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1 Scandoromani: Language and Speakers

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Chapter Summary

The dialect Scandoromani is a remnant of the language spoken by the first Romani immigrants to the Nordic countries. It belongs to the northwest continuum of Romani dialects: a group that also embraces the Sinte/Manouche dialects spoken in Germany, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Bohemia, Slovakia, Russia, and northern Italy, and the Finnish Kale dialect. Even though Scandoromani is fairly well documented, at least its vocabulary, the historical paucity of sources is problematic. Early documentation is mostly limited to word lists, often of poor quality, mostly compiled by lay persons and often in prison: e.g., by prison chaplains or prison guards talking with sentenced convicts. The ways in which Scandoromani is most frequently used, in particular, the broken form might, at first glance, resemble an in-group lexicon rather than a language. Scandoromani is normally taken to be a mixed language of a type known as intertwined.

Keywords: in-group lexicon; mixed language; Romani immigrants; Scandoromani



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