A Grammar of Domari by Matras, Yaron

By Matras, Yaron

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Discourse excerpts are presented with minimal reference to meta-linguistic phenomena. Such references include segmentation and sub-numbering of segments of connected speech based on intonation units, the use of the forward slash ‘/’ to indicate speaker self-repair, the use of three dots ‘…’ to indicate omission, and the use of = italics embedded within an equality sign = to indicate a speaker’s discourse-strategic code-switch into Arabic. Individual Arabic word insertions and even phrase insertions are an inherent part of Domari talk and are not highlighted unless they are interpreted to be motivated by the wish to clarify something that has been said in Domari, and so involve an intentional choice in favour of Arabic.

In Domari its use is limited, as far as we can tell from contemporary materials, to the reinforcement of past-tense verbs (ODKDPL ‘I see’, ODKDUGRP ‘I saw’), while in Romani it becomes productive as a transitive and causative derivation marker (for details see Matras 2002). A set of postposed local relations expressions are grammaticalised into new case markers, as in the other NIA languages, but in both Domari and Romani they become agglutinating inflectional endings (Domari PDQVDVNH ‘for the person’, Romani PDQX߂HVNH).

The position of Mukhtar is a kind of compromise between an elected representative whose appointment reflects a consensus among the influential families in the community, a hereditary office, and an external appointment by the authorities, who recognise the Mukhtar as a spokesman on behalf of his community but expect cooperation, for instance in matters relating to law and order, in return. The traditional tasks of the Mukhtar have been to resolve conflicts and disputes within the community and to mediate between members of the community and the authorities.

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