Romani language

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romani čhib
Native speakers
c. 1.5 million (SIL Ethnologue) (2015)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2rom
ISO 639-3rominclusive code
Individual codes:
rmn – Balkan Romani
rml – Baltic Romani
rmc – Carpathian Romani
rmf – Finnish Kalo
rmo – Sinte Romani
rmy – Vlax Romani
rmw – Welsh-Romani
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Romani or Romany (native name: romani ćhib) is the language of the Roma and Sinti, once spoken in the Indo-Greek Kingdom . The Indo-Aryan Romani language should not be confused with either Romanian (spoken by Romanians), or Romansh (spoken in parts of southeastern Switzerland), both of which are Romance languages.

Analysis of the Sanskrit based Romani language has shown that it is closely related to those spoken in central and northern India, Hindustani language in particular. This linguistic relationship is believed to indicate the Roma's and Sinti's geographical origin. Loanwords in Romani make it possible to trace the pattern of their migration westwards.

Distribution[change | change source]

The following table shows the distribution of Romani speakers in Europe according to Bakker et al. (2000) [1]. The last column shows the percentage of Romani speakers in the Roma population in each country.

Country Speakers %
Albania 90,000 95%
Austria 20,000 80%
Belarus 27,000 95%
Belgium 10,000 80%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 40,000 90%
Bulgaria 350,000 80%
Croatia 28,000 80%
Czech Republic 140,000 50%
Denmark 1,500 90%
Estonia 1,100 90%
Finland 3,000 90%
France 215,000 70%
Germany 85,000 70%
Greece 160,000 90%
Hungary 260,000 50%
Italy 42,000 90%
Latvia 18,500 90%
Lithuania 4,000 90%
Macedonia 215,000 90%
Moldova 56,000 90%
Netherlands 3,000 90%
Poland 4,000 90%
Romania 433,000 80%
Russia 405,000 80%
Serbia and Montenegro 380,000 90%
Slovakia 300,000 60%
Slovenia 8,000 90%
Spain 1,000 1%
Sweden 9,500 90%
Turkey 280,000 70%
Ukraine 113,000 90%
United Kingdom 1,000 0.5%

Notes and references[change | change source]

  1. Romani Project: Numbers and distribution, University of Manchester
  2. Romani language at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  3. "Ley de lenguas nativas" (PDF) (in Spanish). Bogotá: Ministry of Culture of Colombia. 2010. Retrieved 2015-12-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. "Regional- und Minderheitensprachen" (PDF) (in German). Berlin: Federal Ministry of the Interior. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. "National and Ethnic Minorities in Hungary" (PDF). Facts About Hungary (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2015-12-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. "National minorities and minority languages". Swedish Ministry for Integration and Gender Equality. 2007. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. "Law of Ukraine "On Principles of State Language Policy"". Document 5029-17, Article 7: Regional or minority languages Ukraine, Paragraph 2. Government of Ukraine. 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2015-12-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Romani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Cite uses deprecated parameter |chapterurl= (help)
  • Bakker Peter et al. 2000. What is the Romani language? Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.
  • Hancock, Ian. 2001. Ame sam e rromane džene / We are the Romani People. The Open Society Institute, New York.
  • Lee, Ronald. 2005. Learn Romani Das-dúma Rromanes Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press
  • Masica, Colin. 1991. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Matras, Yaron. 2002. Romani: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sarău, Gheorghe. 1997. Rromii, India şi limba rromani. Bucureşti.
  • Sarău, Gheorghe. 2000. Dicţionar rrom-român / Dikcionaro rromano-rumunikano. Dacia, Cluj-Napoca. ISBN 973-35-0987-6.

Other websites[change | change source]