Posted by Bruce Kahl on March 22, 2001
In Reply to: From an Irish Dictionary... posted by Bruce Kahl on March 21, 2001
I looked at some more references to this word and its relationshiop to Shelta.
Shelta (Sheldru) is the language spoken by approximately 86,000 Irish Travellers in several countries: Ireland, Britain, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
Irish Travellers are the largest minority in Ireland.
During the Cromwellian era, Irish Travellers were arrested and sent to English colonies, such as the West Indies. Again during the potato famine in the mid-1800's many Travellers left Ireland. There are approximately 5,000 Irish Travellers in the southern states of America.
Irish Travellers are an ethnic group sharing several common characteristics: a high rate of intermarriage; use of Shelta; mostly commercial/ industrial nomadic occupations, such as selling linoleum, barn painting, and laying tarmac; adherence to Roman Catholicism; and customs such as cleanliness codes (Ni Shuinear, 1994). Traditionally, Travellers travelled in horse-drawn wagons trading animals and other products; now most of them travel in caravans or are settled.
Here is the first line of the Lord's Prayer in Shelta:
"Our gathra, who cradgies in the manyak-norch, we turry kerrath moniker."
They have been compared to Gypsies and that is probably the carnival connection as mentioned above.