The English Gipsies and Their Language

The English Gipsies and Their Language

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The English Gipsies and Their Language by Charles Godfrey Leland

Published:

1874

Pages:

171

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1,528

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The English Gipsies and Their Language

By

5
(1 Review)

Book Excerpt

s word I mean not the language alone, which is regarded, however, as a test of superior knowledge of "the roads," but a curious inner life and freemasonry of secret intelligence, ties of blood and information, useful to a class who have much in common with one another, and very little in common with the settled tradesman or worthy citizen. The hawker whom you meet, and whose blue eyes and light hair indicate no trace of Oriental blood, may not be a churdo, or pash-ratt, or half-blood, or half-scrag, as a full Gipsy might contemptuously term him, but he may be, of his kind, a quadroon or octoroon, or he may have "gipsified," by marrying a Gipsy wife; and by the way be it said, such women make by far the best wives to be found among English itinerants, and the best suited for "a traveller." But in any case he has taken pains to pick up all the Gipsy he can. If he is a tinker, he knows Kennick, or cant, or thieves' slang by nature, but the Rommany, which has very few

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If you've read "Bury Me Standing," by Isabel Fonseca, or "Tribe," by John F. McDonald, or even if you've seen "Snatch" and become fascinated by Brad Pitt's character, this book is worth a look. Leland spent enough time among the English Romany people to learn their true language, which he traces back to Sanskrit roots. His analysis is fascinating, but what's equally clear throughout the book is Leland's genuine fondness and respect for the Romany people. Fun read: Romany proverbs.
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