Ideologies and identity performance in users’ discourses about Romani-based special languages (‘Sondersprachen’)

Yaron Matras, Chiara Tribulato, Jakob Anton Paul Wiedner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on users’ testimonials we discuss how peripatetic populations forge ideologies around their use of group-internal special vocabulary. We identify three recurring themes: The discourse of loss that purports to account for a language history marked by deprivation and anomaly and intertwined with a notion of incompleteness of one’s own identity; contemporary negotiation of identity that draws on external reference points to set boundaries towards others; and explications of language function, which reconstruct contexts of use. Our case studies involve the use of use of special vocabulary derived partly or mainly from Romani among English Gypsies, Norwegian Travellers, and the travelling Showpeople of northern Italy. We approach these Romani-based ‘special languages’ (‘Sondersprachen’) as acts of identity performance and revisit the hypothesis that they emerged through convergence between Romani speakers and indigenous peripatetic populations.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • language ideologies
  • Para-Romani
  • performativity
  • peripatetic communities
  • Romani
  • special languages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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