Romani

Language

Romani refers to several different languages used by the Romani people, a traditionally internant ethnic group with Northern Indian ancestry living primarily in Europe and the Americas.

Romani belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family, and is the only Indo-Aryan language spoken outside of the Indian subcontinent. 

Writing System

Romani has no agreed-upon orthographic system, but many Romani communities use a writing system based on the orthography of the dominant language in their area (e.g., the Romani in Hungary often use an orthography based on Hungarian). More recently, Romani have been using an English- and Czech-influenced writing system has been used among Romani communicating online. 

Phonology

The core phonological inventory is as follows:

  Labial Alveolar

Post Alveolar/

Palatal

Velar Glottal
Nasal m n      
Stop

p       b

t        d

 

k g

 
Affricate   ts

tʃʰ

   
Fricative f       v s z ʃ ʒ   h
Approximant   l j    
Rhotic   r      

 

Eastern and Southeastern Romani dialects often have palatalized consonants. Loan words from contact languages often allow non-native phonemes. 

Conservative Romani dialects have word-final stress, while some Central and Western European dialects have shifted stress to earlier in the the word.

Morphology/Semantics

Romani language has two classes of nominals, inherited and borrowed, each of which can be identified by its word ending. Nominals also have two genders (masculine and feminine) and two numbers (singular and plural). Case endings of nouns and verbs are similar to Indian languages. Prepositions or locatives are more commonly expressed through case endings of nouns, this is similar to Latin. Similar to many Romance languages, verbs in Romani are conjugated depending on the pronoun or the agent of the action.

 Words related to travel appear to be linguistically similar to those of Armenian or Iranian languages, while words related to metal work, or smithing are linguistically similar to Greek

Syntax

Romani is generally considered a free word order language, but dialects with a Slavic influence tend to put the verb last, and other dialects more frequently use an SVO word order.