Thoughts in the Snow
I’ve been thinking about the process of reclaiming language and how difficult that is.
Growing up, our languages were never written. As I’ve mentioned before, my grandparents were illiterate and my parents had barely any education at all. We spoke Řomanes, but never wrote it. We didn’t know how. Stories were told; songs sung; recipes passed on, but nothing written.
As I grew I was encouraged not to speak my language, not to “talk like a Gypsy” so people wouldn’t treat me like one. I forgot a lot of things in that time. I went more than ten years without regularly speaking my language. When my grandmother passed, my father didn’t speak it much himself even when I addressed him directly using it. I pushed it away and thought it best to try and forget, since no one wanted to be who they were anymore.
So, when I decided to try and relearn the things I had forgotten, I was shocked to see so many different ways of writing words, in fact I was shocked to learn that there were so many dialects of our lovely language. I didn’t know how to write Řomanes when I first started (and I think I still don’t). Using multiple dialects as a child has caused problems too – since I don’t know which belongs to what.
I learned quickly that if I said “vareso dikheha” am was more likely to be understood than if I said “sy dykhesa so”, even though they mean the same thing. Figuring out that naveha is actually written as na aveha, and tar’oleskro as taro oleskoro was difficult too. I guess I’m still learning how. I don’t know whether I should write using diacritics or not (chib versus čhib or čib). It’s all quite overwhelming sometimes.
Looking into it, I’ve discovered that other dialects are supposed to be quite similar, particularly Romungro and Bergitka. Apparently, most books from the Czech/Slovak region are written in “East Slovak” which is most likely Romungri. I haven’t really researched it though. I would love to be able to get some books or dictionaries – but I don’t even know where to begin. I have one dictionary – for Lotfitka – and that is all and since the book was out of print it was one copy I got on an interlibrary loan and scanned only half the pages.
I think I would like to start writing every day in Řomanes to practice. I would love input of people who are fluent to aid me with correcting the many stupid mistakes that I’m sure to make. I actually would love to be able to have written conversations purely in Řomanes… it’s something I will work on this year!
With that said:
Akana džav avri. Mri amal si o bandistas. Hine lačho lavutaris, he te pijaďi (birto) si but, but kuč U_U nane paš mande kajci love. Jaj, del jiv!!! kamav te patjal, hoj te perel baro jiv!