Stuart Edward Mann
O keriben pal e Devleskre bičhade (the Book of Acts) was translated into Romani by the British teacher Stuart Edward Mann (1905-1986). Mann was born in Nottingham, England. He was fascinated by languages and linguistics, and was a memer of the Gypsy Lore Society. He graduated with a degree in Germanic philology from the University of Bristol in 1927. In 1929 he got a job in Albania as an English teacher at the American Vocational School in Tirana until 1931. Then he went to teach English at Masaryk University in Brno in Morava (Moravia), Czechoslovakia where he befriended local Gypsies, just as he had done previously in England and Albania.
The Moravian Romani Book of Acts 1936
Mann wrote to the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) in 1934 offered to translate the Book of Acts. He translated from the English King James Version into Romānes or what he called "Moravian Romany" with the assistance of Gypsies in Moravia. The project started in 1934 with the help of two of his Gypsy students called J. Ružička and Antonín Daniel. In 1936 it was checked was revised with help from Mr and Mrs Vrba who lived in a Gypsy colony near Brno.
The Romani language of the text is Carpathian Romani but Mann rendered the dialect spoken in Moravia, but written in a way to be understood in all of Czechoslovakia. It was written in phonetic Romani using Czech style orthography and some additional diacritical marks. It was published in Prague by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1936, which was rendered as "O Britskā he averthemeskro kher vaš mre Devleskro Lav diñas adava l’il avri" (literally "The British and Foreign House for the Word of God gave this book out") . Two thousand copies were printed, and sold for 3 Czechoslovak Crowns each. The main colporteur of the text was Mann himself who travelled round Moravia, Slovakia and Hungary. Mann also translated Romans, Corinthians and part of Revelation but these were never published. He planned to complete the New Testament, but Mann returned to England with the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia.
This text was digitised from an orginal copy in the British and Foreign Bible Society archives in 2016, with the assistance of MissionAssist. It was put on line as part of the United Bible Societies (UBS) Romani Affinity Group digitisation project.
© British and Foreign Bible Society 1936, 2016
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