Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. Juni 2006

14.4. Identitätsmanagement von Minderheiten im Alpen-Donau-Adria-Raum
Herausgeber | Editor | Éditeur: Klaus-Jürgen Hermanik (Universität Graz)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Transborder Ethnic Identity of Banyash Roma in Serbia

Biljana Sikimić (Beograd)


A serious scientific literature and a collection of works (Bayash in the Balkans, Identity of an ethnic community, Belgrade 2005), created on the basis of fieldwork research in the period of 2002 - present, has appeared in the last couple of years, but the research data are still not available to the broad scientific public, because they were published in Romanian or Serbian (Sorescu Marinković 2005b, Sikimić 2002, 2003, 2005a, 2006a, 2006b).

The official name for the ethnic community of Romanian speaking Gypsies in Serbia in the existing literature is not standardized - except for the proposed term Banyash Roma in the title of this work, in some other works terms like Bayash / Banyash Romanians are also used. However, in contemporary Bulgarian and Bulgarian Romology literature, the term Rudari is common, while in the Romanian literature two terms appear: rudari and băeşi. For the same ethnic group in Hungary and Croatia the terms Boyas and Bejaš are now officially used. Outside scientific circles, the ethnonym Banyash in Serbia is known only among the group settled in the region of Bačka living along the river Danube, near the border with Croatia and Hungary. This term is only sporadically understood, but not used among other Banyash groups in the region of the Serbian Banat. In Serbia, south of the Danube, the names Karavlasi or Romanian Gypsies (Cigani Rumuni; rumunski Cigani) are also used.

The map of Banyash settlements in Serbia including also the broader Balkan and Pannonian region would be of great help. In addition to the above mentioned interdisciplinary collection of works on the Balkan Banyash a preliminary list of Banyash settlements in Serbia was added. It cannot be of great help because we often talk about small settlements or even separate satellite settlements under a special name. The estimated number of Banyash settlements in Central Serbia is about 140, in the province of Vojvodina, the Banat 30, and in the region of Bačka 7 respectively. Since the above mentioned research was linguistically oriented above all, with the use of qualitative analysis, on the basis of this research not even approximate demographic data can be obtained.(1) The current network of researched Banyash settlements is based on the data obtained with the help of the perceptual dialectology methods. That is, it relied on subjective attitudes of the Banyash alone towards the language of their community and other Banyash communities familiar to them.(2)

The compendious analysis of data from the fieldwork enabled the introduction of the concept of "mental continuity" aimed to define the Banyash group endogamy and their distant group awareness influencing the small settlements’ exogamy. The fieldwork research followed the logic of "private" chaining of separate settlements, that is the logic of mental continuity of the Banyash community in Serbia today that exists disregarding the individual physical distance of their members. This mental continuity, with the appearance of new borders in the Balkans and massive movements of whole Banyash settlements into the countries of Western Europe, is seen as transborder movement (Sikimić 2005, 2005a). The knowledge about other countrymen is shown through ordinary search for members of the same group even those on temporary work in foreign countries. Nowadays marriages between members of settlements hundreds of kilometers away from each other are very common, and some of them are in different countries after the breakdown of Yugoslavia, or even in Romania.

In addition to this, two universal ideological central points conditioned by the existing Banyash "mental community", are going to be presented: local space that includes the myth about the settlement, and attitudes towards one’s own language. On the basis of different sources: transcripts of team fieldwork research of the Institute for Balkan Studies of the SASA, Belgrade, secondary analysis of published dialectological transcripts and interviews published in the minority newspapers, the role of current real possibilities of the local leaders in the construction of ethnic identity of Banyash communities is going to be shown. The Banyash leaders formulate strategies for the higher evaluation and the establishment of a global significance of their (local) languages.(3) Putting aside the Banyash communities in a compact majority Romanophonic environment, the examples relate to three different non-Romanian ethnic environments in two countries, in Serbia and Croatia.


Local Banyash Space

Emphasizing the problem of the local space in an example of a Gypsy settlement in Northern Greece, Theodosiou 2003 runs contrary to most of the assumptions shared by recent studies on Gypsies: against their focus on "nomadism" and/or "imagined communities", the author raises the question of the ways of Gypsies’ locatedness and their sense of ‘be-longing’. It might be more apt in understanding the identification with place can indeed be a crucial part of the Gypsy world.

The myth about the establishment of a Banyash settlement regularly creates memories of the country of origin, that is placed in the territory of Romania. The country of origin of other nations is often constructed as in following examples, by folk etymology (Serbs > Siberia ).

In the village Trešnjevica,(4) in Central Serbia in summer 2002, the eldest Banyash in the settlement - Milenko Vasić (1906-2002) - said the following:

We came here before the Serbs, before the Serbs we came, we are older than the Serbs. Well, that are, but that are the first people who came, and the Serbs come from Siberia, then they moved here, that`s why they are called Serbs because from Siberia, if you heard of Siberia, where there is always snow and ice.

The story about the establishment of one Banyash settlement has been analysed by Sorescu Marinković 2005:181-187. The author emphasizes that, due to a lack of documents, almost every group of Banyash in Serbia has its own story about their origin, observing that all the ancestors from these stories come from di pişti apă Dunav ("over the Danube"), that is from present-day Romania. As in most cases the exact data of their arrival were not kept in collective memory. The details connected with the establishment of the first families in corresponding villages are very blurred. The author analizes the space of origin, the limitation of belonging to a specific group, the moment of arrival, the advantage of the colonized Banyash and their original profession.

One transcript, provided for the dialectological illustration of Ardeal languages of Banyash in Međimurje, Croatia, which is going to be discussed afterwards, shows that also the Banyash in the settlement Kotoriba know that they came from the "Carpathians" because they "heard about that from their grandfathers" (Saramandu 1997:120).(5)


Local Banyash Vernaculars

On the basis of our fieldwork we can affirm that Banyash in Serbia have originally spoken at least two different Romanian dialects: dialects of Muntenia and Ardeal.(6) The majority of the researched mixed (Banyash and Serb) settlements South of the Sava and the Danube river use the Muntenian dialect as a basis of their vernaculars.The isolated Ardeal communities have been considered as "contorted" by numerous Muntenian communities (Rom. Bany. Turśiţ ) and they are connected to "bear taming" as a profession.(7)

The next example is also from the above mentioned Milenko Vasić (1906-2002), from Trešnjevica in Central Serbia.It is important to notice that the participant for the determination of his Banyash subgroup uses the local term Vlauci which is used to mark - more prestige - ethnic Wallahians in North-East Serbia, although this term has mostly a pejorative meaning in Serbian.

This direct connection with the Wallahians is, first of all, supported by the same Romanian language, although most of the Wallahians speak a different dialect, of Banat origin. Further there is the anthropogeographical fact that the Banyash arrived in Trešnjevica from settlements that are still inhabited by Wallahians.

(Were there any Ursari in this region?) What "the bear tamers"? No. They were in the settlement Velika Plana, they were there, in Smederevo, here no, no. They spoke Romanian. (Do they speak also Romanian?) Also Romanian. But somehow different, they have another dialect. We told them, if you understand Romanian, turśiţi, do you understand what that means? Well, that is it. And we are vlăuţi [ a local term for members of the Wallahian minority in Serbia] (You are vlăuţi?) Vlăuţi. Strižilo, these other villages that made bathtubs, wooden bowls, they are all Wallahians [Vlăuţi]. Not Gypsies, not.

Attitudes towards language inferiority and language incompetence can also be supported from outside into the Banyash communities. This case is described by ethnologist Otilia Hedešan (2005), with an example of a female Romanian participant married in the same village Trešnjevica. This participant describes the Banyash world by explaining significant events, but with a comic effect based on ways of expressions of local residents. Her husband, a Banyash, serves as an example for disharmonization with needs for contemporary communication. Two principles mark the Romanian attitudes towards the Banyash local way of speaking: they use "old-fashioned" words; their language cannot cover the language nuances imposed by the modern civilization. On the other hand, Romanian language, spoken in Romania, contains "more beautiful and more intelligent" words. It shows the evaluation of the Romanian literary language which is able to name subtle theoretical ideas, and not only simple things from the material sphere like the Banyash language (more details on the antagonism of the Banyash community in Trešnjevica and the Romanian ethnic participant arrived from Romania in: Hedešan 2005:56-59).

Such ideologically shaped attitudes towards the minority language can also be found nowadays in linguistic, and first of all, dialectological works in Serbia. Language inflections are characterised as ‘spoiling’. The informers are chosen among people speaking the least ‘spoiled’ language. Language interferences are recognised by dialectologists as ‘damages’. The informative plan of the material that is obtained from the informer is considered as not important. No attention is paid to such aspects as the change of code depending on the participant or the topic for discussion. The main aim of this methodological approach is the reconstruction of the pure languge, ‘liberated’ from the influence of literary language as well as the language which is altered in local contact (in more details in: Petrović 2005, 2005a: 15-18).(8)

The research of Banyash attitudes towards their own language continually takes into account similar research on the Gypsy language that has already been analysed in the field of linguistic ideology. So, Lemon 2002, observes that language ideologies not only ascribe different functions to different languages. They also ascribe different sorts of metadiscourse to speakers of (or about) those languages. Drawing on archival and fieldwork, Lemon traces the ways particular Sovjet and post-Sovjet institutions and actors modeled and regimented metapragmatic discources that hypercontextualized utterances in Romani.


The Role of the Leaders in the Construction of Transborder Banyash Continuum:
The Region of Bačka, Vojvodina (Serbia)

Banyash leaders appeared in Serbia recently, and Banyash, or mixed Roma-Banyash non-government organisations on the state level are involved in the work of Roma National Council.

The Roman Catholic Banyash group in Bačka region (province of Vojvodina), lives along the banks of the Danube, near the border with Croatia and Hungary. They speak the Ardeal dialect of the Romanian language. In the same region, a considerably smaller group of Orthodox Banyash, according to their self ascription, of "Muntenian" origin, can be found.

In the mixed settlement of Apatin for instance the vernacular is now under a strong influence of the Ardeal speaking Banyash majority. The same "Muntenian" dialect is still spoken among Banyash in Baranja region (Croatia), in several settlements just across the Danube.(9) These Orthodox "Muntenian" dialect speaking Banyash, now in the state of Croatia, still have very strong personal connections with Banyash on the other side of the Danube. The concept of Banyash transborder continuum in this region will be illustrated by the excerpt from the transcription of the conversation held with the local Roma and Banyash NGO leader Anton Čonka, in the village of Sonta, May, 2004. The usage of unmarked or marked choices is expected in potentially status enhancing situations, such as the semi-structured interview with the Roma leader (while trying to express "politically correct" contents in his native speech). In the given translation the code switching is marked by italics when he uses the Romanian language (the example is taken from: Sikimić 2005:259-260). Attitudes towards more global, here transborder significance of their language are characteristic of the leaders’ discourse:

Gypsies, I am Gypsy, I am speaking the Romanian language. Banyash are not that, and for us this is somethingnew, I for example, I do have contacts with my colleagues from Hungary, from Hungary, and they say we are Banyash, but they do speak like me, now for me this isnew and I would like all of us to, to unite, to be, that is, one people, one language and all to speak. Now for me this is something new, this is new for me, to talk with the others.

The local Roma and Banyash leader, Anton Čonka, uses the "politically correct term" Romi (Roma), but talking about himself in native Romanian he uses the ordinary term Ţigan (Gypsy). This fact is generally widespread, the members of all Serbian Banyash groups consider themselves Romanians.When they speak Romanian they all use, however, the term Ţigan (Gypsy) as self-description. The local opposition in the village of Sonta appears to be Lakatari (Roma Gypsies) vs. Bunjaši, Bejaši (Romanian Gypsies). The local term Bejaš belongs to the domain of recent, politically correct ethnonyms. It was probably brought by colleagues, other Roma leaders from Hungary.

In the suburban area Vranjevo of the ethnically mixed town Novi Bečej (Banat, the province of Vojvodina) there is a similar Roma Non-Government Organisation where Banyash and Roma collaborate,(10) but on the other side, in the Romanian settlement Torak (Banat, the province of Vojvodina) Banyash and Roma have separate NGOs.


The Role of Leaders in the Construction of a Transborder Banyash Continuum: The Region of Međimurje, Croatia

The leader’s discourse can be analysed on transcript’s data of the interview with an informer from the settlement Pribislavec, published in the frame of a study of the Romanian dialectologist Nicolae Saramandu dedicated to Banyash vernaculars in Međimurje, Croatia.(11) This dialectological fieldwork research was conducted in December 1996 covering the settlements Pribislavec, Čakovec and Kotoriba of Međimurje (Saramandu 1997).(12) The example of Pribislavec shows, besides explicit leader aspirations, that the participant does not speak Hungarian. According to the number of Romanian neologisms he uses, it can be assumed that he was in contact with the Romanian standard language (Rom. extra, capitală, ţentru, reģistrăzîţ, absolut, oraşu capitală, oriģinal, mai curect, corect). Sociological observations on the current state of local Roma Non-Government Organisations in Croatia show that "the Romani minority", due to their spatial dispersal, but most probably for other reasons, have (too) many associations. That weakens their negotiating status and reduces the possibility that someone out of their ethnic group is responsible for affairs within the community (Štambuk 2005:252, 256).

I would be the happiest man, when I could travel at least two to three months, to travel all across Croatia, and make people get on their feet, those who had a bad opinion about this organisation, who don`t know anything about the organisation, who don’t know who they are. One should cry if he doesn`t know which mother tongue he is speaking. He says he is Gypsy, Gypsy. Nothing more should be said. When one doesn’t know, at the age of forty, fifty, he says - this is Gypsy language. He speaks Romanian, and he says that he speaks Gypsy. Tragedy! And it couldn’t be worse. (Saramandu 1997: 117-118).

The same Banyash participant says that the lack of awareness of your own mother tongue is also characteristic for the Banyash in Hungary:(13)

The Banyash exist in Hungary, too. When you ask someone ’What language do you speak’, he will say he speaks Gypsy when he actually speaks Romanian, just like us. (Saramandu 1997:116) 

According the above mentioned transcripts, the Banyash from Medjimurje refer to the Roma as the Gypsy Gypsies, compared to Romanians - simplex - for the Banyash or Romanian Banyash, while they refer to the Romanians as the Romanian Romanians (Saramandu 1997:115,120).

In modern Croatia, mostly sociologists and pedagogues research Roma issues, while linguistical, ethnological research studies are, at present, non-existent. However, there is an awareness that "large groups of the Roma had arrived from Romania to Croatia in the XIX century".The Romology literature points to the fact that "they had belonged to the Roma group of Koritari. They settled in the area of Međimurje and Podravina and carved wood to manufacture everyday goods. They speak ljimba d bjaš, one of the Romanian dialects (Vlach dialects) of Romani Chib (sic!)..."  (Hrvatić 2004:370). The Croatian philologist Nikšić, however, points out for the Banyash in Hungary that "these are the Roma people who moved from today’s Romanian territories at the end of the XIX. and at the beginning of XX. Century, who speak a variety of the Romanian language (not to be mistaken for ’the Wallahian Gypsies’ who speak Lovari, although the Banyash are sometimes called by this name by other communities due to their Romanian ‘Wallahian’ language, creating only additional terminological confusion!)". The same author further notes that Banyash groups also live in Croatia, in Međimurje and Baranja.In some Balkan regions they are also called by the name of Karavlasi. Also, "it is interesting to note that the Hungarian Banyash call themselves neither Roma nor Gypsies although the neighbouring communities use that name. The Banyash themselves have divided into two groups: muncsán (’hills people’) and argyelán (’forest people’)" (Nikšić 2004:392). The Romanian dialectologist Saramandu (1997:100) states that the Banyash communities in Croatia are isolated from each other that they live in relatively closed enclaves which explains the differences in their language. In the scientific literature in general, the territorial continuity of the Banyash in the Balkans is rather limited in respect to the existing knowledge about the territorial presence of the Banyash within their own community.

The anthropologic-linguistic fieldresearch  in the Banyash settlement of  Kuršanec in Međimurje, carried out in January 2006 amongst the younger population (of the argyelán dialect) by  Annemarie Sorescu Marinković showed no awareness of the local vernacular as a clearly Romanian language, nor even a clear idea of Romania as their country of origin. Such attitude is easily explained: Primarily by the fact that, at the time of their co-habitation with the other speakers of the Romanian language, the region of Ardeal belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire; secondly by the fact that modern Croatia has no border with Romania and has no ethnic Romanian minority (except for very few and very specific ethnic groups of the Istrian Romanians).


The Role of Leaders in the Construction of a Transborder Banyash Continuum: The Region of Belgrade (Serbia) (Some Examples )

According to an article of April 19, 2004 published in the Romanian minority weekly Libertatea published in Pančevo, Voivodina, a delegation of a Romanian ‘For Man’ (D’ omu) from Ripanj, a Belgrade suburban village, visited this publishing house. They asked the editor to publish an article about them. Namely, "they do not believe that they are Roma, although some of them want to be and declare themselves as Roma". The representatives of this NGO highly value their mother tongue and are aware of its generic link to the prestigious Romanian language and stand up for its revival.(14)

In Ripanj, about 1600 citizens who consider and declare themselves as Romanians, live from various crafts and have their own workshops and service shops. They are good craftsmen and most of them are employed with state-run and privately-run business in Belgrade. Their children and grandchildren who attend the two elementary schools in Ripanj in Serbian, do not speak Romanian. They have a passive vocabular of some Romanian words "which they cannot connect into sentences". Due to the fact that the older generations speak, to say the truth, a Romanian, a little more archaic, though still Romanian among themselves and on the street. Because of this, and also because of the wish to "connect more firmly with their brothers in Romania with whom they want to cooperate" they have decided to come to "Libertatea". They confirm that they have heard a lot about but it. Unfortunately they could not follow this magazine’s publishings since they cannot read and write the Romanian language.(15)

However, during the field research in Central Serbia and in the Belgrade surrounding areas (2002-2004), all the interviewed Banyash insisted on their Romanian national identity. Furthermore, data from the 2002 census indicate that almost all the Banyash in the Belgrade surrounding areas have declared themselves Serbs. For example, in the villages with evident Banyash communities like Mala Ivanča - no Romanians were registered in the census, while in Vrčin there are 3 Romanians and in Ripanj - only two citizens declared  themselves Romanian. It is less than the number of people in the initiative board of the local Banyash NGO.

The number of Banyash who declared themselves as Roma in a very poor settlement of Prćilovica near Aleksinac is considerably higher (271 Roma and 1 Romanian) as given in Kostić and Nedeljković 2005.  This fact can be explained by the influence of Roma NGOs; and the expectation of receiving goods and other help which is usually distributed to the Roma.

The declaration of being ethnic Wallahians in some villages of Cental Serbia (Naupare, Sezemča, for example) can be explained by some local movement or isolated initiative. The local ethnic construction resp. mimicry of the Banyash in the settlement of Osaonica in Central Serbia declaring themselves the Berber - of North-African origin - can be explained by a personal ethnic feeling of one community leader with permanent residence in Berlin. Namely, contacts with different cultures and ethnic groups in the multiethnic Berlin have helped this leader to ’feel’ and ’recognize’ the Berber culture as his own. Regardless of his great persistence and sincere personal conviction, this Berber ascription has not been widely accepted in Osaonica. It has even failed to appear in minimum traces in an offical census (Sikimić 2005).(16)


Ethnographic "Truth"

Even in a "experience near text", for example one consisting of conversation transcripts, films, photographs, authentic reports from information prospectuses and reflexive research diaries, the final scientific product is coloured by the interests, capabilities and esthetic judgements of the researchers themselves and it is not directed by the subject of the field research but rather by an imagined target audience (Bowie 2000:11).

In the anthropologically-linguistically orientated fieldwork in Serbia, it is usual for the participants to back their argumentations with photographs(17) and even private films recorded at important events. Attached to this study there are 2 photographs from the Banyash settlements in Serbia taken by the author. They show primarily individual and collective symbols found on gravestones and in residences.

The first photo was taken in the local graveyard at the Banyash village of Orašje in Central Serbia showing an old man, dressed according to traditional Serbian style who is standing in front of his wife’s and his own gravestone. The text is written in Serbian, in Cyrillic letters.

The 2nd photo shows a part of a house interior in the Banyash village of Brodica. This village is situated in North-Eastern Serbia in a Wallahian ethnic environment (the Wallahians from the surroundings of this Banyash settlement speak a Banat dialect of Romanian) and the man in the picture is wearing the traditional Wallahian fur hat.

The mere choice of these photographs shows the attitude of the author towards a clear ethnic mimicry of the Banyash. This mimicry is almost completely opposed to the data obtained from the quantitative analysis of various transcripts of interviews given by the Banyash people under different institutional and semi-institutional circumstances.

The anthropologist Tsitsipis, based on his long-term research of the Albanian (Arvanitika ) community in Greece, in connection with linguistic revitalisation, underlines that one should keep a realistic angle in order to obtain some viable effects. Similar to this Arvanitika community, in the attitudes of the Banyash leaders there is some degree of realism, but ethnotheories as expressed by concerned participants also contain free-floating, ungrounded opinions. The participants seem to base the whole idea of their separate identity on language differences (Tsitsipis 2005:271).

Well aware of the problematisation regarding the ethnographic truth about the Banyash in relation to a "misuse" of the various fieldwork results (at this moment these results can be seen as another "cleaving" of the Roma ethnos in Serbia) the author remains convinced that  each true conversation transcript is a great contribution under the given circumstances. Any further analysis and interpretation reflects the actual degree of knowledge and consciousness/awareness of both the researchers and the public.

Today, the articulation of language rights is a significant issue in sociolinguistics and the language policy and planning which is being developed in three different but closely related academic movements: the language ecology movement, the linguistic human rights movement and the minority language rights in national and international law. The exercising of language rights in real life contexts is connected with the implications for wider social and political stability; disjuncture between legal arguments in favour of minority language rights, and the actual language policies of many nation-states; and the disjuncture between the macro language rights claims and the micro language practicies. May (2005:320) points out that "the micro language claims necessarily require the codification and homogenisation of language groups and related languages and thus ignore the often far more complex, fluid, and at times contradictory, micro language practices of individuals from within those groups."

The lack of scholarly (not only linguistic) interest in the Banyash is just a reflection of the lack of interest of a native country (if this "native country" is also "parent" to its official language). Furthermore we state a lack of interest of local minority organisations resp. of both Roma and all other Romanophonic (Romanian, Wallahian) organisations in Serbia. This lack of interest is also evident among scholars, Romologists, Romanologists and Romanists in general - due to personal prejudice or the objective complexity of the scientific tasks, primarily for the linguists who need to show a language proficiency not only in Serbo-Croatian and/or Hungarian in addition to several Romanian dialects, but also need to have a solid insight into Roma culture.

© Biljana Sikimić (Beograd)


(1) The geographer Thede Kahl (2005) suggests to linguists the list of desiderata for work with non-Romanians which applies also to other minority languages in the Balkans, as well as to Romanian Banyash languages on the whole. First of all the list contains precise, geographically located fieldwork audio recordings and a compilation of corresponding transcripts.

(2) In a diachronically oriented research, an integrative approach to all the autochthonous Banyash communities in the region of the Balkans and Central Europe is necessary, and reliable results could be obtained only by archive research. From the synchronic point of view, the factor of the establishment of the frontiers of the recent 20 th century must be taken into consideration. Nowadays Banyash geographic areas reflect the pre-Yugoslav historical conditions, the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and even the period of the Ottoman Empire (Sikimić 2005:264).

(3) 3 No matter how informative the leader’s discourse was in comparison with the other members of the community, the community leaders themselves are still members of the same community and their understanding of local and social patterns undoubtedly originates from life experiences just as in the case of other participants. The newer studies of that support the community-of practice concept made a step forward by assuming from the outset that community members’ subjective evaluations of local space can help account for linguistic variation. Community-of-practise studies interpret linguistic variation primarily in terms of subjective experiences and individuals' negotiations of personal and group identities, as the boundaries of a community-of-practice are determined according to 'criteria that are subjectively salient to the members themselves’, as Dodsworth 2005:225 noticed. An ideal approach to sociolinguistic variations, considers Dodsworth 2005:226, would combine the interpretative power of subjective perceptions with the replicability of quantitative data.

(4) Several works in the collection of papers The Bayash of the Balkans were dedicated to the Banyash from the settlement Trešnjevica in the Morava valley, Central Serbia: Hedešan 2005, Miloradović 2005, Ilić 2005. In the same collection there is a study of the Banyash settlement Strižilo (in the same region) where the informer Milenko Vasić was born (Radic 2005). Ethnolinguistic analysis of Banyash wedding on the basis of the interview with the informer was presented in: Sikimić 2006a.

(5) Oral histories about the settlement of Romanians in the communities that are located in the Serbian part of Banat today: Sorescu Marinković 2005a.

(6) The opportunities for education in the mother tongue - the Romanian language - of Banyas in Serbia as well as the access to television and cultural institutions were discussed in more details in Sikimić 2005a.

(7) The Romanian vernacular in Trešnjevica is not dialectologically described nor there is a corresponding Romanian dialectological dictionary (there is no dialectological dictionary of any Romanian vernacular from the territory of Serbia to the present day). The younger Banyash in Trešnjevica adopted completely the local Serbian language, whereas the older generations make mistakes from time to time, being under the influence of their mother tongue. However, there is a two-course bilingualism: other inhabitants of Trešnjevica, ethnic Serbs and Bulgarians assimilated with Serbs, do not speak Romanian. However, besides Banyash, the Romanian language is spoken in Trešnjevica by married Wallahian women (see Hedešan 2005:16). Nevertheless, a Banyash from Mehovine emphasises "we have Serbs here with us that speak Romanian to us sometimes, because many years have passed since we settled here and they spek to us Romanian" (according to transcript Sorescu Marinković 2005: 194). The author of this paper had similar observations about the two-course bilingualism during his fieldwork in the Southern- most Banyash settlement in Serbia, in the village Berilje near Prokuplje (Sikimić 2005:258).

(8) Recently even in Serbia the attention of the researchers is moved to processes that minority languages and their speakers are undergoing. The Anglo-Saxon concept and ideas like language death, language obsolescence, language shift have been accepted in sociolinguistics, while the focus of analysis is being transferred more and more to the anthropological aspect of this problem together with the use of discourse analysis. A need for a broader recognition of the social and language processes characteristic of small ethnic communities is emphasised and for the usage of ideas such as the balance of power dialectics, subordination, multi-opinion etc. in the analysis. (Petrović 2005: 18-19).

(9) Ethnographic research published in October 1966 in Bački Monoštor in the Vojvodina showed that the majority of Banyash in the census declared themselves to be Romanians (because they speak Romanian as their mother tounge), and six of them to be Croats, who represented the majority of the inhabitants in this settlement. According to the census in 1921, 65 Romanians were registered in Bački Monoštor, 1845. - 178 Romanians and 15 Gypsies, and 1971 only one Gypsy and 337 Romanians (Maluckov 1979: 39-40). In the settlement Sonta (Croats represented the majority), in November 1972, 40 homes belonged to Gypsies. In a roll from 1921, 24 Romanians were registered, in the census from 1948. - 221 Romanians; 1971 about 330 Romanians and 7 Roma. They declared themselves to be Banyash, they spoke Romanian at home which they claimed to be the "Gypsy language". Everybody spoke Croatian or Serbian, and the older members also Hungarian (Maluckov 1979:75). At the same time, the research showed that the Banyash in the neighbouring settlement Bogojevo spoke Hungarian apartfrom Romanian also. However, the majority in Bogojevo was Hungarian, as in settlement Adorjan on the banks of the river Tisa where Banyash have classes in Hungarian at school today. According to data from November 1972 some Banyash from Bogojevo were employed in the sugar refinery in Osijek (Croatia today) (Maluckov 1979:45, 46).

(10) For more details about Banyash in Vranjevo see Sikimić 2006. The leaders of Roma NGO of Vranjevo are women. The analysis of the interviews carried out with these leaders would require a different methodological approach having regard for the predominance of the remarkably masculine conception of what makes an effective leader. For the variety of gender-strategies used by women leaders see in Holmes 2005.

(11) The secondary analysis of the transcripts from the fieldwork in Serbia shaped, first of all, for dialectological and ethno-linguistic needs showed exceptionally high possibilities, cf. Ćirkovic 2005 and 2006.

(12) Different attitudes towards sociolinguistic and anthropologically-linguistically oriented dialectological research of Romanian communities in Serbia in Sikimić 2006 and an ethno-linguistically oriented study by Sikimić 2006a; the same attitude prevails in all linguistically oriented attachments in the earlier mentioned interdisciplinary collection Bayash in the Balkans, Belgrade 2005.

(13) The Banyash in Hungaria may generally speak three different Romanian dialects - most of them speak the Ardeal dialect, those from the Alsószentmárton area speak the Muntenian dialect and in East Hungary they speak the Krishan dialect (Orsós 1997:198, Kovalcsik 2000:343-344). The author is gratefull to Klaus Jürgen Hermanik for the information that now two Roma languages - Romanes and Banyash - are taught in the Gandhi-Gymasium in Pécs, Hungary.

(14) More about these NGO attitudes can be found in the work of Sorescu Marinković 2005: 176.

(15) A very similar construction of the ethnic identity and the language to that of a Banyash leader from the village of Mehovine in North-East Serbia is analysed by Sorescu Marinković 2005 and Ratković 2005.

(16) Kertzer and Arel 2002 discuss the validity of defining cultural identity in the census and reject "statistical realism".

(17) Comments on the photographs, made by the participants in the field -members of the Romanian minority community in the Serbian Banat -- are analysed by Sorescu Marinković 2006.


Bowie 2000 - F. Bowie: The Anthropology of Religion, Blackwell Publishers.

Ćirković 2005 - S. Ćirković: Perceptivna terminologija grnčarske leksike: Veselin Gerić, poslednji grnčar iz Štrpca, Život u enklavi, Liceum 9, Kragujevac 2005, 193-220.

Ćirković 2006 - S. Ćirković: Integrativni pristup kulturi Vlaha severoistočne Srbije, Položaj nacionalnih manjina u Srbiji, Beograd (forthcoming).

Dodsworth 2005 - R. Dodsworth: Attribute networking: A technique for modeling social perceptions, Journal of Sociolinguistics 9/2, 225-253.

Hedešan 2005 - O. Hedešan: Jedan teren - Trešnjevica u dolini Morave, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 13-106.

Holmes 2005 - J. Holmes: Leadership talk: How do leaders ’do mentoring’ and is gender relevant?, Journal of Pragmatics 37, 1779-1800.

Hrvatić 2004 - N. Hrvatić: Romi u Hrvatskoj: od migracija do interkulturalnih odnosa, Migracijske i etničke teme 20/4, Zagreb, 367-385.

Ilić 2005 - M. Ilić: "Izgubljeno u prevodu": Romi u diskursu Srba iz Trešnjevice, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 121-144.

Kahl 2005 - T. Kahl: Offene Fragen in der Erforschung des Aromunischen und seiner Dialekte, Jazyki i dialkety malyh etničeskih grupp na Balkanah, Biblion Verlag, Sankt-Peterburg - Mjunhen, 155-166.

Kertzer and Arel 2002 - D. I. Kertzer, D. Arel: Census, Identity Formation, and the Struggle for Political Power, Census and Indenty: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Censuses (D. I. Kertzer, D. Arel, eds.), Cambridge University Press.

Kostić/Nedeljković 2005 - A. Kostić, J. Nedeljković: Kultura i emocije - Cigani Rumuni i opažanje emocija, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 295-310.

Kovalcsik 2000 - K. Kovalcsik: Roma or Boyash Identity? The Music of the "Ard’elan" Boyashes in Hungary, Music, Language and Litearature of the Roma and Sinti, Intercultural Music Studies 11, Berlin, 343-360.

Lemon 2002 - A. M. Lemon: «Form» and «function» in Soviet Stage Romani: Modeling metapragmatics through performance institutions, Language and Society 31, 29-64.

Maluckov 1979 - Etnološka građa o Romima (Ciganima) u Vojvodini (M. Maluckov, ed.), Novi Sad.

May 2005 - S. May: Language rights: Moving the debate forward, Journal of Sociolinguistics 9/3, 319-347.

Miloradović 2005 - S. Miloradović: Skica za etnolingvistička istraživanja podjuhorskih pomoravskih sela (Trešnjevica), Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 107-120.

Nikšić 2004 - B. Nikšić: Romi u Mađarskoj: situacija i perspektive na pragu 21. stoljeća, Migracijske i etničke teme 20/4, Zagreb, 387-402

Orsós 1997 - A. Orsós: Language Groups of Gypsies in Hungary, Cigány néprajzi tanulmányok 6, Budapest, 197-199.

Petrović 2005 - T. Petrović: The Serbs of Bela Krajina between Local and National Identity, Developing Cultural Identity in the Balkans, Convergence vs. Divergence (eds. R. Detrez, P. Plas), P.I.E. Peter Lang, Bruxelles etc., 59-86.

Petrović 2005a - T. Petrović: Srbi u Beloj Krajini: jezička ideologija i proces zamene jezika, Ljubljana 2005 (unpublished PhD thesis).

Radić 2005 - P. Radić: Filološke beleške o bilingvalnom selu Strižilu u centralnoj Srbiji, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 145-173.

Ratković 2005 - D. Ratković: Razgovor na groblju: jezik Svete Stankovića, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 201-217.

Saramandu 1997 - N. Saramandu: Cercetări dialectale la un grup necunoscut de vorbitori al românei: Băiaşii din nordul Croaţiei, Fonetică şi dialectologie XVI, Bucureşti, 97-130.

Sikimić 2002 - B. Sikimić: Đurđevdan kod vlaških Roma u selu Podvrška, Kultura 103-104, Beograd, 184-193.

Sikimić 2003 - B. Sikimić: Banjaši u Srbiji iz balkanske lingvističke perspektive, Aktualni problemi na balkanskoto ezikoznanie, Sofija, 114-129.

Sikimić 2005 - B. Sikimić: Banjaši u Srbiji, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 249-275.

Sikimić 2005a - B. Sikimić: Linguistic Research of Small Exogamic Communities: the Case of Banyash Romanians in Serbia, Jazyki i dialkety malyh etničeskih grupp na Balkanah, Biblion Verlag, Sankt-Peterburg - Mjunhen, 257-266.

Sikimić 2006 - B. Sikimić: De la Torac la Clec: informa ţia minimală de teren, Caiete de teren I, Torac, Metodologia cercetării de teren, Novi Sad, 160-189.

Sikimić 2006a - B. Sikimić: Svadbena terminologija kod Banjaša (rumunskih Cigana) u selu Trešnjevica kod Jagodine, Issledovanija po slavjanskoj dialektologii 11, Moskva (forthcoming).

Sikimić 2006b -  B. Sikimić: Elementi rumunske tradicionalne kulture u Vranjevu kod Novog Bečeja, Actele simpozionului Banatul - trecut istoric şi cultural, Novi Sad - Panciova 2005 [2006], 156-162.

Sorescu Marinković 2005 - A. Sorescu Marinković: Napolitanci iz Mehovina, Banjaši na Balkanu, identitet etničke zajednice, Beograd, 175-200.

Sorescu Marinković 2005a - A. Sorescu Marinković: Rumuni iz Vojvodine - konstrukcija identiteta, Položaj nacionalnih manjina u Srbiji, Beograd (forthcoming).

Sorescu Marinković 2005b - A. Sorescu Marinković: Punţile pentru mort la românii de pe Valea Timocului, Actele simpozionului Banatul - trecut istoric şi cultural, Novi Sad - Panciova [2006], 166-174.

Sorescu Marinković 2006 - A. Sorescu Marinković: Când biografia bate etnografia, Caiete de teren I, Torac, Metodologia cercetării de teren, Novi Sad, 96-159.

Štambuk 2005 - M. Štambuk: Settle and remain Romani, Kako žive hrvatski Romi, How do Croatain Roma live (ed. M. Štambuk), Zagreb, 239-256.

Theodosiou 2003 - A. Theodosiou: ‘Be-longing’ in a ‘doubly occupied place’: The Parakalamos Gypsy musicians, Romani Studies 5, Vol. 13, No. 2, 25-58.

Tsitsipis 2005 - L. Tsitsipis: Linguistic Ideological Contestation in the Balkans: The Case of Arvanitika, Jazyki i dialekty malyh etničeskih grupp na Balkanah, Biblion Verlag, Sankt-Peterburg - Mjunhen, 267-274.

14.4. Identitätsmanagement von Minderheiten im Alpen-Donau-Adria-Raum

Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups | Groupes de sections

TRANS       Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  16 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
Biljana Sikimić (Beograd): Transborder Ethnic Identity of Banyash Roma in Serbia. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 16/2005. WWW:

Webmeister: Peter R. Horn     last change: 14.6.2006     INST