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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

I whispered His dade is a baurie grye femler


There

are Scottish Gipsies in the United States, following respectable callings, who speak excellent Gipsy, according to the judgment of intelligent English Gipsies. The English Gipsies say the same of the Gipsy families in Scotland, with whom they are acquainted; but that some of their words vary from those spoken in England. There is, however, a rivalry between the English and Scottish Gipsies, as to whose pronunciation of the words is the correct one: in that respect, they somewhat resemble the English and Scottish Latinists. One intelligent Gipsy gave it as his opinion, that the word great, _baurie_, in Scotland, was softer than _boro_, in England, and preferable, indeed, the right pronunciation of the word. The German Gipsies are said, by their English brethren, to speak Gipsy backwards; from which I would conclude, that it follows the construction of the German language, which differs so materially, in that respect, from the English.[291] It is a thing well-nigh impossible, to get a respectable Scottish Gipsy to own up to even a word of the Gipsy language. On meeting with a respectable--Scotchman, I will call him--in a company, lately, I was asked by him: "Are ye a' Tinklers?" "We're travellers," I replied. "But who is he?" he continued, pointing to my acquaintance. Going up to him, I whispered "His _dade_ is a _baurie grye-femler_," (his father is a great horse-dealer;) and he made for the door, as if a bee had got into his ear. But he came back; oh, yes, he came back. There
was a mysterious whispering of "pistols and coffee," at another time.

[291] Mr. Borrow says, with reference to the Spanish Gipsy language: "Its grammatical peculiarities have disappeared, the entire language having been modified and subjected to the rules of Spanish grammar, with which it now coincides in syntax, in the conjugation of verbs, and in the declension of its nouns." We might have naturally expected that of the Gipsy language, in the course of four hundred years, from the people speaking it being so much scattered over the country, and coming so much in contact with the ordinary natives. But something different might be looked for, where the Gipsies have not been persecuted, but allowed to live together in a body, as in Hungary. Of the Hungarian Gipsy language, Mr. Borrow says, that in no part of the world is the Gipsy language better preserved than in Hungary; and that the roving bands of Gipsies from that country, who visit France and Italy, speak the pure Gipsy, with all its grammatical peculiarities. He estimates that the Spanish Gipsy language may consist of four or five thousand words; a sufficient number, one might suppose, to serve the purpose of everyday life. A late writer in the Dublin University Magazine estimates that five thousand words would serve the same purpose in the English language. Four thousand words is a very large language for the Gipsies of Spain to possess, in addition to the ordinary one of the country.


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