Gypsies: Romani Language

Vincent van Gogh's "Encampment of Gypsies with Caravans" is in the public domain in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Vincent van Gogh's "Encampment of Gypsies with Caravans" is in the public domain in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. | Source

What language do gypsies speak?

This article answers the question posed by Melanie Shebel (melbel) "What language do gypsies speak?"

What is a Gypsy?

Gypsies are a nomadic people originally from northern India who migrated to Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia.

Gypsy is the name in English of those people belonging to the Romani (Romany) ethnic group. In the Romani language, the Romani people are called several names, among them Roma, Romane, Romani, Romanies, and Roms.

The term "gypsy" comes from the mistaken belief that the Romani people originated in Egypt. The term, derived from the word Egyptian, is considered derogatory by many Romanies.

Milei Vencel photographed these Romani people from Transylvania, Romania in 2012.
Milei Vencel photographed these Romani people from Transylvania, Romania in 2012. | Source

Romani Language Dialects

The following chart lists the most common Romani dialects and the countries in which that dialect is usually spoken.

ROMANI LANGUAGE DIALECT
AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DIALECT
Finnish Kale
Finland, Sweden
Iberian Kale
Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Southern France
Manush
French-speaking areas in Central Europe
Roma
Europe, North America, South America, Australia
Romanichal
United Kingdom, United States, Australia
Romanisæl
Sweden, Norway
Sinti
German-speaking areas in Central Europe
Welsh Kale
Wales
The copyright of this image of a Gypsy Caravan is owned by Evelyn Simak and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. The photograph was taken on May 14,2008.
The copyright of this image of a Gypsy Caravan is owned by Evelyn Simak and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. The photograph was taken on May 14,2008. | Source

No Written Romani Language Until Recently

Until recently, there was no written Romani language. Depending upon the Internet source you use, Romani, an Indo-Aryan language, is spoken by two miilion people worldwide or 4.8 million people worldwide or 10 million people worldwide.

University of Manchester Romani Linguistics Project

The School of Languages, Linguistics, and Cultures at the University of Manchester in Manchester, England has conducted extensive research into the Romani language and its dialects. Using one of the University's databases, I have produced a chart indicating translations of the word "love" and a sentence using the word in several Romani dialects.

Athough there are some similarities among the dialects, the translations appear to be of distinct languages.

ROMANI DIALECT
THE WORD "LOVE" (VERB)
SENTENCE USING THE WORD "LOVE"
 
 
It seems to me that she is in love with him.
(AL-001) Měckari
kamava tut
manje dičhola sar okuva kamela la
(BG-001) Velingrad Yerli
dukhava
kərəla pəs mandə, če oj si vljubimə ləstə
(BG-007) Kalajdži
severim
mange pes avel pes kaj voj bienir les
(BG-008) Kalburdžu
seviim
phaklem mor ogi galba oj mangel kav čhave
(BG-009) Kalajdži
but severim
me akhjarav či si vljubeno/voj či mangel les
(BG-010) Muzikantska Roma
dukhava
sruvizela man či odja vljubime lesti
(BG-011) Goli Cigani
sevijom
mislizaa či oj … sevijor les
(BG-012) Rešitari / Čergari
mangav
maj voj mangel les
(BG-013) Kalajdži
običizava
mislizava mange či odeja i vljubime an leste
(BG-014) Kalajdži
mangav
galiba voj mangel le
(BG-015) Xoraxani
sevijerim
zannedijerim či odja mangela les
(BG-016) Kalajdži
mangava
misizava kaj voj mangela le
(BG-023) Xoraxani
sevijerim
me dikhava oj enǝ mangela les
(BG-024) Sofia Erli
dehav
dikhjol kaj oj mangel les
(BG-045) Sindel
sevīm
odoja āšǝki lehke
(CZ-001) Czech Vlax
te milovalij les
dikhav hotj kamel les
(EST-005) Čuxny
te kames
 
(FIN-002) East Finnish Romani
ikkavel
manna cikkila at joi hin kamjatas les
(FIN-005) West Finnish Romani
ikkaven
pi me tikkās et jou ikkina lesta
(FIN-006) East Finnish Romani
kammaa/ ikkila
me tikkaa ta joo hin kammas les
(FIN-008) East Finnish Romani
kamlavaa
me tenkavaa at joj kammavaa les
(FIN-011) West Finnish Romani
 
me tenkataa että touva ikkaavaa les
(Fin-012) East Finnish Romani
rikkila
me tenkavaa että jou ikkila lesta
(GR-002) Romacilikanes
kamama
 
(GR-004) Sofades
mangava
nomina oti voj mangela les
(HR-001) Gurbet
kamlipe
me gəndiv kaj si oj zaljubime ande leste
(HR-002) Čurjarja Arilje
mangipe
voj izgledil mange kaj si voj zaljublime ande leste
(HR-003) Manuša Čurjarja
voleti
me gǝndiv kaj voj le volil
(HU-004) Lovari
me kamav les
kade gindi me odj kamel les/kade dikhav odj kamel les kadi žuvlji/dičhol odj kamel les
(HU-007) Gurvari
kamel
kadi ka voj kamel les
(IT-007) Molise
kamma
pakja joj innamurinja-p tar kava
(IT-010) Molise
kamma-l bene
pena ta joj innammurinja-p de kuako
(LT-005) Lithuanian Romani
te kamel
mange kazynel-pe so joj kamel les
(LT-007) Lithuanian Romani
kamel
me duminow so jej kamja-pe po leste
(LT-008) Lithuanian Romani
kames
mange zdajse so jej kamel les
(LT-009) Polska Roma
kamom
me duminow so joj ukamni-pes de leste
(LV-005) Čuxny (Latvian Romani)
kama
mange leki sy jej kamel les
(LV-006) Lotfitka (Latvian Romani)
kama
... dufina sy jej kamel les

More by this Author


Comments 40 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Daisy-interesting hub. I love the caravan photo that you added here-colorful. That was a cool and intriguing question melbel posed. Very thorough tables. Thanks for sharing...my Uncle was 'gypsy' and spoke Romanian.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Denise,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. Did your uncle speak one of Romani (gypsy) dialects in addition to speaking Romanian?


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

Very detailed information. I was not aware of this before.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Art (rasta1),

Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my Hubs. The University of Manchester is doing an incredible job in documenting a language, with its many dialects, which has primarily been just a spoken language for centuries.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

A fascinating account of Gypsies and the Romani language. I knew nothing about this. Thank you Daisy. Sharing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Audrey (vocalcoach),

Thanks for reading, commenting in, and sharing my Hub. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my article. I'm always happy to hear when a reader learns something from what I've written.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Voted up and interesting. So much mystery surrounds gypsies and their language. I don't think I've ever really known what their 'native' language is. Also interesting to see the University of Manchester is working on this.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for reading and commenting in my Hub. If it weren't for the University of Manchester's School of Languages, Linguistics, and Cultures, the language of the Romani people (gypsies) would be even more of a mystery.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

Brilliant! Need I say more?

HubHugs~


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Daisy-I don't remember him speaking anything other than an occasional Romanian word here or there. My daughter, Cara, married a man whose family speaks Romanian and, although she does not know many words, she understands plenty! :) But, the Romani is something that I was not aware of. It must have taken you a great deal of time to put such an intricate table in here. Thanks for so much detail. :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks so much for reading my Hub and commenting in it.

This is the first time I've answered a Q&A question that was directed to me. It was a fun challenge.

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my article. I appreciate your continued support, my friend.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Denise,

Thanks for stopping by again. The table was time-consuming to create, but not difficult. I accessed a database at the University of Manchester to obtain the information.


Doc Sonic profile image

Doc Sonic 4 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

You've done a very thorough job here, Daisy. This is really interesting. I had no idea of the origin of the term gypsy. Nice hub!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Stopped in for a visit. Very well done and so interesting to learn the details of this language.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glen (Doc Sonic),

Thanks for reading and commenting in my Hub. It was an interesting bit of detective work to research and write this article. I knew a little bit about gypsies before I began, but not enough to answer the question Melanie Shebel posed to me in HubPages Q&A.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my Hubs. I appreciate your continued support.

I was amazed at the amount of work that the University of Manchester has done regarding Romani and its many dialects. I was also surprised with the ease with which I was able to access the School of Languages, Linguistics, and Cultures' database.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Very interesting. I actually had no idea that there were so many dialects and variations. I knew that they spoke different languages, but I always thought it was a hodgepodge of surrounding areas. Very cool.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Cyndi (cclitgirl),

Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting in it. There are more Romani dialects than what I've listed in my article. When I have some time, I'm going to go back to the University of Manchester database and add to my chart.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

Great research, Daisy. One of my friend's brother at Manchesterhas done a lot of work tracing the etymological journey of the Romani language from its Indo-aryan origins. Fascinating that the various travelers across India and Europe share a lot of linguistic traits.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my articles. I appreciate your continued support.

This is the first Hub I've published in which I answered a Q&A question that was directed to me. There is very little information available online about the Romani language and its many dialects. If it weren't for my being able to access the database at Manchester, I wouldn't have had enough information for my article.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

Wow, this was really interesting Daisy. I knew that they spoke a unique language but had no idea that there were so many dialects. Thanks for sharing this well researched hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Cara (cardelean),

Thanks for reading and commenting in my Hub. There are even more Romani dialects than what I've listed. Some of the dialects seem more like distinct languages when you look at the translations, but they're all considered to be Romani.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

How interesting the Gypsies are! I had no idea that the number of dialects spoken by these warm people were so many. I also was fascinated to learn the origin of the Romani people. You always have such great research behind your hubs! Another top-notch article.

HubHugs

BTW~ Scones and Coffee are still on the agenda, my friend!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my articles. I appreciate your continued support.

There are even more dialects spoken by the Romani people. I'm going to add to my chart when I get a chance.

It's only an hour to San Francisco by plane from John Wayne Orange County Airport. The next time we'll be in San Francisco, I'll let you know. I enjoy the drive from San Francisco to the Napa Valley.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Extremely interesting! Thanks for sharing, Daisy :)


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Very interesting and informative, Daisy! The language does look a little complex with its formation of vowel and consonant usages in their words, but it does sound fun to say! Very informative, voted up and sharing :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Martie,

Thanks for reading and commenting in my article. I appreciate your support.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Keith (KDuBarry03)

Thanks for reading, commenting in, and sharing my article. I find it interesting that all of the translations I've listed are considered dialects of the same language.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Always said my Dad's family were gypsies. They never could settle down in one place. My dad was the worst of them all. Very interesting hub enjoyed reading it. Love the picture of the Gypsy Caravan. Voted uP!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

moonlake,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Daisy, what a kushti article Gilabav! (good article I read)! lol! love the photos of the vardo, dawdi that was great! voted up and shared! kushti bok!

married to a romany for years and years and......! lol!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nell,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment in both British English and Romani. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

The School of Languages, Linguistics, and Cultures at the University of Manchester in Manchester has done a tremendous job of documenting spoken Romani and creating a written version of the language.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 19 months ago from Dubai

Very interesting I did not know about the Romani language, now I do and so many dialects. Great research and an informative hub, voted up.


vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 19 months ago from Bangalore

Interesting, Voted up, I like that caravan picture it's beautiful.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 19 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. Before I wrote the Hub, I was aware of the language, but I was surprised at how many dialects there were.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 19 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

vasantha T k,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 13 months ago from England

Just came back for another read and its still as fascinating, love the Vardo caravans and the language too!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 13 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nell,

Thanks for visiting another time. I found it interesting that Romani dialects were found in so many areas. I hadn't realized that forms of the language were so widespread.


vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 13 months ago from Bangalore

Visiting again to see the lovely caravan.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 13 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

vasantha T k,

Thank you for visiting again. I appreciate your support of my writing.

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