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«Dieter W. Halwachs ROMA AND ROMANI IN AUSTRIA* The Austrian Roma and Austrian Romani can be seen as paradigmatic of the social and linguistic ...»

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All this shows clearly that medial and cultural productions in Romani have only an em­ blematic-symbolic character. The question that remains to be asked is who the real target group of these "marginalia of culture industry" are: the Roma themselves or the Gadže sup­ porters and advocates of a multicultural society?13 If one takes into account that in the vast majority of cases Gadže initiate public-cultural initiatives and media products by the Roma, one could conclude that the "consumers of multiculturalism" are the primary addressees of Romani-products. This thought is strengthened by the fact that with many cultural events of the Roma the Gadže form the majority of visitors; the danger lies in the threat of folklorizing the Roma’s public-cultural activities. Following this line of argumentation, Romani as carrier of culture can be placed between the scylla of extinvtion and the charybdis of folksy and eth­ no-romantic folklorization. This scenario of Romani’s place between "death and apparent death" cannot be dismissed, but in reality matters are more complex. A majority of Roma ap­ proves of this Romani culture initiated by Gadže.14 Besides, the Roma are usually proud that their language fulfills the same requirements as that of the majority population and other eth­ nic groups. This does not change the fact that the emblematic function of Romani in the pub­ lic context prevails over the informative one, but it shows that using Romani in a public-cul­ tural and medial context does make sense: if literature, music, newspapers, radio and TV programs etc. in Romani raise the Roma’s self-esteem and, at the same time, show the ma­ jority population (or those who will listen) that the Roma have an equal, autonomous culture, these products surely contribute to the social integration of the Roma. In how far Romani can assert itself in this process of integration remains to be seen.

3 Conclusion European institutions do make a contribution to the public presence and the preservation of Romani; both indirectly by recommendations and treaties as was the case with the European Council, and directly by supporting educational programs like that of the European Union.

The Romani Projekt or, more exactly, one part of it, the project "Kodifizierung und Didak­ tisierung des Burgenland-Romani" was one of the first Austrian projects to be supported by European Union's Socrates program. There are also some more projects, co-financed by the EU, where Austrian Roma organizations participate. Here, however, the organizations are only partners, not coordinators: the administrative work is extremely time-consuming and complex, and the organizations with their limited infrastructures oftentimes give up after leaf­ ing through the application requirements and forms. Additionally, the relatively high share of national financing is impossible to achieve for the organizations. Also, a rather high number

of domestic and foreign project partners has to be found, which makes things more difficult:

the Roma and Roma organizations only rarely have the necessary contacts and international networks at their disposal to build and manage the demanded project structure. The Roma’s self-organization is relatively "young" and because of the socio-political situation – marginal­ ization, survival in smaller groups etc. – not yet ready to fulfill such requirements. These EU requirements can be seen as a contribution to the organizational development and as an op­ portunity to form new contacts, but there are also dangers in asking too much of the Roma organizations: projects are coordinated by long-established educational institutions who dis­ pose of both the necessary infrastructure and the contacts which are necessary to get na­ tional sponsoring. This means that the public funds are not, or only to a small part, of benefit to the Roma. The biggest part of the funds is used for administrative and representative means of the Non-Roma organizations which coordinate the project. Additionally, it could be that these Non-Roma organizations "take measures to make the Roma forcedly happy; in the form of politically correct positive discrimination", and that they carry out projects without active participation of Roma – according to the motto "We are doing great things for you Roma"-, projects which may not touch upon the real needs of those concerned. The more adequate method for establishing Roma projects – "What do you want to do for yourselves, and how can we help?" – is used much too rarely. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the Eu­ ropean Union makes important contributions to the preservation of culture and language, and to the social integration of Roma. The fact alone that there are special measures for supporting the Roma, making the Roma an EU concern, gives a higher status to the con­ cerns and activities of Roma organizations and makes the national authorities deal with, and not negate, the concerns of the Roma like with that of other population groups.

The Austrian situation is typical of many Central and Western European countries: a het­ erogeneous Roma population consisting of several groups, living in Austria legally, with dif­ ferent cultural backgrounds, showing a certain degree of self-organization; and a number of illegal immigrants who have no possibility to legalize their stay and are thus excluded from all federal benefits and support. Consequently, there is a socio-political division into legal and il­ legal, in addition to the existing socio-cultural heterogeneity. However, the European Roma society tries to act as one group at least on an organizational level. For this, it would be nec­ essary to level off the socio-political differences, and the Roma would have to have the op­ portunity to find a homogeneity on a higher level – despite their socio-cultural differences.

Every group must have the possibility to tend to their own cultural values, active participation in the educational system and the media being a prerequisite. If one’s "own" is safe, "the other" can be accepted more easily. If the Roma manage to create equality between the var­ ious socio-cultural values of the individual groups, their social integration into the majority population will be easier. The question if Romani will continue to be a fully functioning lan­ guage after such a process of integration remains – even with utopian ideal measures for support in the area of education and the media – open.


Ambrosch, Gerd, Emmerich Gärtner-Horvath, Dieter W. Halwachs, Michael Wogg, et al. eds. 2000.

Kaj pe sina, kaj pe nana. Amare pamaristscha, Graz/Oberwart: Romani Projekt/Verein Roma.

Cech, Petra, Christiane Fennesz-Juhasz, Dieter W. Halwachs, and Mozes F. Heinschink. eds. 2000.

Tusa ande akhoren khelos... Lovarenge Paramici, Graz/Wien: Romani-Projekt/Romano Cen­ tro.

Cech, Petra, Christiane Fennesz-Juhasz, Dieter W. Halwachs, and Mozes F. Heinschink. eds. 2001.

Te na dikhas sunende... Lovarenge paramici, tertenetura taj gjila. / Fern von uns im Traum...

Märchen, Erzählungen und Lieder der Lovara, Klagenfurt: Drava.

Fennesz-Juhasz, Christiane. 1996. Tondokumente europäischer Roma. Die Sammlung Heinschink im Phonogrammarchiv der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaf-ten, in: Handbuch der Tsiganologie. Joachim S. Hohmann, Joachim. ed. Pp. 272-281. Frankfurt/M.: Peter Lang.

Fennesz-Juhasz, Christiane, Dieter W. Halwachs, and Mozes. F. Heinschink. 1996. Sprache und Musik der österreichischen Roma und Sinti, in: Romani I. Dieter W. Halwachs. ed. Pp 61–110.

Graz: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft (= Grazer Linguistische Studien 46).

Fennesz-Juhasz, Christiane, and Mozes F. Heinschink. 2002. Kodo phende e Romora... / Dies

erzählten die Rom... Lovarenge paramiči taj gjila/Märchen und Lieder der Lovara. CD. Graz:


Fennesz-Juhasz, Christiane, and Michael Wogg. 2002. Schun, so me phukavav.../Hör, was ich erzähle... Romane pamaristscha, phukajiptscha taj gila andar o Burgenland/Märchen, Erzählungen und Lieder der Roma aus dem Burgenland. CD. Graz: Romani-Projekt.

Halwachs, Dieter W.(1993) Polysystem, Repertoire und Identität. Grazer Linguistische Studien 39/40.

Pp. 71–90.

Halwachs, Dieter W., Emmerich Gärtner-Horvath, Michael Wogg, et al. eds. 2000. O rom taj o beng.

Romane pamaristscha, phukajiptscha taj gila andar o Burgenland/Der Rom und der Teufel.

Märchen, Erzählungen und Lieder der Burgenlandroma. Klagenfurt: Drava.

Heinschink, Mozes F., and Ursula Hemetek. eds. 1994. Roma – das unbekannte Volk. Schicksal und Kultur. Wien: Böhlau.

Hemetek, Ursula. 2001. Mosaik der Klänge. Musik der ethnischen und religiösen Minderheiten in Österreich. Wien: Böhlau.

Jovanović, Ilja. 2000. Budžo – Bündel. Đila – Lieder. Landeck: Emirgân Yayınları Ed.

Matras, Yaron. 1999. Writing Romani: The Pragmatics of Codification in a Stateless Language.

Applied Linguistics 20/4. Pp. 481-502 Matras, Yaron. 2002. Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Nikolić, Mišo. 1997.... und dann zogen wir weiter. Lebenslinien einer Romafamilie. Klagenfurt: Drava.

Nikolić, Mišo. 2000. Landfahrer. Auf den Wegen eines Rom. Klagenfurt: Drava.

Pott, August Friedrich. 1844. Die Zigeuner in Europa und Asien. Ethnographisch-linguistische Untersuchung, vornehmlich ihrer Herkunft und Sprache nach gedruckten und ungedruckten Quellen. Erster Teil: Einleitung und Grammatik. Halle: Heynemann.

Stojka, Ceija. 1988. Wir leben im Verborgenen. Erinnerungen einer Rom-Zigeunerin. Wien: Picus.

Stojka, Ceija. 1992. Reisende auf dieser Welt. Aus dem Leben einer Rom-Zigeunerin. Wien: Picus.

Stojka, Karl, and Reinhard Pohanka. 1994. Auf der ganzen Welt zu Hause. Das Leben und Wandern des Zigeuners Karl Stojka. Wien: Picus.

Stojka, Mongo. 2000. Papierene Kinder. Glück, Zerstörung und Neubeginn einer Roma-Familie in Österreich. Wien: Molden.

Tichy, Heinz. 2002. Die Europäische Charta der Regional- oder Minderheitensprachen und das österreichische Recht. Klagenfurt: Hermagoras.

The juridical importance of the differentiation between allochthonous and autochthonous is clearly shown by the Amendment to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (Bundesverfassungsgesetz), which came into

force in the year 2000:

(1) The German language is, regardless of the federally acknowledged minorities rights, t h e official lan­ guage of the Republic.

(2) The Republic (federal government, provinces, local authorities) acknowledges its grown linguistic and cultural diversity, which is expressed by autochthonous ethnic groups. The language and culture, the continued existence and preservation of these ethnic groups are to be respected, protected and support­ ed. (Source: http://www.bka.gv.at/bka/dokumente/art8BVG.pdf) For more information on the model used here see Halwachs (1993) Furthermore, at least a part of the older generations has to use German only in a public-official context, and even then, younger family members, competent speakers of German, translate for them.

The significance of Hungarian and Croatian has been decreasing over the last decades because of the socio-cultural changes –disappearance of rural isolation, migration to big cities, etc. – and because of the fact that the languages of these ethnic groups have no connection whatsoever to the contents of youth culture, and touch upon no areas that would be interesting for adolescents.

General terms for the "language of Roma, Sinti, Kale, etc" are Romanes and Romani:

– Romanes: derived from an adverb: Me romanes vakerav. 'I speak "roma".' This term is almost exclu­ sively used in the German-speaking area.

– Romani: derived from an adjective: romani čhib 'Roma-tongue, Roma-language’, this term is used in the English-speaking area and on an international level. Additionally, most terms for New-Indian lan­ guages, to which Romani belongs, end in -i: Hindi, Panjabi, Maharathi, Bengali,...

In order to use the terms consistently, only the international term Romani is used here, and varieties called: Burgenland-Romani, Kalderaš-Romani, etc.

For more information see, among others, http://www.bka.gv.at/bka/volksgruppen/sprachencharta.html and Tichy (2002).

The 15 programs can be found on the internet at http://emap.fm.

Also see http://1476.orf.at/.

For more information about the emblematic function mentioned repeatedly in this article see, among oth­ ers, Matras (1999).

The starting point for establishing Roma music in Austria were the work and projects of musical ethnolo­ gist Ursula Hemetek at the beginning of the 1990s. Thanks to her, the Roma were perceived by the gen­ eral public (see among others Heinschink/Hemetek 1994, Hemetek 2001).

For more information about music see Fennesz-Juhasz/Halwachs/Heinschink (1996).

For information on the Romani-Projekt see http://romani.uni-graz.at/romani/. The bilingual books with ac­ companying CD are part of at least 5 books published by Drava. The basis for these publications is the material in Heinschink’s collection in the Phonogramarchive of the Österreichischen Akademie der Wis­ senschaften (Austrian Academy of Sciences). (Also see Fennesz-Juhasz 1996).

"Multiculturalism is the culture of the affluent society lacking (ethno)culture."

(Southwestern Hungarian Anonymus 2nd half of the 20th century) One question remains open in this context, namely in how far the fact that Roma were in the past "cul­ ture-service nomads", primarily musicians, that tried to cater to the Gadže’s predilections, is of signifi­ cance.

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