Jungles in Paris’ “The Dictionary” by Meshakai Wolf


The pause button doesn’t work Oh my God! Turn on the sound When I was 19, I started recording
Turkish songs at Radio & Television Skopje At that time, Romani songs were
sung only in Romani alleys Soon after, singers started to come
to me for original Romani songs My wife and children would sit
near the front door Many singers started with my help
from this one small room where we live ‘You Are Blinding Yourself’ Your love will be longed for… And you will ask for my kisses… Dad, can you give me 10 denars? We have no money son, you know that Get out of here, son!
Leave your old man alone to record When tabors and drums are played The Roma gladly get up and dance I want you to believe me and to know What speaks from your heart,
And what comes from your soul When I do leave, I won’t be shy The one less beautiful As well I will love Son, will you get me the dictionary? The dictionary? Yeah, my dictionary I started working on the dictionary
during the time I was traveling as a singer I collected many of the words from
the storytellers and the elder Roma I would ask the meaning of the words
and then write down their translations I collected a lot of words
from many Romani dialects The dictionary now contains
between 24,000 and 26,000 words The words are translated from Romani
into Macedonian and Serbo-Croatian And vice versa, from Serbo-Croatian
and Macedonian into Romani I worked for over 35 years on the dictionary… I would sit cross-legged and not get up
for a very long time Then my legs started hurting
and I wasn’t able to walk very well The cowards will become doves
and they will laugh about their cuckooing ‘Kukavica,’ the coward,
is a bird that cuckoos You will cry about me like the rains ‘Birshim’ means rain They will pin me and make me
like a colander Do you know what ‘porozen’ means? No, what? It’s a thing for sifting flour The flour falls below You know the times are blind and deaf ‘Vaktija,’ the times They are blind and deaf ‘Kashuke’ means they don’t hear? Yes They don’t hear what I say… They are the fools and
we are the smart ones Throughout the country our language
has become mixed with Macedonian Because of this there are many
Macedonian words in the Romani language The Romani language is thought to
have a small vocabulary… But if we used all the forgotten words,
we would understand each other better… At last, we would have our own language A properly literate language!

Daniel Ostrander

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