The Patrin Web Journal is a website on the Romani people and their culture.

Patrin is more than a collection of links. Indeed, we intend to place more original material on our pages. But the links that are here should be viewed as doorways to how the rest of the world views the Romani people. In visiting these links a picture should start forming, a picture that shows little has changed to improve the social and legal conditions of the Romani people.

I particularly like the fact that the front page contains not one but two versions of the welcome message in Romanes, complete with stress marks for easier pronunciation; I trust zaelic will drop by to tell us which dialects they are. There is a glossary, an essay on language, and a Romanichal word list (I particularly like bístering mush ‘judge, magistrate’), among much other material.

(Via Bartcop Entertainment.)

If you’re wondering about the name, patrin is the Romanes word for ‘leaf’; the site’s glossary says:

Patrin (or pateran, pyaytrin, or sikaimasko). Marker used by traveling Roma to tell others of directions, also used for passing on news using prearranged signals. Also, a leaf or page (Romanes).


  1. The first is in standard Lovari (which has become the literary standard for the vlach/kalderash spectrum of Romanes, and the language which is fast becoming the standard internationally – mashkartemengipe.) and the second is in Sinti. To get a sense of the differences, look at the last sentence: “To Roma the world over, we send the message: we will remember!”
    The Lovari says: (no, I am not 100% sure of the translation) Kadeá amé shaj avás maj zuralé. Ashén Devlésa! But baxt aj sastimós tuménge “Thus we can become stronger. Stay with God. Much luck and health to you”
    The Sinti is : An kajá shíkta amé va zorelédar. Chéna mit u Báro Dével! But baxt unt sastibén tuménge
    I’m not so good at Sinti, but it is a lot like the Transylvanian musicians dialect (essentially Carpathian) that I learned, so you come up with something like “We would send that you become stronger. Remain with Great God. Much luck and health to you.”
    Notice the German influences in Sinti: shikta (send) mit ‘with’ and ‘unt’ ‘and’.
    Lovari/kalderash has me som, tu san, vo si (I am, you are)
    sinti/Carpathian has variatioons on me hom, tu han (or hal) , voy hi.
    Lovari will say -sa for “with” (lovensa ‘with the money’) while Carpathian would use -ha (lovenha)
    Then you get the in-between dialects, like Gurvari in Hungary which are vlach/kalderash but have the Carpathian ‘h’ thang going. And Gaboresti, which is Kalderash with a really strong back of the throat rasp where lovari pronounces a pure s or r “leXke vs. leske.” (his)
    Yaron Matras has been having linguists do a Romani dialect survey around Europe this year. I was present when my friend conducted the Gaboresti interview with Loli Gabor, ironsmith, in Cluj.
    Then there are the Balkan “Arlija” dialects, as well as Ursari. Don’t start me. I have too damn many dictionaries and can’t find my Carpathian or Sinti dictionaries.

  2. I hadn’t read the Patrin site in a long time. It sure has bulked up! A lot of the authors are friends of mine, many of whom have worked at the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest. And I even found an old article of mine that was reprinted from my days as editor of Budapest Week… written under my old alias…

  3. Nice article; here‘s the direct link. (But Dork, you’re not a Hungarian!)
    Thanks for all the info; I knew you’d come through.

  4. has the scoop… and some other of Dork’s stories.

  5. Knowing your appetite for fringe linguistics, I humbly submit the Dom Research Center,
    and the excellent journal Kuri, for your perusal. Roma that found their way to the middle east, Jerusalem in particular. Most out-in-left-field dialect of Romanes I have ever come across. Includes “Learning Domari” lessons if you are in particular need of acquiring a language that you probably will never need. (I prefer Muskoki.)

  6. Michael Farris says

    “a language that you probably will never need. (I prefer Muskoki.)”
    Mvskoke empunvkvn kerreckv?
    Or are you referring to a different Muskoki?

  7. Monks! Hers ce!

  8. Michael Farris says

    Hers ce!
    Estvn Mvskoke empunvkvn kerrecka?
    Cokvn kerrimvt Esten punayan kerrvks, Poland-ken este-catet fulleks ce!

  9. No, my Creek is pretty rusty, you lost me there. I studied a bit via the internet Creek archives site to get the feel for a Muskogean language. Used to be conversational in Quechua, though. Ahora mana yacankicu runasimit.

  10. Michael Farris says

    “No, my Creek is pretty rusty, you lost me there. I studied a bit via the internet Creek archives site”
    Isn’t that great? Has language hat written about it yet?
    “to get the feel for a Muskogean language.”
    I actually like Mikasuki better (used to know grammar very well, but never had chance to use it) but the Mvskoke archives led me more to Creek now. I became interested in Muskoghean languages because I have a (very small) amount of Muskoghean heritage (Choctaw, which I’ve never gotten into much for some reason).
    “Used to be conversational in Quechua, though. Ahora mana yacankicu runasimit”
    I went for Aymara (over three years of classes, but no chance to use it in situ).

  11. Sounds like somebody did linguistics down in Florida. Speaking of Romanes, lots of Beash in Florida if you want to practice non-standard Romanian. It ain’t Romanes, though, but still a fascinating group of (often annoying) folks.
    The Creek language Archive:

  12. One of the reasons I studied a bit of Mvskoke is that I have always been fascinated by everything eatern Oklahoman. I would love to visit there. It is, though, deeply bible belt. Being pretty radically Hebraic, I figured that everybody would try and save my soul, so I needed something to change the topic, or at least the language.
    One of the reasons (or excuses) that brought me to Europe in 1988 was the (completely wrong) idea that Romanes was in the same endangered situation as Native languages in the US, and in need of a staus report. Romani, however, is still the language of at least 30% of Roma children in Hungary, and probably more in Romania and Yugoslavia. And I gave up on anthropology and became a musician. Pays about the same -near zip – but no tenure battles to deal with.

  13. You know, zaelic, Michael Farris, if either of you up and decided to start a blog or sommat on those lines, I wouldn’t mind at all, nope, not at all.

  14. PF, that’s why we have Gospodin Language Hat! Unemployable linguists of the world, unite!

  15. Michael Farris says

    Yes, I studied linguistics in Florida, my Mvskoke fixation comes more from the Florida side (again, why I like Mikasuki so much).
    I’ve been to eastern Oklahoma a little and don’t honestly remember much of interest, but I wasn’t looking especially. Most of my time in Oklahoma (central) was spent speeding thru to other destinations.
    But I haven’t been to Florida in several years, though I did know some Roma families there (one family was in denial, pretending to be Austrian but they were Roma).
    I now live in Poland, where there aren’t nearly as many gypsies as in Hungary, but they all seem to stick resolutely to Romani (Lovari I think) among themselves. I’ve never heard Polish gypsies use Polish among themselves in public (though Hungarian gypsies seem to use Hungarian among themselves quite a lot).
    Maybe you know is there a variety of Romani with a lot of interdentals? I remember hearing such a variety once on a train in Hungary (B-pest to Szeged).

  16. Tatyana says

    Completely off topic:
    Michael, I shouldn’t have complemented you on your gallantry. My “priem” button still flashing.

  17. May I just say that this is a wonderful thread and you are all wonderful (and gallant) people. Where else do you find commenters exchanging remarks in Muskoki? Eh? Tell me that!

  18. I wanna comment but “findca me som matto!”…(Something to do with alchohol and a birthday party.) It’s Romanes, not Mvskoke…..
    Ever read the “Eloise” books when you were a kid? I just met her, she’s about 70, she’s my buddie’s mom!!! And man, she drank me under the table! G’nite!

  19. Pan Farris: I don’t know of any Romani interdentals… the “th” is an aspirated T, as in “thud” (milk, roughly pronounced t’ood) The Roma around Szeged are mostly Lovari speakers, with some Churar (like Gurvari, the ‘h’ thing among older speakers. There are a few Carpathian musician speakers in Mohacs.
    On the other hand, there were a lot of refugee Bosnian and Kosovar Roma coming into Hungary during the Yugoslav Civil wars – usually on their way to West Europe. Their Romani is quite different, especially the Bosnians.

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