About the project

This project (2019-2023) is the first, large-scale endeavour in Romani linguistics to study intragroup and intergroup interaction of the speakers of Romani dialects in Estonia and to draw from interactional dialectology. It is also the first large-scale linguistic project to focus on Romani dialects in Estonia.
According to estimates made by the Council of Europe, there are currently 600-1,500 Roma in Estonia (CoE used figure 1,050). Most Roma in Estonia belong to the Lotfitka (Latvian Roma) and Xaladytka (Russian Roma) groups. Many Lotfitka migrate from Latvia to Estonia. Some Lotfitka interact with Finnish Kaale. A majority of the indigenous Estonian Lajenge Roma population did not survive WWII (Zimmerman), and the dialect spoken by them is currently considered extinct. We will study structural linguistic features relevant for interaction, dialectal levelling, language variation and change as well as mutual accommodation patterns occurring in interaction of Roma coexisting with other Romani communities in urban settings. We will also study bilingual/multilingual choices, contact-induced language change and code-switching phenomena.
This project will add the multimodal analysis of interaction dimension to Romani linguistics and contribute to sociolinguistic work on Romani. We expect this project to make a significant contribution to current theoretical and methodological understanding of interactional dialectology. This project will contribute to the long Nordic tradition of conversation analysis and interactional linguistics. It will also contribute to inter-cultural pragmatics and ecolinguistics, and to contact linguistics as well. This project will create unique, large-scale archives of videotaped and transcribed conversations of Roma. Other outputs will be an edited volume, peer reviewed articles and a PhD thesis. This project will be directed by Kimmo Granqvist at the University of Helsinki, supported by a team of Finnish, Estonian and Russian early career researchers in Romani Linguistics and Romani fieldwork assistants. Mobilities constitute a crucial part of the implementation of the project.