Material in Romani opened for online use

The minority language digitisation project has released a range of resources for online use, from early Nordic Romani manuscripts to printed texts describing the early development of the Romani language.

These resources are freely available through the Fenno-Ugrica collection: https://fennougrica.kansalliskirjasto.fi/handle/10024/85841

The oldest Nordic material in the Romani language is characterised by its fragmentary nature. The earliest mentions of the Romani language and its lexicon are typically found in unpublished or only partially published manuscripts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Due to the scattered material, collecting and digitising relevant early manuscript data from several different memory institutions has been necessary for the project.

For example, the Zingarica collection includes the Estonian Paul Ariste’s notes on the Romani language, Christfried Ganander’s article  "Undersökning om De så kallade TATTARE eller Zigeuner, Cingari, Bohemiens,Deras härkomst, Lefnadssätt, språk m.m. Samt om, när och hwarest några satt sig ner i Swerige?” from 1781, Adam Lindh’s ABC book from 1893, vocabulary lists compiled by H. A. Reinholm in the 1860s as well as nearly two hundred Romani monographs printed in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s.

There is clearly a need for digitising Romani resources, since the material has not previously been documented through digitisation and released for open use to any measurable degree. Romani language and culture research is a growing field, characterised by rich multidisciplinary connections to various language disciplines, general linguistics, cultural and social anthropology, sociology, psychology, the study of religions, social sciences, education and medicine. In Finland, Romani language and culture studies focuses on the dialectology and grammar of Romani as well as researching migration and the history of the Roma, all of which will benefit from the newly digitised material.

The Digitisation Project of Minority Languages, led by the National Library and funded by the Kone Foundation, has cooperated with the National Library of Russia, the National Library of Sweden, the Estonian Literary Museum, the Swedish National Archives and the Archives of Finland’s National Board of Antiquities to digitise and release the material.

Jussi-Pekka Hakkarainen
Project Manager

Digitisation Project of Minority Languages
Research Library Services
National Library of Finland

+358 2941 40793
jussi-pekka.hakkarainen@helsinki.fi