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SHELTA ( Gammon, Cant, Sheldru )

Spoken by 6,000 Pavee (Minceir, Irish Travellers, Tinkers, Itinerants) people of Ireland. Also spoken in UK, USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Linguistic Lineage for Shelta

Gaater a goikhil,
swurth asturth Nyedas a Daalyon,
swudal Duilsha's Linska,
Duilsha's Sreedug toari,
Duilsha's Lag graydied,
shedi Ladu arark asturth Nyedas a Daalyon.
Goathi mweelshas talosk minyurth goshta dura
a getcha mweelshas' shakos arark mweels getcha shakors ar mo-djeels,
a lag mweelsha needjaish sheert grup a-gamee-ath,
a medjri awasth a gamee-okh.

Contributed by Richard J. Waters - E-mail richardjwaters@sprintmail.com

A modern version

Our gathra,
who cradgies in the manyak-norch,
we turry kerrath about your moniker.
Let's turry to the norch where your jeel cradgies,
and let your jeel shans get greydied nosher same as it is where you cradgie.
Bug us eynik to lush this thullis,
and turri us you're nijesh sharrig for the gammy eyniks we greydied
just like we ain't sharrig at the gammi needies that greydi the same to us.
Nijesh let us soonie eyniks that'll make us greydi gammy eyniks,
but solk us away from the taddy.

Contributed by Harold Lush - E-mail rom@netnitco.net

Hail Mary!

Graaltcha Mary,
tawn a noos,
Swuda's gyay duilsha;
buriest's thoo a byoors
a tom buriest's duilsha's goikhera a-ridyu, Jesus.

Mary raaks shako,
Nadjram a Daalyon,
sthafar mweelshas shakors minyurth
a toork a mweelshas' tharsps.

Contributed by Richard J. Waters - E-mail richardjwaters@sprintmail.com


The 86,000 or so Irish Travellers throughout the world -- in Britain, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada -- share a common language called Shelta, also known as Gammon or The Cant, which is based in part on Gaelic.

Anthropologists and sociolinguists believe Shelta serves two functions for the Irish Traveller community: a means of maintaining secrecy and a method of reinforcing membership in the community. Shelta is taught from birth and only within the community, not in any school, according to Heather Tondini, writing in the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Only Irish Travellers can speak it; only Irish Travellers can understand it.


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