Lexicography of a Non-State Language: The Case of Burgenland Romani

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorBarbara Schrammel, Astrid Rader
TitleLexicography of a Non-State Language: The Case of Burgenland Romani
AbstractBurgenland Romani (henceforth BR) is spoken in Burgenland, the easternmost province of Austria. Until recently BR was an exclusively oral language. However, active language use of BR has almost totally ceased in the second half of the 20th century. The self-organisation of the group from the 1990s onwards led to a new appreciation of the language, which is now accepted as the primary identity marker. This new interest in their own language and culture entails the desire for the revival, maintenance and spread of BR. One aspect of language planning in BR concerns the functional expansion of the language into acrolectal domains where it has never been used before.
BR is lexicographically documented in two different media, i.e. in ROMLEX (henceforth RL), which is an extendible multi-dialectal lexical database with a freely accessible web-interface (http://romani.unigraz. at/romlex/) and a print dictionary. RL is intended as a tool for comprehensive lexical documentation of BR. At the same time, it is a practical, low-threshold tool for text producers. The print dictionary, on the other hand, primarily serves an emblematic purpose. Given the differing purposes of RL and the print dictionary, different strategies are used in lexicographic decision-making. Roughly speaking, RL favours an inclusive descriptive approach while the print dictionary is rather restrictive and follows normative principles. The paper discusses decisions taken with respect to orthography, lemma selection and meaning for RL and the print dictionary, respectively. We are highlighting lexicographic phenomena, such as increased polysemy, generic usage of terms and heavy borrowing, which are typical of the functional expansion process of stateless minority languages.
SessionLexicography of Lesser Used or Non-State Languages
author = {Barbara Schrammel, Astrid Rader},
title = {Lexicography of a Non-State Language: The Case of Burgenland Romani},
pages = {1522-1535},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 14th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2010},
month = {jul},
date = {6-10},
address = {Leeuwarden/Ljouwert, The Netherlands},
editor = {Anne Dykstra and Tanneke Schoonheim},
publisher = {Fryske Akademy},
isbn = {978-90-6273-850-3},