Talk:Romani alphabets

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Not a bad article, it could use a bit of a going-over by an educated person to remove repetition. Also I'm not sure what this phrase means--

with a contemporary utilization less than Latin.

Latin script I'm guessing? It could be made a bit clearer. Dan Carkner 13:56, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Devanagari was NEVER used by Roma[edit]

Devanāgarī emerged around CE 1200 (see, this means, AFTER Roma left the Indus Valley. Applying Devanagari to Romani language is FOLLY!

Latin characters[edit]

The 46 characters are not exactly an alphabet, but a collection of letters used in different writing conventions. For example different variants choose either a diacritic or another. So it is pointless to say that a certain dialect does not use them all, none use them all. Probably the author(s) of the article they were imported from thought that all of them are used together in a simultaneous writing convention. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 23:23, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


I was just wondering if someone could clarify what the following sentence means: "It does not yet have a tradition of use, the same as do the other writing sytems employed for Romani." Is it saying that the other writing systems also do not have a tradition of use, or is it saying that the other writing systems do have a tradition of use? The wording here is highly weird.

Also, could someone who knows give some dates for when Devanagari started to be used by modern Roma? It'd also be interesting to see how common it is in general- how many publications use Devanagari, is it common in the EU, where is it being taught and so on. Dewrad 04:29, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

It is the first meaning: "the other writing systems also do not have a tradition of use". About the beginning of use of Devanagari, there are not yet some thoroughgoing studies to gather all the valuable informations, the same as for most of the aspects of the Romani culture. From what it is known now, its use may be dated at the beginning of the 20th century. In her book "Bury me standing" Isabel Fonseca writes about a Rom soldier in the army of the Ottoman Empire who spent some time as prisoner in India during the 1st World War. Coming back in what is now contemporary Macedonia, he brought the knowledge of the similarities between the Romani and Hindi and between the culture of the Roma and other South Asians.
About the tradition of use, I don't think Devanagari should be singled out, since I don't know a single publication in other writing systems to be done by Roma and to earn some popularity. Almost all are organized by non-Roma who learned Romani, eventually with some Roma contributors. They have limited circulation, since nobody is interested in them, because they are not done from the point of view of the Romani culture. This does not mean Romani is not used in writting. Until now, there are used the writing systems which are convenient, a kind of a code-switching for best results in communication (see the switching between Latin, Cyrillic, Devanagari and Greek writing systems in Southeastern Europe or the endless variants of writing conventions for Romani in Latin and Cyrillic). --Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 14:04, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
So you don't know when it began and you can't provide sources attesting its use? :/ Are there at least scholarly articles which record the use of Devanagari for Romani? Anything aside from this article and its mirrors? Dewrad 13:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
You may write it, if you know when it began. Again, I don't know why to single out only Devanagari. You may write too when it began the use of other writing systems, if you know it. This article was validated as NPOV, as recording what it is known by now about Romani writing systems, by admins with experience in NPOV issues. If there are any news in this field, you may add them. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 15:57, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
No, in fact, it seems so far that no Roma besides Desiphral has ever used Devanagri to write their language. Desiphral has argued against many other Roma on the Wikipedia he runs, where they have complained because he uses many words borrowed from Hindi that aren't actually used in Romani and are not understandable to most speakers of the language. The fact is, there are many magazines and other publications in Romani, by Roma, and every single one of them uses Latin or Cyrillic alphabet (most use Latin alphabet). Not a single one uses Devanagri alphabet. However, they are all limited in scope, as first-language literacy is very low in almost every community of Roma (I won't discuss second-language literacy as that's not particularly relevant here, although those who are literate in a second language but not in Romani may attempt to write Romani according to the orthographical rules of their second language), although this has been improving in certain areas of Central and Eastern Europe where Romani medium education is provided, and most of the publications are of a national or subnational scope (such as a magazine for Roma in Italy). Further complicating the matter is the linguistic diversity of Romani, which has many diverse dialects that are often mutually unintelligible (Desiphral insists this is not true, however reality is not on his side). --Node 08:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
OK Node ue, it looks like here is your chance to strike back. For those who don't know all the saga, this user opposed the existence of the Romani Wikipedia, arguing that it does not exist
No -- I supported a Vlax Wikipedia. When you wanted to expand it to be written in "Standard Romani" and pave the way for oppression of all other Romani varieties, I opposed that. See the talk pages at rmy.wp where it is clear that you are alone in your views.

such language, but rather a collection of mutually unintelligible dialects. He is well known in the Wikipedia environment for his propensity to set up Wikipedias in language variants with no popular support. He acts like the saviour of endangered species, but usually

I'm curious as to where you got this information. Perhaps you have confused me for User:Belgian man? I supported the creation of the Sicilian and Friulian Wikipedias, both of which have well over 1000 articles (nearly 9000 in the Sicilian version alone), and dozens of regular contributors. As we can easily see here, you are the only regular editor to the "Pan-Romani Wikipedia" because you have scared everybody off by using words they do not understand (e.g. "lekh" instead of "artikolo") and a script that is alien to them (Devanagari). If you wanted to include other Roma, you would accept their opinions and use it to improve the Wiki instead of trying to keep it as a walled fortress only people agree with you may edit.
falls either into creating identity problems that stir passions enough to remain in the headlines of Wikipedia for months or, if there are not present here speakers of a certain language, to patronize pet Wikipedias, usually with a paternalistic attitude. Regarding the Romani Wikipedia, I describe his attitude as violent and intrusive. First, he did not find any Rom to support his plan to create dozens of Wikipeidas for every Romani dialect. This is
Well, now, you are the only Rom to support your plan. It's 1-0. That is really not significant either.
because, among us, a speaker from a specific caste either would recognize the existence of other dialects also as Romani or would consider the personal dialect as the pure Romani (and the other supposedly are corrupt), thus refusing the communication with other castes. The identification as Rom is foremost, either by recognizing the existence of other castes or by stating that those from the personal caste are the true Roma. Knowing this, I told him that if there will be requests to set up Wikipedias in Romani dialects, then they should be forwarded, but this should not impede the existence of a Romani Wikipedia. Fearing that the potential Romani contributors would not be interested in creating dialect wikis, he upholded the banning of a Romani wiki, to determine us to go dialectally. Trying to prove the mutual unintelligibility of the dialects, he concocted a list of supposedly unintelligible variants of a word, a list that I proved it was really unserious (just a collection of synonimes and variants of pronunciation).
No, I got it out of a Romani dialect dictionary. Your political ideologies are something I agree with (that oppressed people are stronger when they band together), but your linguistic ideologies I do not (people should replace existing words with invented ones so that their language may be "pure", people should try to unify their language when it is so clearly not possible). Certainly there are certain dialect groups of Romani that are mutually intelligible, but it seems unlikely that all of the informants here will understand each other. It is stated in most publications that there are 3 major groupings of Romani, the subvarieties of which are mostly intelligible, but that the groups are not intelligible with one another. I take the word of academic publications, including several by Roma, at a much higher level than I take your word unless you can cite a single publication declaring the simple intelligibility and unity of all Romani varieties.
Now it seems you have found in this Devanagari issue new ammunition to continue your violence and you are still ready to compromise into upholding unserious statements in order to turn the debate on your side. Like saying that "many other Roma" opposed
Please do not accuse me of violence. I am a nonviolent person. Perhaps you think I harbour some sort of resentment towards your people; I do not. In fact, that would be impossible for me because I have no experience with your people, I do not know any Roma people because there aren't many in Arizona. There is a sharp difference between use of words, an argument or a discussion, to violence, a fistfight or massacre or war. Now perhaps you have noticed that I am not the only person who doubts that anyone actually uses Devanagri script to write any variety of Romani -- I did not remove that section here. that was Bogdan Giusca. It was supported by many other users as well because you were unable to provide sources. There are many published books on Romani (especially Vlax and Kalderash), including a fair number by Roma people themselves, and not a single one of them mentions Devanagari. This supports my earlier assertion that it is your personal pet project, and it is killing rmy.wp before it can even start.
Devanagari in rmy.wp. As I said to an user that asked me politely what was the problem about, among us it is present all the range of opinions regarding the relation with the other South Asians, from acceptance without debate to rejection without debate and everything in between (the same as the other South Asians do, depending on how they think about the personal caste) and the talk page of the main entry at rmy.wp is just a debate among two persons, so it should not be considered as representative (it is yet to develop a community at rmy.wp). The "many other Roma" is just a person using IPs from Torino and environs. His/her behaviour may be described as trollish, because of the unpolite manner of debate, because he/she just criticized but gave no different solutions and made no attempt to contribute there. Also it seems he/she was more confortable writing
Well well. Anyone who disagrees with you is now "unserious" and a "troll", I see? S/he did present a solution -- remove the Devanagari from the wiki, and remove all of the Hindi words that nobody understands. Of course you did not like such ideas so you label h/im/er as a troll...
in English rather than Romani. I suppose you would say now that our dialects were unitelligible and there were too many Indo-Aryan neologisms. As I replied there, I would rather point to his/her lack of respect for other dialects, when proposing that the Kalderashitsko dialect to be used as the true Romani (he/she self presented as the voice of the 99% of the Roma !?!) and also I would question that person's knowledge of Kalderashitsko, as I presented external links where Romani words that he/she complained were Indo-Aryan neologisms were in fact words used by Kalderashitsko speakers.
Well, there are many people around the world who are more comfortable in other languages than in Romani. You should not criticise them, it is not their own fault. Instead you should help them to reclaim their linguistic heritage. Of course everybody likes his own dialect best, that's no surprise.
Who knows which were the intentions of that person! The fact that there are few contributors by now at rmy.wp can give undue importance to such trolls. Otherwise, the wiki is running normally, there is freedom of expression for those who want to express themselves in Romani, there are already contributions in different dialects, for every entry there are recorded all the known
Contributions from whom? Ghosts!? You are practically the only editor there, sir.
Instead of these accusations, it would have been nice from you if you would be what you say you are to point out articles like rmy:Chexiko stago (fana), rmy:Nad Tatrou sa blýska, rmy:Mošovce, made by other contributors in other dialects. It is obvious that you and other users do this anti-Devnagari crusade to fulfill personal policies. There are no real reasons to forbid Devnagari, besides the fact that a sheer majority of persons (who btw most of them state they have no connection with Romani language) wants this. How comes you choose to answer just now? I presented the reasons for this source (which has anteriority to the wiki article) and I see this kind of source is used in many other articles, I'm pretty sure the anti-Devnagari users used this type too in their wiki history. If it would have been a majority of pro-Devnagari users, the outcome would have been different (this seems to be a problem of Wikipedia, the allowing of the will of the majority irrespective of the value of information). The assimillationst pressure in real life appears also in Wikipedia. For example, the Dom users are free to present their identity in Dom people article, since the majority in Middle East does not mount the same pressure as there is in the Romani case. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 09:47, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I just saw you accused me of being anti-Jewish, drawing this conclusion from the issue of mutually (un)intelligible dialects. It crossed the limits created by the knowledge available about a person. Personally, I consider that discriminating other group would be like justifying the discrimination against my group. And it is obvious that here is not the case of making an anti-Jewish issue. I have esteem for the Jews and their culture, in my environment I am known as respecful and simpathetic to them, and I expect the same from the other side. The problem is that there is a trend among some overenthousiastic Jews to regard the Roma as the Ten Lost Tribes and to make false descriptions of the Romani culture to fit their wishful thinking. And the researcher in Romani language, Yaron Matras (whom btw you use to cite as reference for your point of view), is accused for his intrusive behaviour, when creating the issue of Romani dialects. I did not find anything written about his ethnicity, just it is usually said he is Jew. The reality of the spoken Romani language is not yet very well studied and his studies are open to intrpretation. Recently Rajko Djuric, in a Romani TV show from Romania, characterized him as a trouble-maker and pursuing his personal agenda. You fitted perfectly these features and I made a question about this, I did not draw any conclusion as you did by naming me anti-Jewish. You say you do not care about your ethnicity (i.e. you are not responsible for the others of your ethincity) but you say that you may judge the Romani people from the discutions with me (as if I should be). As a disclaimer, on the whole, the problems about intrusion presented above are a minor issue that do not characterize the Romani-Jewish relations, they are just swollen by this inherent context of Wikipedia. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 17:58, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
As I noted before, I am not anti-Devanagari. What I am against is original research in Wikipedia. If you can cite even one external source that was not written by you which confirms that some people besides yourself actually use Devanagari to write Romani, then I will be happy for us to include that in the article and you may use Devanagari freely here. However, you have been unable to provide such sources although people have asked it over and over and over. You are welcome to use Devanagari for your own purposes. Write books in it, newspapers, I will not try to stop you. I think it is your rgiht. But you absolutely may not say that it is a "commonly used script" among Romani unless you can provide sources for that. We have provided sources for use of Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, which is basically every book about Romani. So far I have found no book - this is including the books written by Roma people themseleves - that refers to use of Devanagari script.
...I'm going to completely ignore all of the off-topic arguments, except that I never heard of Yaron Matras, let alone cited him. You are confusing me with somebody else, friend. --Node 20:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
variants, there was no ban until now, just reverts for the racist vandalisms, in order to promote the dialogue rather than confrontation, so I think it would deserve respect for its equilibrum, rather that disrespectfully naming it "the wiki I run".
I name it the Wiki you run because you are really the only person there. Is it lonely?
However, in order to have a dialogue, there are necessary also serious collocutors, not persons with paternalistic attitude ready to seize the opportunity of a minority having minimal representation in the public space in order to fulfill personal theories. Who knows, you may have good theoretical intentions, but you have to accord them with the reality, otherwise you just make situations worse. Another problem is a perceived tendency of some non-Roma to keep us and our culture under control, to set some limits for our expression, every time trying to divert us, to transforme us into
Wow. Again, you come after me as if I am some horrible anti-Roma person. Like I said before, you are, to my knowledge, the first Roma person I ever talked to in my life. Perhaps you should tune down the histrionics lest you give me a bad image of your people?
something that we are not. This includes also the constant minimization of the existence of our South Asian worldview, like the theory supported by some missionaries from some neo-protestant cults (hoping in easier conversions to Abrahamic religions) and also by some overenthusiatic Jews, namely that Roma are not Roma, but Jews from the ten lost tribes, which spent some time in the Indian Subcontinent. I know you are Jew, however I
Now I'm seeing racism on your part, not to gadže but to Jewish people. What is it with Eastern Europeans? Everything has to be about nationality and ethnicity. Why can't we all just be human beings?
don't know your position regarding this issue, so I am stating that I don't want to imply that you support it. They bring to an unaware public such concocted "facts" that any Rom or other South Asian would know they are not true (see this site for exemplification). They try to present the Roma as Semits rather than Indo-Aryans (this theory made its way also in Wikipedia, see Talk:Sinti#Indo European?). This give way to a
Honestly, I don't care about the origins of the Roma people. Based on linguistic evidence, a South Asian origin seems likely (even obvious), but there are obviously other possibilities. But that is irrelevant here, we are not talking about origins but about writing systems.
tendency to reject any South Asian feature, including this writing system. This position is supported also by people in Europe or America that simply do not want to see people writing like this in these continents. They do not want to recognize us as we are, thus they are blocking any chance for intercultural communication.
I personally have no problem with Roma people writing in Devanagari, or Gurmukhi or Bengali or any South Asian script they want. You may write in whichever script you want too, Arabic, Latin, Cyrillic, Devanagri, Hebrew, Chinese, Cherokee, Ethiopic, I will not care. What I do care about is that it seems you are currently the only person using this system. If you can get other Roma to use Devanagari, perhaps it will belong on Wikipedia, but currently all available sources do not mention that writing system -- you and you alone mention it. Besides, writing system does not make the origins. English is a Germanic language, why aren't we writing with runes? We are writing with an alphabet that was borrowed from the Romans, who in turn borrowed it from the Etruscans, who borrowed it from the Greeks, who borrowed it from the Phoenicians. Surely English is not a Romance language, so why are we using the Latin alphabet for it? It's really irrelevant. Just as Polish and Czech do not use the Cyrillic alphabet. And there are some South Asian languages that use the Roman alphabet, in particular is Konkani (in Goa, they write it in Latin alphabet mostly), for example see here. If you wish to reconnect with your roots, why would you use Devanagari anyhow? Given that Romani is closest to Punjabi, why not use Gurmukhi or Lahnda alphabets? Anyways that is irrelevant -- if you want to write in Devanagari of course you are allowed, I will support it. If you want other Roma to write in Devanagari as well, I will support such a quest. But what I will not support is lying by saying that it is used by Roma already, when it is so obviously not.
And their prevalence in Wikipedia makes sure to question here the use of Devanagari, but to support the existence of their writing systems, in other cases where there are not also to much valuable informations. They have a malevolent tendency to divide us, in order to weaken us, presenting various theories like Sinti and Roma are different people, working to present a world of different Romani populations, hoping to keep us under control. As far as I know you, probably you will continue to present all kind of strange and unserious "facts" of the anti-Devanagari movement, until this talk page will get 1000 Kb long. Then maybe we will use it in the article as exemplification material for the opposition to writing in Devanagari by Roma. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 17:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
So people are unserious when they disagree with you? Perhaps you mean incorrect. Unserious implies that they are joking. --Node 03:08, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Dude, paragraphs. I wasn't asking about this feud you have with node, I was asking for evidence that Devanagari is used by a number of Roma aside from yourself- otherwise it's being given undue weight here. Could you please do so? Dewrad 04:59, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
You still did not explain your bias against Devanagari, why do you target only this writing system. Why do you find satisfactory only the sources about non-Devanagari writing systems, when in fact they all share the same informal use by Roma. Somebody with the same biased attitude, but against non-Devanagari writing systems, could argue, using your methode, agains their use too. Either you shold request more citations for all writing systems or be pleased with the external links available now. This is the ground reality, these are the available sources by now. You want more, search for them in an unbiased way. The fact that most of the available sources about Roma are written by non-Roma, usually with this kind of biased attitude that tends to transforme our image into what they would like us to be, this is totally reflected also in Wikipedia. Because Roma themselves are rejected by the mainstream society in the coutries we live, we can't produce academic sources to uphold the truth about us. I renounced to contribute some time ago in some articles about Romani people and culture because it looks like I am the only Rom active here and I could not cope with non-Romani mainstream that has a certain image about us and upholds it because it has the power to do so. They behave like Wikipedia is their fathers' domain. Like in real life, neither here is democracy working for us. It is a kind of a systemic bias, but in our case they feel they have the right to act with an imperative attitude to impose their view about us. Also, they do not have the same standards for requesting proofs when something is favouring their views, they do not request evidence that could clear all doubts. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 17:23, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I have no bias against Devanagari. I just haven't seen it referred to anywhere but here and I'd like evidence that it exists outside Wikipedia. Ian Hancock's "Handbook of Vlax Romani" (written by a Rom, note, not a gadžo) does not mention the use of Devanagari- he does refer to all the other writing systems cited in this article. Ronald Lee's "Learn Romani" (look, another Rom) does not mention the use of Devanagari either, but he does refer to the other writing systems here. The Romani project at the University of Manchester does not mention the use of Devanagari either. And, guess what, that project is led by a Rom as well. Put your persecution complex away- all of the sources I've just mentioned are written by Roma. None of them mention Devanagari.
Now, can you provide some citations for the use of Devanagari to write Romani outside wikipedia? Or are you just going to claim that I'm being unfair in asking you to cite your sources? And, while you're at it, you need to justify your claim that it's much easier to know the pronunciation of a word when it's written in Devanagari. None of the other sections make this claim about their scripts- what evidence and reasoning do you have to say that Devanagari is superior in this regard? And do not remove requests for citations. Dewrad 18:25, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, most, probably all of the contemporary well-known Romani authors are from western Europe or USA/Canada (however, still most of the contemporary public information about Roma is organized by non-Roma). Probably the only well-known Romani writer from southeastern and central Europe is Rajko Djuric, but he also wrote most of his work and became known when he emigrated to Germany. This is because they have relatively more chances to produce an academic work in those countries and also, very important, they do not experience the rampant discrimination problems from southeastern and central Europe. And in the article it is said that the use of Devanagari, as far as it is known, can be attested only in southeastern and central Europe, where live about 70% of the Romani population. We are not different people in east or west, but the contemporary differences in lifestyle produce also some relative differences of approach, that need to be debated in order to produce a common voice. And there is the external link that attests the use in southeastern and central Europe, a kind of source that I saw it is accepted in many articles of Wikipedia.
All southeastern and central European Romani publication I know of use the Latin or Cyrillic alphabet. How is it that the most disadvantaged and discriminated against of the Roma would be the ones who have the desire, time, and educational opportunities to learn the (more complicated than Latin) writing system from the other side of the world?
These are prejudices. What if we are disadvantaged? Maybe even this is the reason. And neutral opinions consider Devnagari easier that Latin, better organized and logic. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 10:43, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
NO! These are not prejudices. These are the things that YOU implied.
Whose neuteral opinion considers Devanagari easier than Latin? For what? For Whom?
Devanagari is a non-western syllablic script. How could it be easier for individuals who already know, use, and are surrounded by the Latin script to use a script they do not know, never before used, have no meaningful (if any) exposure to.
You say things with an air of authority, even when those things go against all common sense and have no citable basis in reality.
Of course... whether Devanagari is easier for Roma who know the Latin script (and it obviously isn't) is not the point. The point is that you are using the wikipedia for language planning, because your writing certainly does not reflect reality... which is the purpose of any encyclopedia, including this one.
-- 03:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Your suggestion seems to utterly go against all common sense, and all sources, publications, and everything known or visible in Academia or outside it, material by Roma and by Gadje appears to contradict it.
-- 03:44, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
About the clarity of pronunciation in Romani, as recorded when written in Devanagari, the reasons are presented already in the article: the corespondence one sound - one letter (because Devanagari has letters for all the Indo-Aryan specific sounds) and for the new sounds appeared in time all NIA (New Indo-Aryan) languages, including Romani, use only one diacritic, nukta. The result is that there is no doubt about how to write something in Romani with Devanagari. Waiting for reply, Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 20:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
That is what the International Phonetic Alphabet is for. It is what is used by people around the world, including Indians when they wish to disclose the pronunciation of words with scientific accuracy. Devanagari has *no place* in this article as a pronunciation aid.
-- 03:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I want to stress that I don't want to imply a generalizaton, that all non-Roma are biased, every person should be judged only for the personal deeds. Personally, I consider that the intercutural dialogue is the only viable alternative to the contemporary state of affairs.Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 13:56, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Desiphral, you are poor gadjo without any knowledge of Romany roots and culture. I feel pity for you.

No need for personal attacks --Miskwito 18:16, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Descriptive or Perscriptive[edit]

Desiphral is yet to give any indication or source that Devangari is in fact use anywhere at all by Roma organizations or publications. In fact, all signs, (including Desiphral's subtle accusations of racism against detractors) suggests that Devangari is the pet-project of Desiphral or some group he is affiliated with. Even on the Romani language wikipedia, one gets the same impression reading Desiphral's posts.

I am not opposed to mentioning Devangari on this page... but if it's a pet project/cultural revival from a single/handful of Roma, let it be clearly stated. At this point, considering it on par with other Romani writing systems feels like a gross misrepresentation of facts.

-- 18:23, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

The article presents the area of use, the modality of acquirement, the contemporary limited use. Labelling something related to the standardization of Romani and its use in writing as "pet" is a step that implies all the other things related to these processes, since all the others may be also labelled as "pet". Unfortunately, there are not yet, by now, some initiatives of this kind to gain popularity among the Romani people. So, in this context, the article shows what is achieved by now. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 19:20, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Desiphral... let me ask point-blank:
Are there people who are not personal acquaintances of yours that use Devangari for writing Romani?
Is there any objective evidence or record, other than things you wrote on wikipedia, that show that Devangari is used for writing Romani?
Lastly, you are not the sole arbiter of whether or not sources need to be cited, or whether factual accuracy disputes are resolved. Your regular removals of notices on the main page seem little more than purposeful vandalism.
As far as I am concerned, the factual accuracy of the Devangari portions of this article are **highly** suspect. Wikipedia is not a tool for language planning... and that is exactly what you seem to be using it for, both here and with even more impunity in the Romani wikipedia.
-- 21:39, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Another question. (Presumably) you wrote, "Now there are contemporary standardization attempts for the Latin and Devanagari writing systems."
I know who are involved in the Latin standardization attempts. *WHO* are involved in the Devangari standardization attempts, other than a handful of anonymous internet users like you?
What you write is mostly fine. But the *way* you write it gives the impression that Devangari is somehow a swap-in alternative to the Latin writing systems. The fact is, no Roma grew up learning/using Devangari for writing Romani and its users are negligable (how many Roma use Devangari, Desiphral?? More than 10?), whereas nearly all literate Roma use the Latin or the Cyrillic script for their language.
-- 21:46, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I already explained the causes for the scarcity of written sources, a problem that I am confronting in many other cases when I want to give more presence for Romani people at Wikipedia (otherwise the place doesn't remain empty, it tends to be filled with Gypsist stuff). Regarding the weight of Devanagari in this article, I have in mind a balanced presence of all groups and opinions in the Romani communities and I'm trying my best for the accuracy. As you may see, the article gathers quite many informations about the Romani writing systems. I don't consider correct to question the weight of Devanagari, but to add more informations about the other writing systems. Indeed, most of the article is organized by me and consequently it stops where it stops also my knowledge. I agree that others may see differences in the expression that need to be debated for reaching a concord of all contemporary points of view. In this sense, I agree with the last change of expression as being much closer to reality than the radical measures proposed before. I don't consider at all propagandistic the quantity of informations about Devanagari here (again, I invite more quality informations about other writing systems), they are valuable and in the scope of Wikipedia, of gathering the knowledge about the world.
You using Devanagari left right and centre when in fact there is no record of it being used for the language outside of internet material leading back to you is a bit like if I were to fill the German language article with stuff about how German can be written with cyrillic. It's possible. It might make for a neater one-to-one correspondence between written symbols and pronunciation... but nobody uses it, and it has no relevance for the german article.
The case with Devanagari is just barely different. I accept that there might be Roma who try to use it for their language... they are however clearly exceedingly few (you are the only one I know of, in fact, Desiphral) and do not represent a movement or a meaningful grouping within the Roma. An objective version of this article would note that attempts have been made by some Roma to use Devanagari for their language, and the table of letter/pronunciation correspondence is fine too. Anything else really has no place in this article.
Why is the Romani writing system article filled with information about the least important writing system that practically no Roma use, and no Roma ever used historically (after arrival into Europe, anyways)? There is no sensible reason.
Regarding the "impression of swap-in alternative": there are presented the positive conclusions of those who use Devanagari as solving many problems of the standardization, but they are not used purposely to cast a bad image on other writing systems. It is obvious it is necessary also the knowledge of the Latin script in the contemporary state of affairs. Again, if there are misunderstandings of expression, do let me know. Regarding the use of Devanagari in Wikipedia outside this article: by now I am almost alone here, but when others will want to contribute on Romani language topics, in an Wikipedia environment that supposes as much comprehension as possible, they will confront too those well known challenges of writing's standardization not yet fully addressed. For example, recently I had to include in English Wikipedia the Romani word that I chose to write in Latin alphabet as chavo (I considered this as the best choice of about 10 possibilities I knew). To clarify its pronunciation, I added the IPA writing and the Devanagari (since there are no doubts about how to write an Indo-Aryan language in this writing system). Is this live language planning at Wikipedia? No, there are necessary some choices of the best options from those already existing, in order to facilitate the presentation of some informations. Any other ideas are most welcomed and needed, but by additions or improvements of what already exists, not by suppressions or impositions of one view. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 00:20, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Devanagari does not help anybody other than Devanagari writing system users (Indians--not the Roma, not the other Gadje). It's inclusion is completely pointless, and once again gives the impression that Devanagari has some status with or some importance to the Devanagari language. You may think so, Desiphral... there is no evidence that any meaningfully large number, or any coherent group of Roma think so. That is why it is propaganda and/or language planning.
The IPA is all that is required for clarity of pronunciation. Devanagari adds nothing of substance. I would appreciate some wikipedia veterans or old-timers chiming in on this topic... as I said, Desiphral's contributions are rarely wholly wrong, but thoroughly give the false impression of Devanagari being something to the Romani language that it has never been demonstrated to be by anyone. In fact, internet searches will make it clear that any mention of Devanagari in relation to the Romani language leads back to Desiphral's wikipedia work either here or more likely on the Romani wikipedia.
-- 03:39, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

A way forward?[edit]

Being bold, I've attempted to improve the page to the best of my ability. I've expanded the section a little on the process of standardisation, deleted the section on "Early History" as being irrelevant to the topic at hand (that kind of thing belongs on the Roma people page) as well as unreferenced. I've tried my best to address the issue of undue weight being given to Devanagari by expanding the section on Latin scripts. I have also removed unsourced and unsupported claims about Devanagari (specifically that it is somehow "easier"). Finally, and most importantly, I've provided references throughout for everything that I have added, from reliable, published sources.

However, the work on this article is nowhere near complete. I'm currently looking for some good sources on Cyrillic being used for Romani but am rather hampered by not having any Russian (if anyone can help on this, please dive in!). Additionally, a lot more can be said about standardisation efforts in the community: Matras in particular has a great deal more to say on the subject. I'm also a bit uncomfortable about not including enough information on country-specific orthographies, but can't find any reputable sources for them in English at such short notice.

Thus we are left with the problem of Devanagari. The position of Wikipedia, which can be found at WP:SOURCE, is that anything which goes into an article must be Verifiable, and attributable to a reliable published source. As such, it doesn't matter if Devanagari is used or not, what matters is whether this use can be verified in a reliable, published source. If not, it has no place in a Wikipedia article, end of discussion.

Thus, I propose that Desiphral, or any other interested party is given a period in which they can provide acceptable sources for the use of Devanagari, and any other claims they would like to make about the script. After which period, if no sources have been forthcoming, we should delete the section on Devanagari as being original research. If there is still dispute after that, I suggest we take it to the wider community and request comments. I would suggest, say, until the end of the month for the period in which sources are to be found for Devanagari. Until such sources have been provided, I also think it would be appropriate if Desiphral stops adding Devanagari alternative spellings for any Romani words he comes accross.

Hopefully this will be a step in the right direction towards building consensus. Dewrad 13:05, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Good work. I'm pretty much in agreement with your changes. Personally, I think giving Desiphral until the end of the month to find sources is being very charitable, considering how long people have been requesting sources for. Desiphral, you should be grateful that others are allowing this unsourced material to remain in the article for as long as they are. If I were you I'd hurry to find some good sources... --Miskwito 22:16, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I am also in agreement. However there still remains the (I think also relevant) issue of the Romani language wikipedia being hijacked by the Devanagari supporters even worse than this article.
Not being familiar with wiki procedures, I do not know whether that is something that should be or could be dealt with... but seems like something that ought to be addressed. Just because Desiphral was the first (or one of the first) to take interest in a Romani wikipedia doesn't mean he gets to use it for what I still say is very blatant language planning of sorts.
-- 21:18, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
That latter's probably best addressed at Meta rather than here. I also note how no sources have been forthcoming. Dewrad 02:24, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

30th March[edit]

Tomorrow is the end of the month. As stated above, should no reliable published sources be forthcoming about the use of Devanagari, I will remove the unsubtantiated references to the script tomorrow. Dewrad 08:43, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I removed it early. Wikipedia is not the place to publish the results of one's pet project. bogdan 19:27, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
In which case, I believe there is no need for the accuracy dispute template. So I removed it. Dewrad 19:39, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
BTW, I see that the Romany Wikipedia is now using this script as well... I think that's just preventing people from editing it, as probably very few Romany people are literate in Devenagari. In the places where Romany is used as minority language in education, the Latin alphabet is used, not this alphabet which appears to be invented by a wikipedia contributor. bogdan 19:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, the search input box in the Romany Wikipedia only accepts Devanagari text... which effectively renders the search function useless for most users.
I wrote about this in Wikipedia Meta but I do not know if that is the right place. -- 02:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Node and Desiphral[edit]

OK, you two. Quit it. It's not productive. There's some good evidence that Desiphral is either the originator or a significant player in the movement to use Devanagari for Romani, as is shown on the Romani wikipedia[1]. Frankly, I say good on you, that Řoma are discovering their Desi roots is a good thing, in my opinion, and highly laudable. However, it's not really appropriate for a Wikipedia context. The reason why I'm pushing for the standard scholarly transcription to be used both here and elsewhere in Wikipedia articles is because if people want to read further on the Romani language it's this transcription they'll encounter. Writing chey is all very well, but the form people will encounter if they read further in scholarly literature isn't चेऐ or chey, but čhej. Personally, in the form of Romani that I'm learning, I would say šej, but I'd expect to see čhej. Basically, wikipedia isn't about what we think is right but about what we know is verifiable. For example, I believe that Hancock's derivation of rrom from rama is correct, but the scholarly community as a whole disagrees with me and prefers to derive it from ḍomba (c.f. Roma_people#Etymology. So it is this view that we must provide in Wikipedia, in the same way that we don't consider the glottalic hypothesis to be gospel, just a theory.

Now, if you two can quit sniping at each other, and if you, Desiphral, can accept that Wikipedia's aim isn't to write about the "truth", but what's verifiable, I think we'll all be able to move forward productively. Dewrad 22:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

According to the Wikipedia:Conventions#National_varieties_of_English, there should be followed the spelling of the first contributor and stay with it. Your argumentation presenting the caron variant as the academic, standard one, is baseless. In Eastern Europe there is an entire teaching system organized with acute accent (in Romania, the country with the biggest number of Roma), system also endorsed by the World Romani Congress, while the variant without diacritics, based on English spelling, is the most rapidly expanding (for obvious reasons), most used on Internet and also the most understandable (if I would use your argument about the expectations of the readers). You just replaced a system with another system from those available, naming your preffered one as "standard". Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 17:30, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
An excellent convention for English. You'll note, however, that we're not dealing with English words. And, for the love of god, I'm not replacing it with my "favoured" form, I'm replacing it with the form that is encountered in pretty much all academic literature on the subject at the moment. For similar reasons, we don't transliterate Sanskrit with any old ad hoc system but that which is the current standard. Similarly, I haven't used the system endorsed by the WRC, no matter how "rapidly expanding" it is, because Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Dewrad 17:56, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Romani is in a similar case as English, used in many countries and continents, without a central organization of its Latin script. Which is the Romani correspondent of the National Library of Calcutta? Maybe you? I maintain my point of view that your choice is totally relative. If you would have learned first the official variant from Romania, as other people interested in linguistics did, probably you would have militate for the "acute accent" variant. There is enough academic literature in non-diacritic and acute accent variants, just you probably don't know or don't bother about them. Knowing your past behaviour, I would expect various arguments about how your variant is more academic as being more used in Western countries, but, the same as in the other cases, it is just your personal point of view, your personal experience in the place where you are. There are many Roma, in fact most of them, living outside USA/Canada/UK (and also non-Roma working with the Romani language) and they develop too this language. The "rapidly expanding" issue was just an auxiliary one, you did not answer to the main issue of simultaneous use of different spellings. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 20:23, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Desiphral, refrain from commenting on users; comment on content only. Dewrad's provided a number of actual citations to back up his arguments; you still haven't. The rules for differences between British/Canadian/American/Australian spelling on the English Wikipedia has nothing at all to do with how we spell non-English words here. What you're arguing would be more like saying that if someone starts a Wikipedia article with AOLese spelling ("teh romani language iz rittin sevrl wayz..."...I suck at imitating it, but you know what I mean), then other people wouldn't be allowed to change it. --Miskwito 00:13, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Those conventions do not apply to non-English spellings. Orthography used should be that either 1) Handed down by the regulatory body for the language, in case there is one; 2) Failing that, the one used in most academic sources; 3) Failing that (ie, there are no academic sources about the language), there are other things but #2 works here. --Node 01:09, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
First of all, I deeply resent the manner how a sheer majority of users that state they have nothing to do with Romani language push to fulfill personal theories and also the derogatory way to present other scripts (the comparation with AOL). Second, even the sources provided to support the caron variant state their choice is not a standard. See the Matras' article here: "The bulk of Romani language publishing has a regional or local orientation, and lays no claim to becoming an international Standard." In the Handbook of Vlax Romani of Ian Hancock, at pages 34-36 he presents some of the contemporary Romani spellings and writes that: "It would be good to learn all three methods of speaking". No claim of standard variant... It is just some users on Wikipedia that have nothing else to do with their time (since the result of their "work" until now is just hindering, nothing productive). If you would have been the correct guys you pretend you are, you should have come forward, not me, with these facts. Sources for the acute accent variant: the page of the Romani teaching system in Romania based on all dialects in Romania, be they Romanian, Turkish, Hungarian or Slavic influenced. Don't tell me it does not exist since you did not hear about it. This is your personal problem that has no place in Wikipedia. Non-diacritic variant: Spanish influenced, here more; Hungarian influenced, more Hungarian, another one; Albanian influenced. If you would be indeed the Romani's National Library of Calcutta as you claim, you should have known about such sources already. Unless this is your method to find out new sources to learn Romani. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 10:41, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
A simple way to present the bias of the pro-caron users is the fact that they did not modify the words from Romani_language#Standardization, they just stick to basic words like yag, chavo, chey. Why? Are you less accustomed to them? Probably because they proceed fom an academic work ignored by you? Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 11:30, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Hold your horses.[edit]

Whoa, whoa, whoa. One reference that dismisses Devanagari as being "of academic interest only" does not warrant reimporting OR. Consensus has done away with it, and away it shall remain until your provide printed references. Dewrad 20:08, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

On Devanagari: Uh...Does This Help?[edit]

Hi, everyone! I happened to notice a lot of discussion here, apparently dedicated to whether or not anyone other than Desiphral uses Devanagari to write in Romani. I would just like to note that there is one book by Sampson in which there is a short dedication written in Romani in Devanagari script. (I think it's called something like "The Position of Romani in Indo-Aryan"...or was it that book on Welsh Romani he wrote?).

I don't remember the name of the source, but it certainly is there. Prof. Ian Hancock showed it to me the last time I visited; it's part of his Romani Archives.--Kuaichik 20:16, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Can you provide reliable (preferably printed, per WP:SOURCE) references that it is regularly used as a normal orthography by anyone except Desiphral and that it is any more than an "academic curiosity"? For what it's worth, there's a method of writing Welsh in Tengwar[2], but nobody's seriously suggesting we include that in the Welsh language article. Dewrad 20:21, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, gee, no! :-/ I don't know whether it's ever used as a normal orthography; is this the issue in question here? But it is true that Desiphral is not the only person to use Devanagari script to write Romani!! :-D --Kuaichik 20:34, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Heh. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who's written Welsh using Tengwar, but it's not really something that should go in Wikipedia. Dewrad 20:41, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. Hopefully, I helped to clear up something, though! Maybe I'll ask Prof. Hancock about the use of Devanagari in Romani the next time I see him. If there's anyone who knows about it, it's him! (BTW: according to the link you provided, no, you aren't the only person to use Tengwar for writing Welsh. That is, unless your name is Simon Ager!) --Kuaichik 21:02, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

If you do talk to him, see if he can give you a source to cite, too! :) --Miskwito 21:04, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Erm...I just noticed that article of Prof. Hancock's, i.e. a link on the Romani language talk page! He himself says that the use of Devanagari is little more than an academic curiosity. So is there any point in me asking him about it now? He's not likely to have changed his mind.
Actually, I myself thought the widespread use of Devanagari was unlikely. What Prof. Hancock says on that link makes sense and is consistent with what he has told me before: most Romanies are illiterate in any case, and those who can read are able to read the language(s) of the country in which they are staying. In other words, you have a distribution like this - most Romanies are illiterate. Some others can read another European language. A smaller Romani population can read at least one other European language AND Romani. Finally, very, very few can actually read Devanagari. (Even Prof. Hancock has trouble reading Devanagari!). --Kuaichik 07:42, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Miskwito, seeing as how the reality of Devanagari use for Romani is now pretty much established here; how can the issue of the Romani wikipedia (being written half, if not more in Devanagari) be addressed? I wrote in Meta, but it appears to have been overlooked or ignored thus far. -- 14:59, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
I really don't know; if no one replies soon, you can try asking again, I suppose. The English Wikipedia isn't really the place for that, though. --Miskwito 19:13, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Since it's relevant, I'm going to copy Node's comments from the talk page of Romani language article here:

I think the page about Romani writing systems should in fact mention all writing systems used for Romani. This includes Devanagari and Andrzej Mirga's alphabet. However, I think it is only appropriate that they be included in context -- that is, we should note how much they are actually used, which according to Hancock is hardly ever. I think that they are both interesting, and I wish I could find more details on Andrzej Mirga's script, an d they would be an interesting addition provided we do not lie about their provenance as our desi phral here seems to want to do. --Node 05:40, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm changing my mind on this now too, in light of Hancock's page, so I'm more or less in agreement with you, Node. Ideally, I think, there could perhaps be a section at the end of the article, "Other systems" or something, that briefly mentions other proposals that haven't become as widespread as the Latin or Cyrillic systems, including Devanagari-based ones and this one of Andrzej Mirga. But that would require having more information on those systems than the one sentence from Hancock's article. --Miskwito 19:13, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

One thing that means you can ask Hancock if you see him again, Kuaichik, is whether he can direct us to any published sources that go into more detail on these other systems? --Miskwito 19:15, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
I think more urgent is an inclusion of details on Cyrillic. I think it's most important that we document which one is used where -- for example I know Romani is written in Latin in Serbia, which might surprise some, and I believe it is also written in Latin in Bulgaria, though I may be wrong. I know Cyrillic is usually used for Russian varieties of Romani, but I wonder where else it is used and if we can't find a source for that information? --Node 05:04, 9 April 2007 (UTC)


I have opened a Request for Comment on Desiphral for his actions on this and other pages related to the Romani language and Roma people. The page can be found at Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Desiphral. If you have any comments or opinions on the RfC, please feel free to make them known there. --Miskwito 22:36, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

the above talkpage is a towering example of how much time could be saved if just WP:RS would be enforced. It is bad enough that rmy:, a wikimedia-hosted project, should be used as a platform for linguistic activism, but of course we cannot patrol the hundred-odd multilingual projects. What we should focus on is preserving en-wiki as a reliable source of encyclopedic information. Users trying to clean up minor projects will be strengthened by solid, well-researched en-wiki articles. --dab (𒁳) 16:42, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I tried bringing up the issue of the usage of the Devanagari script in Romany Wikipedia to the Wikipedia mailing lists, but without any results. bogdan (talk) 21:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikicite is deprecated[edit]

This is one of exactly two articles in Wikipedia that still uses both Wikiref and Wikicite. Looking at the structure of the references in this article, I would suggest replacing the "wikirefs" with {{Harv}} and using {{Cite book}} to format the citations. This would recreate the same behavior without too much effort. However, if the editors of this article object strongly to citation templates, there is no reason to change the article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Here are the old references and the new, side by side. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:41, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

  • Hancock, Ian (1995). A Handbook of Vlax Romani, Columbus: Slavica Publishers. ISBN 0-89357-258-6.
  • Lee, Ronald (2005). Learn Romani: Das-dúma Rromanes, Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. ISBN 1-902806-44-1.
  • Matras, Yaron (1999). Writing Romani: The pragmatics of codification in a stateless language. Applied Linguistics, vol. 20, pp 481-502.
  • Matras, Yaron (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-512-02330-0.
  • Hancock, Ian (1995). A Handbook of Vlax Romani. Columbus: Slavica Publishers. ISBN 0-89357-258-6. 
  • Lee, Ronald (2005). Learn Romani: Das-dúma Rromanes. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. ISBN 1-902806-44-1. 
  • Matras, Yaron (1999). "Writing Romani: The pragmatics of codification in a stateless language". Applied Linguistics: 481–502.  Unknown parameter |vol= ignored (|volume= suggested) (help)
  • Matras, Yaron (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-512-02330-0 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 

Devanagari, again[edit]

Hello I am the same author as in the edits. Being not used in contributing to Wiki, I'm sorry for having used "my" talk page instead of this. Since Devanagari script has been reintroduced in this page as a "system in use" (Anthony Appleyard on Jan 1, 2010 and then "Martinhasan" for an uncommented "Bible section" on June 15, 2010), I edited this page in order to put into context the buzz around the Romani Devanagari mostly due to the construction of Romani Wikipedia and the contribution of Desiphral to it. Therefore I created a section "Other scripts" where I mentioned Greek and Arabic script (ref [9]), Andrzej Mirga and Devanagari (ref [10]). Besides, I also mentioned recent interest in Devanagari at individual level. I feel this is important in order to put facts into context, and since it is unlikely that Romani Wikipedia will be cleaned of Devanagari stuff. In this context I feel it's better to present this Devanagari interest as it is, an individual's project. Unfortunately it is impossible to mention Desiphral's personal site ( because it is blacklisted. Instead I refered to (Werner Fröhlich's site, which mentions the Devanagari transcription without reference but very likely coming from the same source. Therefore what is the best to do: (i) exceptionally, allow for the reference, since useful in context, or (ii) leave the edit as it is now, or (iii) delete any mention of recent interest in Devanagari ? Thanks

Yves —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:30, 25 August 2010 (UTC)