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Does the Romani alphabet exist?
7 грудня 2022 р.

Does the Romani alphabet exist?

According to “Britannica”, the alphabet is a set of graphs, or characters, used to represent the phonemic structure of a language. This is a collection of letters that indicates the sound order in writing. Other variants of the name are the alphabet or the alphabet. 

It is even difficult to imagine life without the alphabet. This is the foundation of the foundations. The importance of the alphabet hardly needs to be proved to anyone, it is like an axiom. However, discussions about the existence and development of the Romani alphabet do not subside. 

One of the rather controversial issues arises from the very choice of the writing system, i.e. the set of symbols from which to compose the Romani alphabet. Cyrillic or Latin? Or maybe Devanagari? 

Currently, there is no consensus on this matter.

Taking into account the historical basis of the Romani language, Devanagari seems to be quite a suitable option. However, it is not at all practical and convenient to use. After all, the written language among the Roma often serves to establish communication with the surrounding peoples, and the use of syllabic writing among the European population does not contribute to this. That is why the use of the local alphabet, that is, the letters of the alphabet that is widespread in the country of their residence, is characteristic of the Romani language. So, for example, Roma living in Eastern and Southeastern European countries, where the local population mainly speaks Slavic languages, are more likely to use the Cyrillic script, while Western European Roma – Latin. 

But here too, not everything is clear. The set of symbols in these writing systems gives a choice between several options to denote the same sound. For example, in Cyrillic, you can use the symbols "i" or "и" to indicate the vowel sound [i]. Or, in Latin, the sound [ʃ] is written by the letter combination “sh” or the letter S with diacritical marks, such as “š”, “ș” and the like. Therefore, in the works of different Romani authors, there are different variants of the alphabet. 

Given this dispersion and difference in writing, the issue of codification and standardization of the Romani language, despite its urgency, still remains a challenge. Including the use of a single version of the alphabet.

Автор: Анастасія Тамбовцева, мережа EqualNet

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