Catalan Romani ("caló català") in the work of Juli Vallmitjana: an initial appraisal


  • Ignasi-Xavier Adiego Barcelona



Summary: The Catalan writer Juli Vallmitjana i Colomines (1873–1937) made extensive use of Catalan Gypsies as the topic of some of his plays and novels. It is clear that he had close contact with Gypsy people, and that this contact resulted in an interest for the Romani speech of Catalonia (caló català). He introduced Caló words in dramatic works, and words and dialogues in his novel Sota Montjuïc, which constitutes an interesting source of this language, but his chief contribution is a remarkable list of words and phrases in an appendix on Caló català that was included in the first edition of Sota Montjuïc. All these materials have not been analyzed in depth until now: In his study on Catalan Romani, Frederick George Ackerley only accounts for some Caló words contained in a work of Vallmitjana.      Vallmitjana is practically the only source for filling the gap between the earliest written sources of Catalan Romani (in the first half of the 19th century) and the present attestations of this dialect, now on the verge of extinction. In this paper, I offer a first appraisal of all these Romani materials recorded by the Catalan writer. [Keywords: Catalan Romani; Catalan Gypsies; Romani language; Gypsy language]