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Dead link[edit]

Removed this link:

as it is no longer working. Deadstar not logged in

"Shelta is sometimes mistakenly classified as part of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic language family; it is, in fact, a cant based on Irish and English, with a primarily English-based syntax."

If it's a creole based on two existing languages, call it a creole instead of a language.

It's not a creole (a language which develops via the process of creolisation, see 'creole language' in Wikipedia). It's usually described as a 'mixed language', (which is how Ethnologue has it listed). These are a distinct phenomenon from a creole. Dougg 08:24, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Ethnologue claims an "unidentified source" for the language. I believe I've seen a paper on the Web claiming a relationship between Shelta and Pictish. No source, though... I'll try to dig further. --ESP 30 June 2005 16:35 (UTC)
Surely Shelta is both Goidelic AND Germanic if it's based on both. --MacRusgail 22:47, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
The classification of 'mixed languages' is problematic. Standard historical linguistics and the 'tree' model of descent only allows for a single parent language. Usually mixed languages are classified as such, with the parent languages being noted. This whole issue is something that linguists are currently grappling with, but fortunately mixed languages seem to be very rare. Of course it shouldn't be seen as necessary to force every language into a neat classification scheme--after all these are idealised views of what would usually have been a very messy process. --Dougg 05:23, 19 August 2005 (UTC)


On 28 January 2018 I attempted to place a link to the work that was previously linked at:

The new link was rejected by the moderator. A PDF file has been produced from an image of the website above taken in 2007. It is at If any Wikipedia users who read this would like the link added I would welcome them contacting the moderator; or if you would like host the lexicon on an "acceptable" site I would welcome them contacting me and I will provide a copy after discussing with John Bear's widow.

As a newer post, this should be placed at the bottom, with the relevant older posts copied as a quote and placed in the newer post at the bottom of the page. You did part of this, as an edit request, but by doing so, the information in its totality is separate from the context material which still remains up here at the top of the page. You mentioned your wish for others to speak with the editor involved "I would welcome them contacting the moderator" but this is best understood to be an action which you should be taking, in order to get the material into the article. My interactions with the editor Melcous have been very good, and I think they would be willing to discuss the issue further with you, including what requirements are necessary, if you ask them on their talk page. Regards, Spintendo ᔦᔭ 22:16, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

Bungee language[edit]

For those of you interested in the Scottish form of Gaelic, there seems to be a similar problem regarding this Canadian mixed language. --MacRusgail 16:34, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Bungee is English with influence from other languages. It's not a mixed language. – ishwar  (speak) 16:42, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrong link[edit]

Just a quick note...the John Sampson link is incorrect I believe. The current one goes to John A. Sampson (a gynecologist). (Preceding unsigned comment from User:Davidsetagaya at 2006-09-09 T05:36:37)

Good catch. Delinked for now. Someone can create a "John Sampson (Romany scholar)" or "John Sampson (linguist)" or "John Z Sampson" when necessary. Telsa (talk) 08:11, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Possible Vandalism[edit]

The translation looks spurious in parts. It simply does not appear to be a credible translation. Is there confirmation anywhere that "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory" translates into "Wibble wibble plop" in Cant? I suggest removing this translation entirely, as it is too vulnerable to unverifiable vandalism.

User:Cratylus3, Another editor has reverted the vandalism - but thanks for noticing it and remarking upon it.LiPollis 11:10, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

"Wibble Wibble Plop" is back again. Creationlaw 03:12, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Doya wanna byya carpehh reel chape like bahss
   (= DO YOU WANT TO BUY A CARPET REAL CHEAP LIKE BOSS? - someone's having you on mate!)

Your right this page is utter cr@p and not just the stupid changes others are making....whoever wrote it should go talk to a real Irish Traveller, like at pavee point, and not some stupid acedemic idiot who thinks he knows what hes talking about. so annoyed by this! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Language family[edit]

Why does the infobox only trace as far back as Irish? Irish isn't an language isolate, so shouldn't it trace back the whole way? - EstoyAquí(tce) 13:21, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


Shelta is not a "Goidelic language". It is basically English with a special vocabulary. The vocabulary is partly Old Irish, partly Irish words that have been intentionally made unrecognizable in a way reminiscent of Verlan and Pig Latin. (talk) 11:58, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

[no Cant][edit]

It's not because there are no Cant words for these lines, but because For the kingdom, the power, etc., is not used in the Catholic form of the Lord's Prayer. Typically, these words are heard at Mass, when the Laity recite them only after the Priest has interjected a short prayer after the preceding part. Nuttyskin (talk) 13:53, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

"Originally based on Irish..."[edit]

There is no citation for this. I don't claim to be an expert on Shelta, but everything I've heard about it suggests that is it structurally English with modified Irish vocabulary. This doesn't sound like something "originally based on Irish" at all, let alone Old Irish!

This needs a citation or removal.

Moilleadóir 01:49, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Anglican Lord's Prayer[edit]

As Irish travellers are Catholic, it's interesting that the text ends with "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours," which can be used in Catholic masses since 1970 but not before that - and it is still very rare in Catholic masses today. How many unrelated gypsies did the academic interview to establish the Cant and Shelta versions? (talk) 10:18, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

just to let you know Irish travellers are NOT gypsies. Gypsies are roma etc and originally from India. Irish travellers are IRISH.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:13, 14 December 2014 (UTC) 

the word "eynik" used in the prayer actually means "thing" so the translation is 100% wrong — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)


Ok, started a cleanup of this page, going to be rigorous about references and sources. Will also expand as I find the time. As a broad sort of response to various queries above (and as amended on the page), the language has gone through 3 main phases:

  1. Irish/Gaelic speaking
  2. Bilingual
  3. Shelta speaking (Hiberno-English with a strong admix from Irish/Gaelic)

Hence some of the confusion around the classification; in a way it depends on the question of "when are we talking". But modern Shelta is an English based creole with a decreasing amount of Irish/Gaelic in it through creeping anglicization. Akerbeltz (talk) 19:46, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Sound Clips, Videos, etc?[edit]

Does anyone know where I can find an audio example of this? YouTube, etc? (talk) 20:19, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

The online blog of had some for a while. It has a lot of Shelta in it too.

I read on the biddy early wiki that she spoke shelta, was she a Irish traveller? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

there is a video on youtube called Pavee Lackeen . its about travellers in ireland. very interesting and you can hear them speak the gammin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

NPOV lacking in "Origins and history" section[edit]

The following phrase communicates a negative bias against the anglicization of the language: "English Shelta is increasingly suffering from anglicization..." Undoubtedly many (myself included) perceive a real loss to human culture when languages (or parts of them) disappear. Nevertheless, the statement is no more neutral than the opposite "English Shelta increasingly benefits from anglicization."

Why not something more NPOV like "English Shelta shows increasing effects of anglicization"? It's simply not neutral to say that a language is "suffering"--and I think someone with a better handle on linguistics should write something neutral on the matter. It could even be the case (neutrally) that the speakers of the language are suffering because of the anglicization of the language. If so, explain how and cite a source.

Interesting article; my thanks to any and all who have worked on it.W.stanovsky (talk) 01:00, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

It's standard phrasing in linguistics in my experience. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:10, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Irish and Gaelic?[edit]

"...with heavy influences from Irish and Gaelic."

What is "Gaelic" here? Does it refer to the Irish language? If so, then "from Irish" would surely suffice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Well spotted, the word "and" didn't belong there. Akerbeltz (talk) 14:37, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Old versus Current Shelta[edit]

In the article a version of the Lord's Prayer is given in "Old" Shelta (which it states is from about a century ago), "Current" Shelta, English and Irish. The "Old" and "New" Shelta versions look radically different, the newer one showing vastly more Anglicization. Could someone please provide more information on this seemingly massive change in such a short time? Seems like it would really add to the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Three different languages[edit]

The two examples of Shelta given in the section "Compatison texts", as well as the one in "Sample phrases" seem to be three different languages. The third one even uses a different orthography, with macrons (the phonology section does not mention Shelta as having any long vowels), carons and apostrophes. Which is the real version (the first two do sound a lot like made-up gobbledegook)? Are any of them the actual language?

This article could also do with some other improvements; such as adding something on consonants to the phonology section. The "Sample phrases" section could be done away with entirely; and be replaced with one on "Sample words"; which would probably be more useful as Shelta is supposed to use the same syntax and pronoun system as English (according to one version of the language given). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:38, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Opening para unclear phrasing languages[edit]

The open para has this sentence "It is widely known as the Cant, to its native speakers in Ireland as Gammon and to the linguistic community as Shelta." Is "the linguistic community" here the community of speakers or the people in the "linguistics" community? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boaby (talkcontribs) 22:19, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Can someone please edit this page properly.[edit]

this page is full of inacuracies . whoever wrote it knows NOTHING about true gamin/cant . why not go to a Traveller association like Pavee Point and ask them for assistance . there is no point in me changing anything as it will only be changed back. The "linguistic" ppl who made this page dont know what they are talking about. its seriously irritating that its so wrong, and the fact im half traveller means i know what im talking about . it seems to me the page was made by "academics" who know nothing! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:23, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Orthography section[edit]

Doesn't "beoir" mean beer? And woman is "bean"?2605:E000:6392:7300:309D:704E:3AE7:2789 (talk) 23:52, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Addition of replacement for dead link[edit]

This request is for an external link to be added to this article. The link is to material formerly at "" and "". This material is a hyper-adapted extract from "The Secret Languages of Ireland", R. A. Stewart Macalister, Cambridge University Press 1937, Ch. VI. pp. 174-224. It was developed by John Bear and was available on the web in the 1990s and early 2000s. I consider it would complement the current link as it uses phonetic characters rather than an Anglicised approach. A PDF file has been created from a web impression of the old site taken in 2007. The material has been re-issued with the permission of John Bear’s widow. It is currently located at: However, some more suitable site may be found for it in the future, subject to interest. (talk) 21:02, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

 Declined Links to personal websites are not allowed. Spintendo ᔦᔭ 22:00, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

Dear Spintendo, would you be able the suggest an acceptable host for the document? I have no contacts into academe... Chris Alivebeing (talk) 05:22, 31 January 2018 (UTC)