SINTI.

I have just discovered that there is a group of Gypsies called Sinti (or Sinto) that is apparently distinct from the Roma, but I am unable to find detailed information other than that they mostly hail from northern and western Europe (Germany, France, the Netherlands, &c.). It seems to be politically correct in Germany to speak of “Sinti and Roma” rather than “Zigeuner” (Gypsies). If anyone out there knows more (for example, whether there are linguistic differences), I would be much obliged if you’d pass it on. It’s very hard on me when both the internet and my excessively laden bookshelves fail me.
Addendum. And that goes for the Jenisch (or Yenish or Yeniche) too.
Answer. The learned Bob Cohen has provided the following information in the comments section, which pretty much clears the matter up; thanks, Bob!

Speaking of “Roma and Sinti” is like saying “Jews and Sephardim”. The Sinti dialect is definately Rromanes, but not intelligible to speakers of Kalderash or Balkan Rromanes. They mix in a lot of German influence and lack the heavily Romanian influences of Kalderash/Vlashiko…. As for Jenische, it isn’t very much spoken any more—there is a Jenische web page for Swiss Jenische, they seem to have been a non-Rroma group who adapted and intermarried with Rroma.

Comments

  1. This probably won’t help much, but could this be the group to which Django Reinhardt belongs?

  2. bob cohen says:

    Speaking of “Roma and Sinti” is like saying “Jews and Sephardim”. The Sinti dialect is definately Rromanes, but not intelligible to speakers of Kalderash or Balkan Rromanes. They mix in a lot of German influence and lack the heavily Romanian influences of Kalderah/Vlashiko. Yes, Django was a Sinti, they are known as “Manouche” in France, from Rromanes “Manush” meaning man. As for Jenische, it isn’t very much spoken any more – there is a Jenische web page for Swiss Jenische, they seem to have been a non Rroma group who adapted and intermarried with Rroma. The name comes from “Dzan”, Rromanes for “to Know” as in “They know our language. If you want more word lists or stuff, I got ‘em.
    Bob

  3. Thanks, Bob; that just about takes care of everything I wanted to know! Being able to ask obscure questions and have them answered overnight… what a wonderful world!

  4. Are the so-called “Irish Tinkers” or “Irish Travelers” gypsies as well?

    Just wondering. . .

  5. No, they have a similar lifestyle and are often confused with Gypsies but are quite distinct; here‘s a useful page on them.

  6. It was only a matter of time before you and Bob discovered each other, Steve! Just a year I interviewed Bob [another New Yorker] for a music website on the subject of his folk-music and linguistic erudition in a bar in Budapest….

    Hello Bob!

  7. I think I’ll hang up a sign “Steve’s American Café” and serve virtual cocktails to all the cosmopolites who drop by. The internet: Casablanca of the mind!

  8. Hello, I have been studying all nomadic groups of Europe for a while now, I have a prime interest in the Jenisch but are unable to find much info except that page (Above entry), I have found lots of pages but they are in German and sadly I don’t speak the language, my question is with reference to the nomadic movement into Scandinavia in the 1500 – 1800 period, I have good reason to believe that a large group of Jenisch moved into the region in that period and has lots of descendants still living there including myself, but I am not sure? A bit sad really….so if any one can help me please don’t hesitate to mail me:)

  9. You might send Bob an e-mail (click on bob cohen under the second comment); he’s incredibly knowledgeable and very helpful.

  10. i tried to send bob the mail, but his adr was not working, so i will just post it here and hope he finds it?
    Nove
    Hello, I got your e-mail adr of languagehat and I though I would send you an mail and see if you could provide me with any new info regarding the Jenisch people of Switzerland, prologue; my family come from a nomadic people on the west cost of Norway, they came there some time in between 1500 – 1800, but so did the Roma as well, and the result is that the grand children of these nomads who came to Norway cant find their roots or emigration routs and it has lead to a lot of arguments. I found out that the nomads of western Norway must be a mix between the two groups, but when I started to look for proof of this Jenisch travel from Switzerland via Germany and Denmark into Norway I didn’t find much, except language, it seems that it has left a little clue that is still alive in Denmark, but has long ago disappeared from Norway, I found it to be Rotwelsch in Germany, rodi in Norway and Denmark, but that is as far as I can go as I have tried to contact the Jenisch in Switzerland via internet: http://www.Jenisch.ch , but they are ignoring my questions, but I am not sure if they understand English? And I cannot read German very well.
    Nove

  11. i sinti sono dei giostrai?
    se qualcuno avesse materiale per favore mandatemelo.
    grazie

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