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English-Gypsy Songs

English-Gypsy Songs

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Published by Neill Henderson
Charles leland 1875
Charles leland 1875

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Neill Henderson on Feb 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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course of their travels, and conjectured the time they

remained in different countries. It is a curious fact

that the Anglo-Rommany, to judge from my own

researches, contains far more Hindi and Persian words

than any of the Continental dialects.

Until within fifty years, English Rommany was spoken

with something like grammatical accuracy, and in that

condition very much resembled the tongue as it now exists

in Germany. It is not long since Dr Zupitza, of Vienna,

discovered that the specimen of so-called Egyptian in

Andrew Borde's "Boke of the Introduction of Know-

ledge" (London, 1542) is really Rommany, and quite

intelligible to most Gipsies. It is to be observed,

that English Rommany contains only two or three

French or German words—the former being all doubt-

ful—and that, to judge from Borde's fragment, it had

begun even in his time to Anglicise. There are still

in England a few old Gipsies who pride themselves

on preserving many grammatical forms and "deep"

words, and many more who understand l)ut do not

use them. But the language is, on the whole, greatly

changt'd, and to write it as it practically exists, without

affecting archaisms on the one hand, or falling into mere

jargon on the other, is a very difficult task.

It was accordingly no easy matter for my colleagues

and myself to determine exactly the character of the

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