A Grammar of Domari by Matras, Yaron

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By Matras, Yaron

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It no longer shows any trace of the inherited OIA/MIA internal passive in \, which is preserved in Domari. e. uniform markers of tense that follow the subject-concord marker) similar to those found in Kurdish and other Iranian languages. It appears as though both languages made use of the stems KR and V W R for the existential verb, as both languages still show cross-dialectal variation in the distribution of copula forms (Jerusalem Domari KRPL ‘I am’, Hauran Domari ߂WRPL; Sinti Romani KRP, Arli Romani VRP; note also the cognates Domari D K X URP ‘I became’ and Romani K XORP).

Distribution also seems to be influenced by syllable length and assimilation to neighbouring vowels (such as raising in anticipation of L variants): >H@ >QਥKHপ@ >GHM@>GH৸M@ >HਥUL@ >IHਥMԌߑ@ >EHQ@ QKH· ‘there isn’t’ GH\, Ǧ\ ‘village’ HUL ‘she arrived’ IH\L߂ ‘argument, fight’ EHQ ‘sister’ >͑@ >প͑ਥP͑@ >প͑KਥUL@ HPH ‘we’ HKUL ‘she became’ 38 Chapter 2: Phonology >প͑ਥKH@ >SO͑@ >]OD৸ਥP͑@ >JRUਥM͑@ HKH ‘these’ SOH ‘money’ ]OčPH ‘men’ JRU\H ‘horses’ The back vowels >X@, >ࡱ@ and >R@ are generally stable and consistent in their word stem positions irrespective of environment: >X@ >ਥNXUL@ >[XਥGওRWL@ >পXUDਥWL@ >পDਥWX@ NXUL ‘house’ [XG६RWL ‘yesterday’ XUDWL ‘tomorrow’ DWX ‘you’ >ࡱ@ >PࡱਥWࡱU@ >SࡱਥWࡱU@ >ਥKࡱQGDU@ >Jࡱਥ]͑O@ PXWXU ‘urine’ SXWXU ‘son’ KXQGDU ‘there’ JX]HO ‘nice, beautiful’ >R@ >পDਥGওRWL@ >ORQ@ >SࡱWਥURV@ >EDਥURP@ DG६RWL ‘today’ ORQ ‘salt’ SXWURV ‘his son’ EDURP‘my brother’ Elsewhere, there appears to be more volatility and frequent alternation among vowels in neighbouring positions, as well as a greater degree of environmental conditioning.

For the Bahlawan population of metalworkers, Streck (1996: 295–297) documents several dozen words of Domari origin that are used as a “secret language” among group members, embedded into their local dialect of Arabic. In many cases, frozen grammatical inflections accompany the vocabulary items: LNLRVV ‘eye’ (N\RV ‘his eye), VDQWDVV ‘dog’ (VQRWDV ‘dog [direct object]’), NXWXUMHVV ‘European’ (NWXUDV ‘Christian [direct object])’, VKHULD ‘knife’ (߂LU\D ‘knife [direct object]’), SLUQ ‘nose’, VXWDUL ‘to sleep’ (VXWDUL ‘he/she sleeps’), TRWDUL ‘to steal’ (TDIWDUL ‘he/she steals’).

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