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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

I treated the Tinkler with a glass of spirits


On

another occasion, I observed a horde of Gipsies on the high street of Inverkeithing, employed in making spoons from horn. I spoke to one of the young married men, partly in Scottish Gipsy words, when he immediately answered me in English. He said they were all natives of Ireland. They had, male and female, the Irish accent completely. I invited this man to accompany me to a public-house, that I might obtain from him a specimen of his Irish Gipsy language. The town-clerk being in my company at the time, I asked him to go with me, to hear what passed; but he refused, evidently because he considered that the company of a Gipsy would contaminate and degrade him. I treated the Tinkler with a glass of spirits, and obtained from him the following words:

_Yaik_, one. _Duie_, two. _Trin_, three. _Punch_, five. _Saus_, six. _Luften_, eight. _Sonnakie_, gold. _Roug_, silver. _Vanister_, ring. _Rat_, night. _Cham_, the moon. _Borlan_, the sun. _Yak_, fire. _Chowrie_, knife. _Bar_, stone. _Shuha_, coat. _Roy_, spoon. _Chauvie_, child. _Gaugie_, man. _Mort and kinshen_, wife and child. _Klistie_, soldier. _Ruffie lee ma_, devil miss me. _Nasher_, deserter. _Daw-douglars_, hand-cuffs. _Staurdie_, prison. _Lodie_, lodgings. _Vile_, town. _Yak_, eye. _Deekers_, eyes. _Shir_, head. _Test_, head. _Nak_, nose. _Mooie_, mouth. _Meffemel_, hand. _Grye_, horse. _Aizel_, ass. _Dugal_, dog. _Bakra_,

sheep. _Ruffie_, devil. _Bing_, devil. _Feck_, take. _Ruffie feck ma_, devil take me. _Nawken_, Tinkler. _Baurie-dews, Nawken_, good-day, Tinkler.

This man conducted himself very politely, his behaviour being very correct and becoming; and he seemed much pleased at being noticed, and kindly treated. At first, he spoke wholly in the Gipsy language, thinking that I was as well acquainted with it as himself. But when he found that I knew only a few words of it, he, like all his tribe, stopped in his communications, and, in this instance, began to quiz and laugh at my ignorance. On returning to the street, I repeated some of the words to one of the females. She laughed, and, with much good humour, said, "You will put me out, by speaking to me in that language."

These facts prove that the Irish Gipsies have the same language as those in Scotland. The English Gipsy is substantially the same. There are a great many Irish Gipsies travelling in Scotland, of whom I will again speak, in the following chapter. They are not easily distinguished from common Irish peasants, except that they are generally employed in some sort of traffic, such as hawking earthen-ware, trinkets, and various other trifles, through the country.

It may interest the reader to know how the idea originated that the Gipsies, at all events their speech, came, or was thought to have come, from Hindostan. According to Grellmann, it was in this way:


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