Romani Studies

An early vocabulary of British Romani (1616): A linguistic analysis

Romani Studies (2002), 12, (2), 75–101.

Abstract

The article analyses a newly discovered early Romani word list of 1616, as recently published in The Winchester Confessions. Etymologies are given for almost all words. Virtually all of these were still in use by British Gypsies in the twentieth century. The list contains words typical for the Northern branch of Romani. Some words are only known from British sources. Further evidence is presented that this source is a form of Angloromani—that is, a variety that did not use the original Indic grammatical system but an English grammatical system. The few phrases and sentences show English word order, English articles and prepositions and English plural endings. There are no Indic grammatical markers. Furthermore, the gender agreement system has disappeared, and is similar to what was used in earlier Angloromani sources of the nineteenth century. This means that Angloromani has been in existence, not since the nineteenth century, but since the seventeenth century.

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Author details

Bakker, Peter