This course of Romani language lessons is aimed at non-Romanis who want to learn Romani, and also at Romani people who wish to re-learn their ancestral language in its modern form. Romani has many dialects and no standard written form; this course is based on the Romani language as spoken by the Kalderash Roma in Europe, the US, Canada and Latin America - a native speaker of a particular Kalderash dialect can usually converse fluently with any other Kalderash speaker. Kalderash-Romani belongs to the Vlax-Romani group of dialects which evolved in central Europe before spreading all over the world. Speakers of Vlax-Romani dialects far outnumber speakers of any other Romani dialect worldwide. The phonetic system used is based on English and is designed to be understood by English speakers.
Eighteen lessons take the student from the basic declensions of verbs and nouns, gradually building up vocabulary and grammar. Romani is a rich, living language, borrowing vigorously from the languages of the countries where its native speakers find themselves. Quotations from these native speakers are printed throughout the book to give a flavour of authenticity, as are poems, songs, proverbs and folk tales which the student will gradually be able to understand.
Bibliographer Edward Proctor has provided a comprehensive list of source materials for further study of Kalderash and related dialects for the interested student.
Ronald Lee is a native Kalderash speaker who teaches a course on the Romani Diaspora at the University of Toronto. He is also President of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto and a representative of the Roma National Congress as well as a member of the board overseeing the disbursement of Swiss assets to Romani survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who now live in Canada.
Published July 2005; 320pp; paperback
“This is a very good book with step-by-step learning of the Kalderash version of the Vlax Romani dialect ... an excellent tool to help repair our own admittedly decayed dialect. Well worth the modest price” Len Smith, Travellers' Times
“A necessary acquisition for every school and minicipal library in every major city that has a significant Romani-speaking population” Yaron Matras, Romani Studies
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