IN the light of the Romani situation in present day Europe, the history of the Romani language- Romanès, as we call it- may not seem like an especially important issue. Arguing about whether or not this language has a history of being written down might seem less important still. Yet the claim that the Romani language has never been written down until very recent times remains untrue, and this claim is dangerous for precisely the reasons that people assume it to be correct.
by Damian Le Bas
Letter composed in the Romani language by the English Romanichal Sylvester “Westerous”Boswell, 1874
Roma people are struggling for basic civil rights, equality in education, and equality before the law in many European countries. Thinly veiled talk of the “Gypsy question” rises like a spectre masking the reality of murderous anti-Roma violence. The mediaeval myth that Romani people steal non-Romani children has reared…