Romani Studies

A dialect with seven names

Romani Studies (2001), 11, (2), 137–184.

Abstract

This article presents the dialect of a non-Vlach Roma group of the region Dolenjska, Slovenia. There are phonological and morphological connections to Southern Central Dialects (SCD) as well as to Southern Balkan (SBD), especially Arli dialects. Furthermore Dolenjska Romani (DR) shows some features differing from most European Romani dialects: there are only a few Greek lexemes, no definite articles, and a morphological infinitive in -i. These characteristics were once regarded as archaic relics, e.g. by Rade Uhlik (1973) and also by Mozes Heinschink (1978), but a closer look at the grammatical structures reveals heavy influences by Slavic languages. Comparisons with the dialect spoken by a subgroup of Dolenjski Roma in Italy, the so-called Rom Sloveni or Hravati, show that the losses of certain morphological features might be a young development. Considering these phenomena we regard it as unlikely that the non-existence of definite articles and Greek lexemes, or the morphological infinitive, are archaic, pre-Balkan features, although the origin of the infinitive suffix -i is unknown.

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Author details

Cech, Petra

Heinschink, Mozes