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Norwegian Romani - the 'languageness' of a Para-Romani variety

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Tea and biscuits from 16.45

In my presentation I will speak about one of Norway’s officially recognised minority languages, Norwegian Romani spoken by the Romanifolk or Tater minority community. First, I will give an overview of the Romani language in general, the phenomenon of so-called Para-Romani varieties and the Norwegian variety in particular. Since Para-Romani varieties do not make use of Romani grammar but consist of Romani lexicon used in the grammatical frame of the majority language, in the present case dialectal Norwegian, there is a dispute if such varieties can be seen as languages on their own or as special vocabularies. This dispute, both in academia and among the speaker community, leads to different approaches to languageness, i.e. the question in which case a certain variety is perceived as a language. I will present different approaches to the languageness of Norwegian Romani given by three different sources: scientific literature, Norwegian government white papers and passages from interviews with community activists. I conclude my presentation with an overview of how the different approaches to the languageness of Norwegian Romani bear potential conflicts in regard to the planning of language revitalisation projects.

Jakob Wiedner has undertaken research on various Romani languages, and has previously been a member of the Romani Project at the University of Graz. He recently completed his PhD on Norwegian Romani at the Multilingualism Center at the University of Oslo. The project investigated the sociolinguistic situation of Norwegian Romani, as well as its grammar and lexicon.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Endangered Languages and Cultures Group series.

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