Acquisition of Case System in Romani Language
Introduction. The paper presents observations of the author on acquisition of case markers in the Romani language of two Roma children from Bulgaria. This is the first study ever done on acquisition of case system of Romani by children in their natural environment. The study is done in one of the biggest Roma settlement of Bulgaria in the city of Sofia. Romani being a new-Indian language has some features from the Indian languages but also adapted some features from some European languages. It has the ability to express one and the same idea either with a preposition or with a case marker.
Methods. The author uses the longitudinal observation of the children in their natural environment, where a woman – representative of the community, was trained to audio record the interviews between parents, family members, community members and the children. This method is known from other studies in field of sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics (Labov, 1973)
Results. The study is investigating what is used more frequently by the children - prepositions or case markers. For this purpose, the utterances of the parents and the children with case markers and with the prepositions have been analyzed. It was found that in the age between 1 to 2 parents and respectively their children use more case markers. In the age from 2 to 3 children use more prepositions. It seems that Roma children need more experience with the language in order to connect the case marker with the function of the preposition in the Romani language.
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