Language as code and emblem in the writing of the Romany authors in the Czech Republic
This essay provides a summary of the Romany language in the Czech Republic today with regard to its defining historical contexts. It examines stereotypical Czech attitudes towards this language and their influence on the understanding their own language and its prestige amongst Romany speakers. It also examines a Romany ethnolect and aspects of multilingualism in Romany speakers and analyzes thhe motives for switching codes. The author then contrasts the perception of Romany amongst Roma people writers and their part in current efforts to achieve a 'reversing language shift' . The very use of Romany as a literary language appears as a politically loaded, legitimizing act. At the same time, Romany authors ascribe an almost sacred nature to the Romany language. In their writing, the communal language emblematizes Romanyhood itself or positive traits and the potential of their exclusively Romany commonwealth. The author considers how works by Vladislav Haluška, Ilona Ferková, and Irena Eliášová exploit multilinugalism. She regards the use of Czech in Romany as an incursion by an alien force. in Czech-language works, Romany expressions help to create the setting of the narrative in the 'Romany world'. Questions of intercultural encounters, differences, and potentials for understanding can thus be studied not only theoretically, but also in the specific works of these writers.
Česká literatura, redakce, Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR, v. v. i., Na Florenci 3/1420, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
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