Problems of an international language

by Dr Vania de Gila-Kochanowski

extract from Romane Chave and the Problems of their Intercontinental Communication

published in ROMA, January 1995-July 1995, Chandigarh, India.

 

Before taking up the subject which interests us, at first we would like to define the terms which, in the mouth of the people in the street, and even the specialists, often have a different meaning and, particu­lar, the following : Ethnos - People, Nation, Slate, Union and Federa­tion.

 

1 Ethnos – People : For the Romane Chave, forming a Romani Cel (Gypsy People), this includes several tribes. It is a human group historically determined, having relatively stable cultural, linguis­tic and physical characteristics in common, and being conscious of its unity, and of its difference from other Peoples.[1] An Ethnos - People can be scattered through several countries or even throughout the world, as it is the case of Romane Chave.

 

2  Nation : a People possessing a territory is a Nation. For example, in France, the Bretons, the Basques and the Occitans - both Peoples and Nations - constitute, in on the juridical level, one and only sovereign Nation : France.

 

3 State : “the State as an international body, must totalize the fol­lowing conditions :

1) permanent population,

2) determined terri­tory,

3) government,

4) ability to enter into relations with the other States..."[2]

 

4 Union-Federation : theoretically, can be considered as a Union or a Federation only a State where each Nation has :

1) a linguistic independence : all schools and Universities practicing the local language, the language of the Union being taught as first foreign language which is used as vehicular language, the lingua franca of the Union ;

2) a cultural independence : national literature, fine arts and his­tory taking precedence over the Union ones ;

3) an administrative and relatively economical independence.

On the contrary, the Constitution which rules the Army, the For­eign Affairs, the fundamental laws… etc.,  is common to each People or Nation belonging to that Union or Federation.

 

 

12 Romani, without being an artificial language, given the historic circumstances fills all these requirements :

1) It is apolitical, because the Romane Chave constitute a People, and not a Nation - they do not posses a territory of their own. Some sixty millions of RCH are scattered all over Europe and both Americas and considered by all Nations as “their Gypsies”.

2) The morpho-syntax of Romani, mostly of the Oriental Baltic dia­lect (since a century prior to the fall of Constantinople, the Ori­ental Baltic dialect has evolved by itself) has a simplicity, a rigor and a logic which can challenge the artificial languages : there is neither homophony, nor synonymy. Each morpheme and each lexeme have only one fundamental signification. No exceptions, no irregular verbs, no other grammatical complications.

3) Romani is the only language spoken presently in Europe which the wholly international vocabulary and scientific words without any arbitrariness can be included into, and that because each Romano Chavo can use as “mobile borrowing” any word of his national language, and as we have seen, the only solution to make this Babel Tower pull down that weighs so heavily on the com­munication between Romané Chavé of the world, is to replace these “mobile borrowings” by the international vocabulary, vo­cabulary all the Peoples and Nations of Europe consider as their.

Moreover , the form and the transcription under which Romani presents this international vocabulary, is much more accessible for all : they are lexemes roots or omnivalent themes, like certain French and English roots : fish, marche… idem Romane roots : trush f. “thirst, to be thirsty” ; trash “fright, to be frighten, fright­ened”. So trush - me trushovtrushalo, -i ; trash - me trashov – ­trashlo, -i... in the same way : difer f. “difference” - me diferov “I differ” - diferano, -i “different”.

 

13 But of course, my suggestion, if it is worth for Romani, is argu­able when it concerns a common European language : the Romane Chave have no political prestige, and their language, though “blood relative to noble Sanskrit, the most perfect 'of languages” as Friedrich Pott said, presently only an oral language, spoken by a People scattered throughout the world. You can remember that the literary masterpieces of the “Indo-Germanen” (read Indo-­Aryans), particularly the Rāmāyana and the Mahābhārata are written in Sanskrit. Of course, it is in Sanskrit of which Romani is only a reduced model, though it is much easier to handle than the prototype. Besides, it was given up because it had become too old, too much worn out...

 

14 Only one extralinguistic consideration : the majority of the youth nowadays, in the West as in the East, are defending again the values for which the RCH have been persecuted, excommuni­cated and slaughtered during long centuries : disinterested Love, hate of hypocrisy, tolerance and unlimited thirst of Liberty. Thus, for me, they are Romane Chave, because what makes a Romano Chavo is his state of mind.[3]

 

15 My suggestion would have all its value if the choice of n neutral, apolitical language were put without delay. In the beginning, it would be of use, only for Foreign Affairs - diplomacy. As the bounds between the States of Europe will tighten up, the instances of all kinds will be internationalized and, consequently, the linguistic cohesion of Europe will become a reality. Therefore, the expan­sion of the European koiné will depend on its political cohesion. When it ends to a European federal State, the linguistic board of Europe will be :

European Koiné = European Supranational Language = ESNL

Federal National Language (French, English, Russian... ) = FNL

National Language (Basque, Breton, Ukrainian, Latvian...) = NL

Regional Languages (Different Niederdeutsch...) = RL

Minority Ethnic Languages (Romani, Yiddish...) = MEL

Minority National Languages (Russian in France, French in Russia, German in Poland...) = MNL

 

CONCLUSION

 

16 A Government, whatever his territorial and demographic breadth is, allowing the economic and cultural development of all his States, will have a chance to survive to all gales. What we must seek, at all cost and by all means, in a great State as in R couple . the smallest social cell - is the respect and the symbiosis of the different values, the different cultures which, one day or the other, will lead to a total lack of balance and desegregation. The wealth, the greatness of a State is measured by the symbiosis of the differ­ent cultures and languages and the mutual respect of all his partners values which only allows a modus vivendi satisfactory for everyone.

 

17 Thus, we see that an European supranational language could help to make the linguistic borders pull down and bring a large contribution to human fraternity. The European supranational language seems the only realistic issue to satisfy the more and more pressing claims of the ethnic and national minorities (they are called minorities because they are wanted minor ! ) in many European States.

 



[1] Definitions, in Rasy i Narody, yezhegodnik ANSSR, Tome I 1977, pp. 25-27.

 

[2] Definition of the State from Pan-American Convention signed in Montevideo, 22 December 1933, cited by Charles Rousseau, in Droit international public, “Les sujets du Droit” Tome II, Paris 1974.

 

[3] cf my article Human Rights and the Romane Chave, in Studies in Indo-Asian Art and Culture, Vol. IV, New Delhi 1974, pp. 49-55.