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Unevenly mixed Romani languages
Oral Tradition Languages and Civilizations laboratory, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) & University Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, France.
Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, Helsingin Yliopisto, Finland.
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Bilingualism, ISSN 1367-0069, E-ISSN 1756-6878, Vol. 19, no 5, 525-547 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study reports on language mixing in two Romani communities, with a century-long presence in Finland and in Greece respectively. A quantitative analysis of free-speech data shows that verbs from the contact languages, Finnish and Turkish, are systematically inserted into a dominant Romani speech with their respective Finnish and Turkish tense, mood, aspect, and person morphology. The insertion in language A of non-integrated single words from language B is atypical for classic code-switching and borrowing, but is a well-known mechanism in the creation of mixed languages. Unlike mixed languages, however, where no single dominant language can be identified, Romani is the main component in the corpora under study. We suggest that this type of Romani language mixing illustrates an early stage of mixed language formation that did not develop into an independent mixed language, owing to changes in the sociopolitical settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 19, no 5, 525-547 p.
Keyword [en]
Code-switching, mixed languages, Romani, bilingual speech
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-24987DOI: 10.1177/1367006914524645OAI: diva2:753759


We wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and the IJB’s editor, Li Wei. Also, we are thankful to the Romani participants in Finland and in Greece. Special thanks are due to Mrs. Hellevi Hedman-Valentin for the transcription of the Finnish Romani corpus, as well as Mrs. Tuula Åkerlund, Mrs. Miranda Vuolasranta, and Mr. Juhani Pallonen who conducted the recordings. Last but not least, we thank Anton Tenser and Lameen Souag for comments on earlier versions of the paper and François Sermier for his precious help with the statistics.


Evangelia Adamou wishes to acknowledge financial support from the French National Research Agency (ANR), project "Towards a multi-level, typological and computer assisted analysis of contact-induced language change" (ANR-09-JCJC-0121-01). Kimmo Granqvist received funding from the Kone Foundation Language Programme, project "Finnish Romani and other Northern dialects of Romani in the Baltic Sea area" (2013–2016).

Available from: 2014-10-08 Created: 2014-10-08 Last updated: 2015-10-19Bibliographically approved

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