Romani Studies

A report on Romani dialects in Ukraine: Reconciling linguistic and ethnographic data

Romani Studies (2012), 22, (1), 35–47.

Abstract

The year 2006 saw the first attempt to conduct fieldwork in Romani linguistics in Ukraine using the RMS questionnaire, which was enhanced with ethnographic questions compiled in cooperation with ethnographers studying Romani culture. This article serves as a preliminary field report. Three types of dialect found in Ukraine will be contrasted with those described by Barannikov (1934). In addition, the various dialects of Ukraine will be categorised according to the classification system presented in Matras (2002). From a comparison of ethnographic and linguistic data from Ukraine it is apparent that the divisions based on dialectal differences do not correspond exactly with the divisions between the names applied to the groups. Accordingly, I would like to raise the question of the relative weight that linguistic and non-linguistic factors have in defining Romani groups.

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Tenser, Anton