Chapter 8 “What Language Do We Speak?” The Bayash in the Balkans and Mother Tongue Education

In: The Romance-Speaking Balkans
Annemarie Sorescu-Marinković
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The Bayash are an ethnic group of the Balkans originating in the Romanian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldova. They are considered Roma by the majority populations, though they do not speak Romani, but only Romanian, and their original occupation used to be woodwork. Based on contemporary sources and fieldwork in Balkan Bayash communities, this chapter shows how the initiatives and efforts to introduce the mother tongue of the Bayash in the educational system are preceded by a process of ideological clarification. One of the main findings is that ideological clarification of the Bayash in Europe, as regards the language they speak, took different directions in different countries, as there is no transborder consensus on this issue. Language ideology is examined in its specific correlation with the bottom-up language management and with language standardization practices present in a number of countries. The chapter sums up information about Bayash schooling in their mother tongue in the Balkan countries where they live.

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