Romani language

The Romani language is for most people a mystery, both when talking about it’s history and how it is structured today with inspiration from other local languages. Here I will give you some background information on the origin of the language and how it became what it is today.

The origin of the Romani language
The Romani language started as a military language in India. Because of a large number of mother tongues in India the Indian people used this invented military language as a common language while they were in the army. When the Indians later moved away they continued to use this language between each other as they had no other way to communicate.

How the Romani language changed
After moving out from India the, what we today call the Romani people, encountered new words that they added onto their own vocabulary. This could be either words for things that was not a part of their original culture, or new words that came along with time passing, like words for car or television. Of course these new words were taken from the language of the country they were currently living in, and this is also how we today know the path of the Romani people’s travel.

Today’s Romani language dialects
The Romani language has four main dialect groups: Southern (or Balkan), Vlax (or Danubian), Central and Northern. The dialects within these groups are all different but the dialects that have changed the most from it’s original language are the dialects spoken today in Scandinavia, Britain, Spain and some parts of the Balkans where only the Romani vocabulary remains.

To finish of for this time, here is a Romani saying (proverb):

“A good man can find treasure in poverty,
while the fool will perish even in church”

Romani language (Roma neighbourhood in Serbia)

Source: We Are the Romani People by Ian F. Hancock

Add Comment