Romani Studies

The oldest attestation of the Romani language in Spain: The Aucto del finamiento de Jacob (sixteenth century)

Romani Studies (2013), 23, (2), 245–255.

Abstract

The first document of Romani language in Spain is contained in a dramatic work roughly dating from the second half of the sixteenth century. There a Gypsy couple appears using words whose Romani character is beyond doubt, although the interpretation of the phrases, where they are recorded, is rather difficult. This attestation was noted by Carlos Claveria many years ago, but has gone practically unnoticed since then, and to my knowledge no attempt at interpretation has been essayed. In this paper the concerned passages will be edited and some proposals of analysis will be presented, enough to confirm the very Romani character of the words used. If this analysis is correct, the Auto del finamiento de Jacob can be taken as one of the oldest attestations of the Romani language in the world. Although the precise dating of the work is uncertain, the copy of the codex where it appears can be confidently situated in the last third of the sixteenth century, and the dramatic works included there are dated between 1550 and 1575.

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Author details

Adiego, Ignasi-Xavier