the derogative term used for the group, this variety has been referred to as the 'tattare' language, while the speakers themselves call their language Rommani. In the mid 1940's two opposed views were formulated on the origin and status of Swedish Romani (Etzler, 1944 and Gjerdman, 1945 respectively). According to Etzler, basing himself on original linguistic and historical data, this variety is spoken by descendants of the Gypsies arriving in Sweden in the 16'th century. It is the outcome of a continuous intertwining of an originally inflected form of Romani with Swedish. We would like to call this the continuity view. According to Gjerdman, who rejects Etzler's analysis, the variety has become reduced to a register of socially marginalized groups, only possibly including descendents from "the old Gypsy stock", which he assumes had ceased to exist (p. 14f). It has received its current shape through incorporation of Romani lexical material into Swedish. We would like to call this the discontinuity view.
In spite of the fact that Gjerdman, a linguist, opposes Etzler mainly on the basis of Dahlberg's (1944) antropometrical data, rather than on additional linguistic or historical data, the discontinuity view was largely accepted by Academia and the Establishment alike, and has remained the standard view up until today. The vigour with which this view has been cherished can be understood only in the light of dominating sociopolitical currents at the time and more immanent ideologies of homogeneity in Sweden.
This paper presents a critical examination of the linguistic and extra-linguistic arguments that have been put forward in support of the discontinuity view and discusses the sociopolitical conditioning for this view to achieve general acceptance. In particular we would like to draw attention to what we perceive as a difference between the majority society's attitudes towards Swedish Romani and attitudes towards intertwined varieties elsewhere.


Pronominal Object Reduplication (Prolepsis and Resumption) in Romani

Victor A. Friedman

The proleptic and resumptive use of object pronouns is a feature of the Balkan languages that is both often cited as a defining characteristic of the linguistic area and yet, like infinitive replacement, not grammaticalized to the same extent from language to language. Thus, for example, it is more highly grammaticalized in Albanian, Macedonian, and Vlah but more frequently (albeit not necessarily always) determined by discourse rather than syntactic functions (e.g. focus rather than definiteness) in Bulgarian, Greek, and Romanian. It has been observed that similar phenomena occur in Western Romance, although this clearly does not account for the presence of the feature in Balkan Slavic, Greek, and Albanian. Reduplicative object pronouns do not appear to occur in Balkan Turkish, but they are found in Romani, as can be seen in the following examples:
Jek daj sine la duj chhave. 'A mother had [lit. was her] two children.'
Man si man jekh kher. 'I have [lit. Me is me] a house'
BUT ALSO: Si man jekh kher.

E Rifatos pendzharav, e chhaja da pendzharav, ama man ma axmize man kidisave bucende ridzhaj kerav tuke. 'I know Rifat and I know his daughter, but [me] don't mix me up in this business, I beg of you.'
O melalo pani na piena le ni o dzhungale ruva. 'Even the wicked bears do not drink [it] the dirty water.'
Djas les i chirikli ekh paradhighma e rakles. 'The bird gave [him] the boy an example.'
O Rom kaj dikhljum ole... 'The Rom that I saw [him]...' E Romen dende olen po anav Egjupci... 'They called [them] the Roms Egyptian...' BUT Ki Francija e Romen dende po anav Boemi. 'In France they called the Roms Bohemians.'
Although the phenomenon has been noted in various Romani dialects, it has not received any particular attention. This paper will examine pronominal object reduplication in a variety of Romani dialects with a view to determining both distribution and function in both a Romani and a general linguistic context.


Notes on Finnish Romani Phonology

Kimmo Granqvist

The aim of this paper is to describe some main features of the segmental phonology of the Finnish Romani language. This paper proposes a phoneme inventory of Finnish Romani. In addition to this, phoneme frequencies are calculated on the basis of eight computerized corpora (74,558 words) available at the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. Five of the corpora are SGML-coded dictionaries, whereas three corpora include passages from the Bible translated into Finnish Romani. Some phonotactic constraints are also described; the description includes statistics on consonant sequences found in the corpora. Position, vowel adherence, combinability and order analyses are presented.


On the margins of linguistics: the response to Romani in Anglo-American linguistics, 1920-1945, or the Œgipsy dialect¹ syndrome

Anthony P. Grant

In this paper I discuss some of the work on Romani which appeared in this period, and the responses which it evoked in the linguistic fora of Britain and America, which were then in the forefront of advances in descriptive linguistics. That the most common response was one of silence - the absence from leading journals of reviews of important works in the field or of articles by such investigators - is a little surprising when one considers that several notable linguistics of the time paid attention to Romani in print, and indeed some, such as Bloomfield, carried out fieldwork. In contrast, a considerable amount of work was being carried out in Europe, not least in Central and Eastern Europe. What work was being carried out on Romani in Britain and America was largely anecdotal or piecemeal, and tended to be discussed in less prestigious outlets such as the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. The bulk of the original work was carried out as a supplementary project by specialists in Slavonic or other European languages, whereas Indologists mostly relied on previously published materials as the basis for their conclusions. The great effort of production of materials on Indian languages by scholars such as J R Firth and T G Bailey passed Romani by almost completely.
I list reasons for the general neglect of Romani by linguistics in Anglophone areas at this time. The prevailing attitude that varieties of Romani, or Œgipsy dialects¹, were curious rather than important topics of linguistic investigation, is examined and reasons are given for the perpetuation of a patronising romantic stereotype - and one which is by no means dead.


Interrogative intonation and invitation formula in Sofia-Erli. A comparison with a Bulgarian Kalderas dialect.

Evelina Grigorova

Intonation is a subject of increasing importance in fields from syntax to speech recognition. Since the mid-1970s several lines of research have converged on a set of broadly shared assumptions and methods, and studies on a variety of languages are now yielding new discoveries expressed in comparable terms.
Romanes intonation scarcely has been within the scope of linguistics for the last two decades. This article aims at ³filling-up² that gap within the framework of the autosegmental intonational model (Pierrehumbert & Liberman 1984). Recent study of a Bulgarian Kaldera” dialect has shown interesting interrogative intonational patterns, especially of the ³yes-no²-questions (Grigorova 1996). A comparison between these specific tunes (e.g. L+H* !H-L% for the ³yes-no²-questions) and the interrogative intonation of Sofia-Erli reveals some differences and similarities between both dialects: the former can be explained by the different contact languages, the letter can be considered as a general evidence for the common prosodic origin of both dialects.


Strategies of rendering aspect in Romani

Birgit Igla

The verbal category of aspect is highly developed in Slavonic languages. Although there are no obvious (morphological) means for rendering aspect in Romani, dialects in contact with Slavonic languages show tendencies to copy the aspectual system of their contact languages.
The paper will focus on the means of rendering aspect that have arisen in Romani dialects influenced by Bulgarian. The complex interaction between tense, aspect and manner of action (Aktionsart) in Bulgarian, realized by morphological means (prefixes, suffixes) has given rise to numerous techniques to express an aspectual distinction in Romani, too. The degree of influence depends - among other - on the syntactic context (e.g. subordinate vs. main clause).
Borrowing verbal prefixes, widespread among Romani dialects under German or Russian influence, seems to be a random phenomenon that operates rather on a lexical than on a grammatical level. A pure aspectual differentiation can be rendered by means like tense transposition, and - in some dialects - by exploiting the opposition between long and short forms of the present tense. These strategies are to be described rather as tendencies than as obligatory devices and they operate mostly on the level of single dialects.


Romani genitives in a cross-linguistic prospective

Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm

The so called Romani genitives have been subject to intensive discussion as to whether they should be analysed as inflected forms of nouns or derived adjectives, since they combine typical features of these two types of adnominals. Thus, in English, royal in the royal concubines is an adnominal that is clearly an adjective while king's in the king's concubines is equally clearly a noun. To mention only some properties, relevant for English, distinguishing them:
-- adjectival adnominals are modifying expressions, answering to the question "which?", while nominal adnominals are themselves referring expressions, answering to the question "whose?" (but simultaneously they also modify, also answering to "which?");
-- adjectival adnominals are not available for cross-reference while nominal ones are (the *royal / king's concubines eloped with his [i.e. the king's] majordomo); -- adjectival adnominals show no number opposition while nominal ones do (the king's / kings' concubines);
-- adjectival adnominals show no definiteness opposition while nominal ones do (the / a king's concubines);
-- adjectival adnominals may not induce definiteness on the NPs containing them while nominal ones may (the king's concubine" = 'the / *a concubine of the king');
-- adjectival adnominals are modified by adverbs (the eminently royal concubines) while nominal ones are modified by adjectives (the eminent king's concubines);
-- adjectival adnominals cannot normally take other typically nominal dependents ('the former king of England's concubines'.)
-- adjectival adnominals, when non-basic, are derivational forms (perhaps suppletively, such as royal) while nominal ones are inflectional forms or forms in syntactic construction with words, perhaps clitic ones, marking their adnominal function;
-- adjectival adnominals take adjectival while nominal ones take nominal derivational morpology (the un-royal concubines, the ex-king's concubines).
But even in languages which clearly distinguish between these two polar types, not all adnominals are instances of one of them. In English, for example, adnominals in -ian based on proper names, as in the Shakespearian tragedies, are predominantly adjectival but they share some properties with nouns. Possessive adjectives in -in/-ov in Russian are even stranger: they are referring and are available for cross-reference, but at the same time have a typical adjectival property of case-number-gender agreement with their head.
I will look at the behaviour of genitives in various Romani dialects and compare them with other adnominals coming from a wide range of languages whose word-class is in between those of prototypical adjectives and prototypical nouns.


Early Acquisition of Romani Morphology

Hristo Kyuchukov

Acquisition of Morphology by children is an area which is well investigated for many different languages, but there is no research done for the Romani language.
The paper will focus on acquisition of the Erlij Romani dialect of Sofia, Bulgaria. For this purpose 4 children between 1:0 - 1:6 were recorded for 6 months (twice per month). Their recordings ended in 43 hours tape recordings, which were transcribed and partly analyzed.
The paper will present evidence from the acquisition of: -endings for plural (nouns and verbs); -case markers.


Romani and language universals

Yaron Matras

Many take the view that Romani is an exceptional language, formed and developed under exceptional circumstances, having exceptional structures and functions. Terms such as ³lexically deficient² or ³grammatically parasitic² reflect some of these notions. However one might judge such choice of terms, it is quite clear that Romani does indeed have a particular history of contact and transmission, and it is in principle possible or even likely that this history could have influenced its structural formation.
My purpose in discussing Romani in the light of some observations on language universals is twofold: First, to investigate whether some deviations from language universals are due to the particular circumstances under which Romani has developed, which might justify exemption from otherwise universally applicable rules, or rather whether exceptions might be accounted for through modifications to formulated universals of languages. Second, the paper considers whether Romani might provide some additional details and insights hitherto not considered in universal accounts, especially with regard to the transitional stages between linguistic types.
The data discussed relate to hierarchies of animacy, pragmatic saliency, local relations, event independence and integration, control, and structural borrowing. These are discussed in connection with postulated universals of linear order (Greenberg 1966), structural borrowing (Moravcsik 1978, Thomason & Kaufman 1988), case and thematic roles (Keenan & Comrie 1977, Dik 1978, Blake 1994), and information packaging and semantic constraints on clause combining and complementation (Givón 1984/1990, Wierzbicka 1988).


Indic Languages outside India: Romani, Parya and Dumaki

John Payne

The various Romani dialects are not the only Indic languages spoken by (formerly) itinerant communities outside India. In addition to Romani, we have Parya, still maintained by over a thousand speakers in central Tajikistan and apparently historically related to dialects of Rajasthani (Oranskij 1977, Payne 1997), and Dumaki, hurriedly documented by Lorimer (1939) and spoken at that time by approximately 330 speakers in Hunza and Nagar.
As in the Romani dialects, there are lexical borrowings into Parya and Dumaki from the languages in which they have been or are currently in contact: in the case of Parya, primarily Tajiki, and in the case of Dumaki, Burushaski and Shina.
In this paper, however, we consider the most salient grammatical developments in each language which have not occurred in the languages of central India. Because of the different contact languages involved, it is hoped to distinguish and characterise those changes which might be attributed directly to contact.


Romani words in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Jutta Pistor

I would like to give a brief presentation of the Romani element in the Eastern Scottish-English Borders. During the fieldwork stage of my ongoing PhD project about ŒLanguage attitudes across the Scottish-English Border: Focus on Berwick-upon-Tweed¹, I chanced upon a number of collections of ³Berwick words², most of them compiled by pupils at Berwick High School, some also by adult inhabitants of Berwick. A large part of the items contained in these lists turned out to be of Romani origin, a fact of which many of the Berwick inhabitants I spoke to were well aware.
From personal communication I gained the impression that the distribution of this vocabulary is very much limited to Berwick, and within the town to the speech of the youngest generation.
I felt that these matters warranted further investigation, and in spite of the fact that they are somewhat beside my line of research, I included a list of 50 words drawn from the collections mentioned above at the end of my attitudinal questionnaire. Informants were asked whether they knew the words, used them, who else used them and in which area they were used. This list contained 17 of the 33 Romani words from the original sources.
An analysis of this part of the questionnaire, which was distributed in the Eastern Borders, mainly in Berwick-upon-Tweed, but also in Eyemouth and Duns (Scotland) and in Alnwick (England), has shown that the views of the Berwick inhabitants about the distribution of these words seem to be based on the fact: informants from the youngest generation generally know all or almost all of the Romani words, and quite a lot of them claim frequently to use the words as well, while older informants know fewer words on the whole and claim that they do not use them, or only rarely. I shall discuss the pros and cons of classifying this vocabulary as an instance of youth language.
Comparing the results from the three different areas one finds that only a handful are well-known outside Berwick (coustie, deek, gadgie, ladged), and that informants from Scotland know the fewest Romani words, with Alnwick assuming an intermediate position. To conclude this matter, possible explanations for the considerable number of Romani words in Berwick will be considered.


On the Category of Aspectuality in Slovak Romani

Anna Racová

When defining verb as an independent part of speech the category of aspect is often considered as one of the crucial categories. This category has been particularly thoroughly described in Slavic languages. They have become a starting point for the study of aspect in some non-Slavic languages, e.g. Chatterji in Bengali (1988) or PoÞízka in Hindi (1967-69). In Slovak Romani, V. Bubenik tried to show that the verbal system is dichotomized along the parameter of perfectivity (1996). Although in Slovak Romani there exist perfective forms in past tense (kerd'om), they have no imperfective oposition; preterite (keravas) is unmarked with regard to verbal aspect, it has no inherent aspect-meaning, it is neutral in respect to verbal aspect. This is also valid for other verbal forms (present, futurum). Therefore it is considered as more suitable to base the description of Slovak Romani verb on a broader category, i.e. category of aspectuality reflecting a mode of progression of verbal action. According to this criterion the mode of progression of verbal action (limited, unlimited), iterativity and determination of action (in time and place) are considered as substantial features of Slovak Romani verbs. The category of intention has a distinct lexico-semantic character and belongs more to the sphere of derivation.


A preliminary typology of genres in the oral culture of children living in a traditional Gypsy community.

Zita Réger

For more than ten years, audio- and video recordings of story telling and games have been made in various groups of children living in traditional Romani speaking communities in Hungary (see Réger and Gleason, 1991). Data amount to about 40 hours of recorded speech - a unique collection of child discourse in Romani (called the Romani Child Discourse Corpus). From this corpus, 12 hours of recordings collected among 5 - 16 year old Romani speaking children in the Gypsy settlement of a city in North-East Hungary have been transcribed and analyzed in order to find out some culture-specific discourse types or ³genres² and their relationship to the basic ways of speaking in a traditional Romani-speaking community (Stewart, 1997). Attempt at distinguishing genres have been made on the basis of topic as well as some prominent structural and pragmatic characteristics of the texts, and some typical feature of their performance in play. Some of the most typical genres identified along these lines were the following: a type of highly ritualized ³holy game² (called in this research the ³anvil game²); traditional story telling with varying subjects (holy characters and/or traditional protagonists); stories of own life as well as narratives about prototypical community events (called ³Scenes of everyday life² in the present typology), both framed as ³narrative² by particular verbal formulae; formal conversation representing proper verbal behaviour in prototypical community events (called here ³conversation²); and highly sophisticated role-plays (pretend plays) representing the playful enactment of different social events occurring in the life of adult community members.
Performances and texts representing the above genres differed in their degree of formality. In addition to the topic of the text, prosodic characteristics of the performance (loudness, and rhythm) as well as particular linguistic and discourse features (for example, the use of ellipsis, the degree of application of SANDHI rules typical in Romani, the use of particular lexical elements, the application of formal devices and parallelism) helped to identify the degree of formality of the production along the formal-informal axis. According to their degree of formality, each of these preliminary defined ³genres² could be related either to ³vorba² or to ³duma², the two culturally specific ways of speaking in Vlach Gypsy communities (see Stewart, 1989).
The discourse repertoire presented demonstrates Romani children¹s highly sophisticated skills in verbal art.
Early competence in these verbal skills reflects their importance for Gypsy culture and Gypsy identity.


On the Typological Classification of Romani Dialects

Alexandre Yu. Roussakov

The attempts to create the new Romani dialects classification based on the features of the Romani as a contact language, are made last years. Besides the ³traditional² dialects and the dialects switched to an ³alien² grammar (Para-Romani), the dialects, preserving (sometimes partly) the core of the old grammatical system, but with especially high degree of interference, may be distinguished (M. Courtiade).
In the present paper the dialect of such a type - the North Russian Gypsy Dialect, is investigated in comparison with some other typologically similar dialects (Finnish Romani and some other). Two main closely related points are discussed: the level of the interference of grammatical system, on the one hand, and the code-mixing and code-switching phenomena, on the other hand. The wide using of the code-mixing from those of the code-switching on the base of the analysis of the grammatical structure is made. Some related problems are discussed, among them the problem of different ³styles² within the dialects of such a type, the problem of their stability, the problem of the possible relations of such dialects to Para-Romani dialects. *

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