Names, Meanings, and th

Mark Harris mark_harris at
Mon Oct 28 23:50:25 PST 1996

Larkin asks:

>And speaking of experts <gr>; Does anyone have any info on the
>naming practices of the Rom? Female names specifically. A friend 
>likes "Tchaia" but has'nt a clue as to how to document it and/or what 
>the naming practices were.  Can anyone point in the right direction?

I'm not an expert, but I do have some info that might be of use to your
friend if by "Rom" you mean the Romani or Gypsies. Take a look at this
file in the CULTURES section of my SCA Rialto Files:
Gypsies-msg       (36K)  3/27/96    Gypsy culture. Also called Rom or Romani.

There are a several books on the Romani mentioned and reviewed and the
message below is from the file.


From: bj at (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
Subject: Gypsy names
Date: 8 Mar 1996 23:36:22 GMT
Organization: Information & Media Technologies, University of Wisconsin -

Well, I finally finished reading "The Gypsies" by Jean-Paul
Clebert, an excellent source of information regarding the
movement and culture of the little Egyptians as they made
their way from their origin in India and spread west across
Europe and northern Africa.

Because a number of people have recently expressed an interest
in devising a gypsy persona and have asked questions about
gypsy names, I thought you might like to know that Clebert
talks a little about how the gypsies named themselves.

Each gypsy had three names.  The first was a secret name
whispered into the baby's ear shortly after birth and again
when the child reached puberty but never spoken aloud at
any other time and never told to anyone else.  The second
was a gypsy name, used between gypsies only.  The third was
a local name, usually chosen to reflect the general names
being given to nongypsies in the country where the gypsy
resided.  This was the name the gypsy was to use publically,
with a gadje (nongypsy), or for on official documents.

Clebert gives no suggestion of what a gypsy's secret name
might be.  Their public name would be just like a gadje's
name, i.e., George Maldonnis, Pierre Gabriel, Marie Valliene,
or Michael Smith.  As for their gypsy name, Clebert says
that men liked names such as Frinkelo, Fero, Yakali, Miya,
Vaya, Yerko, Chuvula, Ilika and Terkari, while women liked
such names as Dunicha, Tereina, Malilini, Saviya, Oraga,
Tekla, Orka and Savina.



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