“Ueber die Sprache der Zigeuner – Eine grammatische Skizze” (“About the Language of the Gypsies – A Grammatical Sketch”) is the title of a book from the early 19th century by Alfred Graffunder, who was a School Inspector. The book was published in 1835 and proves that Sinti never saw the language as secret and having to be kept away from others, as is claimed now by the so-called “judges” and “elders”. Another way of making oneself a laughingstock is all I can say to that. The posting of a link to this book, provided as a facsimile by Google, has already caused controversy on a forum for and by Sinti in Germany where the moderators removed both the link to the downloadable book and also the comment of the poster and the one by this writer.
With material like this in the public realm, material that was, like in the same time in the UK, freely given to researchers, Gadje researchers – everyone knew they were Gadje – how can the Sinti “judges” in Germany and such places continue to claim that the language was secret and was always guarded, on pain of expulsion, and never ever transmitted to outsiders. This is sheer and absolute stupidity in the same was as the “Dadeske vast” garbage that denies so many of our People their Birthright. Let's stop being stupid just for once.
This probably was/is not the first book on the language of the Sinti in Germany, and those were Sinti for the “me hom” is Sintitikes and not Romanes from the Roma, and this was neither the last book on the Chib, with information freely given by clans far and wide. During the time of this book and also in later times it was common for researchers to be given access to the language by Sinti in Germany and elsewhere on the European and Romanichals in Britain alike and many books were written on the “Language of the Gypsies” and this includes the famous “Sampson” study on the language on the Romanichal/Kale in Wales. Notwithstanding that a lot of what Sampson did conclude is utter baloney, e.g. the origin of words, it proves that here no one had an attitude of secrecy of the language and that was the same case, so it would appear from books that were published about the Sinti language, amongst the Sinti in Germany and other parts. So, from whence cometh the notion of the secrecy of the Chib and also the other notions that those “judges” (those who are not fit to even bear such a title) come up with? It is all something in order for them to appear big and something to lord over the People.
The truth will out, as they say, and it is no good, for instance, to remove links to such information posted by a well-known Sinto in Germany and any comments to such links and informations. The longer we perpetuate those lies that this or that was this or that when it was not the longer we will be perceived as liars and cheats by the general public.
While such forum moderators, hiding behind their web anonymity, and so-called “judges” have statements put out to which, when one asks questions as to who they are and such, one gets short and shrift and have one's questions removed from such forums, our People, and especially here the Sinti of Germany (and Austria) can never be seen as honest and open. In the same way when they want to declare someone as outcast because he has the title doctor, under which they immediately accuse him of being a doctor of medicine. And even if it were so; we need our own medical doctors, instead of going to Gadje doctors who then do not know how to treat us, in regards to our cultural aspects, and we then moan because they do not treat us right in that respect. While, at the same time, we are also, those Sinti “judges”, not prepared to let the medical profession (and others) know of any special requirements that we have as regards Culture. Oh no, it is said, we could not possibly do that. Well, then you have to suffer the con sequences and cannot complain, whether you are not treated with respect as far as our Culture is concerned and our Traditions and also as regards to other aspects. You cannot have it both ways. Better get used to it.
This book is available, as said, as a facsimile, from Google but, due to the fact that someone so nicely removed the link I could not even, if I wanted to, make it available as a link to anyone. However, because has been photographed rather than retyped, as would have been done by Project Gutenberg, some of the writing is not too easy to read either. Therefore it is also not possible to reproduce it as a text file.
Tatchipen Media shall, however, in due course, attempt rework this into typeface proper and then turn it into an e-book. A translation from the German into English shall also be done in due course, which shall be an exact translation, with all the bias of the time that we also find in the original German.
by Michael Smith (Veshengro) © April 2008