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SPECIMENS OF GYPSY DIALECTS

THE ENGLISH DIALECT OF THE ROMMANY

'TACHIPEN if I jaw 'doi, I can lel a bit of tan to hatch: N'etist I shan't puch kekomi wafu gorgies.'

The above sentence, dear reader, I heard from the mouth of Mr. Petulengro, the last time that he did me the honour to visit me at my poor house, which was the day after Mol-divvus (79), 1842: he stayed with me during the greater part of the morning, discoursing on the affairs of Egypt, the aspect of which, he assured me, was becoming daily worse and worse. 'There is no living for the poor people, brother,' said he, 'the chokengres (police) pursue us from place to place, and the gorgios are become either so poor or miserly, that they grudge our cattle a bite of grass by the wayside, and ourselves a yard of ground to light a fire upon. Unless times alter, brother, and of that I see no probability, unless you are made either poknees or mecralliskoe geiro (justice of the peace or prime minister), I am afraid the poor persons will have to give up wandering altogether, and then what will become of them?'

'However, brother,' he continued, in a more cheerful tone, 'I am no hindity mush, (80) as you well know. I suppose you have not forgot how, fifteen years ago, when you made horseshoes in the little dingle by the side of the great north road, I lent you fifty cottors (81) to purchase the wonderful trotting cob of the innkeeper with the green Newmarket coat, which three days after you sold for two hundred.

'Well, brother, if you had wanted the two hundred instead of the fifty, I could have lent them to you, and would have done so, for I knew you would not be long pazorrhus to me. I am no hindity mush, brother, no Irishman; I laid out the other day twenty pounds in buying ruponoe peamengries; (82) and in the Chonggav, (83) have a house of my own with a yard behind it.

'AND, FORSOOTH, IF I GO THITHER, I CAN CHOOSE A PLACE TO LIGHT AFIRE UPON, AND SHALL HAVE NO NECESSITY TO ASK LEAVE OF THESE HERE GENTILES.'

Well, dear reader, this last is the translation of the Gypsy sentence which heads the chapter, and which is a very characteristic specimen of the general way of speaking of the English Gypsies.

The language, as they generally speak it, is a broken jargon, in which few of the grammatical peculiarities of the Rommany are to be distinguished. In fact, what has been said of the Spanish Gypsy dialect holds good with respect to the English as commonly spoken: yet the English dialect has in reality suffered much less than the Spanish, and still retains its original syntax to a certain extent, its peculiar manner of conjugating verbs, and declining nouns and pronouns.

ENGLISH DIALECT

Moro Dad, savo djives oteh drey o charos, te caumen Gorgio ta Romany Chal tiro nav, te awel tiro tem, te kairen tiro lav aukko prey puv, sar kairdios oteh drey o charos. Dey men to-divvus moro divvuskoe moro, ta for-dey men pazorrhus tukey sar men for-denna len pazorrhus amande; ma muk te petrenna drey caik temptacionos; ley men abri sor doschder. Tiro se o tem, Mi-duvel, tiro o zoozlu vast, tiro sor koskopen drey sor cheros. Avali. Ta-chipen.

SPANISH DIALECT

Batu monro sos socabas ote enre ye char, que camele Gacho ta Romani Cha tiro nao, qu'abillele tiro chim, querese tiro lao acoi opre ye puve sarta se querela ote enre ye char. Dinanos sejonia monro manro de cata chibes, ta estormenanos monrias bisauras sasta mu estormenamos a monrias bisabadores; na nos meques petrar enre cayque pajandia, lillanos abri de saro chungalipen. Persos tiro sinela o chim, Undevel, tiro ye silna bast, tiro saro lachipen enre saro chiros. Unga. Chachipe.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE

OUR Father who dwellest there in heaven, may Gentile and Gypsy love thy name, thy kingdom come, may they do thy word here on earth as it is done there in heaven. Give us to-day our daily bread, (84) and forgive us indebted to thee as we forgive them indebted to us, (85) suffer not that we fall into NO temptation, take us out from all evil. (86) Thine (87) is the kingdom my God, thine the strong hand, thine all goodness in all time. Aye. Truth.

HUNGARIAN DIALECT

The following short sentences in Hungarian Gypsy, in addition to the prayer to the Virgin given in the Introduction, will perhaps not prove unacceptable to the reader. In no part of the world is the Gypsy tongue at the present day spoken with more purity than in Hungary, (88) where it is used by the Gypsies not only when they wish to be unintelligible to the Hungarians, but in their common conversation amongst themselves.

From these sentences the reader, by the help of the translations which accompany them, may form a tolerable idea not only of what the Gypsy tongue is, but of the manner in which the Hungarian Gypsies think and express themselves. They are specimens of genuine Gypsy talk - sentences which I have myself heard proceed from the mouths of the Czigany; they are not Busno thoughts done into gentle Rommany. Some of them are given here as they were written down by me at the time, others as I have preserved them in my memory up to the present moment. It is not improbable that at some future time I may return to the subject of the Hungarian Gypsies.

Vare tava soskei me puchelas cai soskei avillara catari.
Mango le gulo Devlas vas o erai, hodj o erai te pirel misto, te 
n'avel pascotia l'eras, ta na avel o erai nasvalo.
Cana cames aves pale.
Ki'som dhes keral avel o rai catari? (89)
Kit somu berschengro hal tu? (90)
Cade abri mai lachi e mol sar ando foro.
Sin o mas balichano, ta i gorkhe garasheskri; (91) sin o manro 
parno, cai te felo do garashangro.
Yeck quartalli mol ando lende.
Ande mol ote mestchibo.
Khava piava - dui shel, tri shel predinava.
Damen Devla saschipo ando mure cocala.
Te rosarow labio tarraco le Mujeskey miro pralesco, ta vela mi anao 
tukey le Mujeskey miro pralesky.
Llundun baro foro, bishwar mai baro sar Cosvaro.
Nani yag, mullas.
Nasiliom cai purdiom but; besh te pansch bersch mi homas slugadhis 
pa Baron Splini regimentos.
Saro chiro cado Del; cavo o puro dinas o Del.
Me camov te jav ando Buka-resti - cado Bukaresti lachico tem dur 
drom jin keri.
Mi hom nasvallo.
Soskei nai jas ke baro ful-cheri?
Wei mangue ke nani man love nastis jav.
Belgra sho mille pu cado Cosvarri; hin oter miro chabo.
Te vas Del l'erangue ke meclan man abri ando a pan-dibo.
Opre rukh sarkhi ye chiriclo, ca kerel anre e chiricli.
Ca hin tiro ker?
Ando calo berkho, oter bin miro ker, av prala mensar; jas mengue 
keri.
Ando bersch dui chiro, ye ven, ta nilei.
O felhegos del o breschino, te purdel o barbal.
Hir mi Devlis camo but cavo erai - lacho manus o, Anglus, tama 
rakarel Ungarica; avel catari ando urdon le trin gras-tensas - 
beshel cate abri po buklo tan; le poivasis ando bas irinel ando 
lel.  Bo zedun stadji ta bari barba.

Much I ponder why you ask me (questions), and why you should come 
hither.
I pray the sweet Goddess for the gentleman, that the gentleman may 
journey well, that misfortune come not to the gentleman, and that 
the gentleman fall not sick.
When you please come back.
How many days did the gentleman take to come hither?
How many years old are you?
Here out better (is) the wine than in the city.
The meat is of pig, and the gherkins cost a grosh - the bread is 
white, and the lard costs two groshen.
One quart of wine amongst us.
In wine there (is) happiness.
I will eat, I will drink - two hundred, three hundred I will place 
before.
Give us Goddess health in our bones.
I will seek a waistcoat, which I have, for Moses my brother, and I 
will change names with Moses my brother. (92)
London (is) a big city, twenty times more big than Colosvar.
There is no fire, it is dead.
I have suffered and toiled much:  twenty and five years I was 
serving in Baron Splini's regiment.
Every time (cometh) from God; that old (age) God gave.
I wish to go unto Bukarest - from Bukarest, the good country, (it 
is) a far way unto (my) house.
I am sick.
Why do you not go to the great physician
Because I have no money I can't go
Belgrade (is) six miles of land from Colosvar; there is my son.
May God help the gentlemen that they let me out (from) in the 
prison.
On the tree (is) the nest of the bird, where makes eggs the female 
bird.
Where is your house?
In the black mountain, there is my house; come brother with me; let 
us go to my house.
In the year (are) two seasons, the winter and summer.
The cloud gives the rain, and puffs (forth) the wind.
By my God I love much that gentleman - a good man he, an 
Englishman, but he speaks Hungarian; he came (93) hither in a 
waggon with three horses, he sits here out in the wilderness; (94) 
with a pencil in his hand he writes in a book.  He has a green hat 
and a big beard.

VOCABULARY OF THEIR LANGUAGE

[This section of the book could not be transcribed as it contained many non-european languages]

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