Ian F. Hancock's Works
The Acquisition of English by American Romani Children

There are probably over one million :B-orn (“Gypsies”) in the United States and Canada, the majority of whom maintain the ancestral
language (8-omanés) and culture ffiomanfa) which had their origins in northcentral India over a millenium ago. The history of Born in North America may be traced from the sixteenth century, when Gypsy slaves were transported from Britain. The greatest influx, however, took place during the last half of the nineteenth century following the abolition of Romani slavery in Central Europe. There are various nations of Gypsies in the United States and Canada, each with slightly differing customs and dialects of the parent
language. Ali, however, remain culturally insulated from the Ga~6 (i.e., non-Gypsy) world and, as a result, English is acquired in ways
often different from other non-English-speaking groups in these countries. This article examines the varieties of E.omanés spoken in North America, and the social background(s), and examines the main linguistic features of the principal dialects, which can often be related to the most common faults evident in English language performance. Corrective factors, usually subliminal rather than intended, are discussed, as weil as Romani attitudes towards English, and sorne space is devoted to possible future trends.

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Ian F. Hancock (1971) The Acquisition of English by American Romani Children, Word, 27:1-3, 353-362,

DOI: 10.1080/00437956.1971.11435631


Author: Roma Center

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