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Paperback Gypsy-English, English-Gypsy Concise Dictionary Book

ISBN: 0781807751

ISBN13: 9780781807753

Gypsy-English, English-Gypsy Concise Dictionary

This dictionary reflects the vocabulary of two Bulgarian Gypsy dialects: the Sofia Erli dialect and the dialect of the Christian Gypsies of Silven.


Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Customer Reviews

2 ratings

About the only game in town for in-print Romani dictionaries

This dictionary has a number of flaws, but most of them can be worked around. It is about the only game in town for in-print Romani dictionaries. People who are curious about the language have little choice.It does not have much of the scholarly apparatus that Ian Hancock's -Handbook of Vlax Romani- has. That excellent book describes a dialect of Romani from southern Rumania. This dictionary is based on two Bulgarian dialects. The two dialects seem relatively similar in vocabulary and phonology. Whether they are similar in grammar is harder to say, because minimal grammatical information is presented in this dictionary. Both of these Balkan dialects seem to be relatively conservative grammatically and phonologically. They share common features, apparently, like the dropping of -n from the very common word forming suffix -ipe[n]. Their conservatism includes the retention of Indic aspirated vs. unaspirated stops as separate phonemes. As such these dialects are markedly different and more sophisticated than the English-influenced Romani described by Charles Godfrey Leland.The spelling system presented her is Slavov's own. It is apparently English-derived, writing 'oo' for /u:/. No reference is made to any of the attempts to standardise Romani spelling mentioned by Hancock. Worse, the brief pronunciation guide apparently refers to British pronunciation, and as such is likely to mislead the majority of English speakers. For example, most English speakers have the same vowel in GOT and SOMber, two of Slavov's examples. Removing these ambiguities is what the IPA is for. Slavov's spelling does not distinguish between the two consonants Hancock writes as /r/ and /rr/; it is unclear whether the distinction isn't there in the dialects Slavov reports, or whether his spelling does not distinguish them. But the most serious flaw of the dictionary is that it does not give the genders! Nor does it explain whether gender has been lost in the dialects it uses --- it doesn't look that way. Many of these are regular, and can be figured from the endings and suffixes, but still, this is important information that isn't there.The vocabularies are brief, and relatively simple. Words from different dialects are occasionally distinguished; it is often clear from flipping through the lists that they differ only on minor points of phonology. On the whole, the dictionary is usable despite its flaws; a sophisticated reader will be able to work around them. Those who want this will also want Hancock's grammar.

One perspective on this dictionary.

I do not speak the Erli dialect of Romanes which this dictionary is in. I bought it as an aid to learning Romanes.Although there are many different dialects; according to the book's introduction, the Erli dialect is easily understood by people speaking various others.Personnally I have been able to clarify a few things I didn't understand in songs in various Romanes dialects with this dictionary. Other things I was mystified by, when I tried to use the dictionary for something which wasn't in it, I got the wrong idea about the meaning of a particular song.In short, it is useful in context for learning Romanes, but it cannot be used on it's own. The best thing, of course, is to be conversing with native speakers.I don't know how useful it'd be for a native Erli speaker to learn English by either.Nicholas Csergö.
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