General Introduction


Preface


Words


Sounds


Forms


Sentences


Dialects I

Dialect Classification

The Northeastern Dialects

The Northwestern Dialects

The Northern Central Dialects

The Southern Central Dialects

The Northern Vlax Dialects

The Southern Vlax Dialects

The Balkan Zis-Dialects

The Balkan Dialects

Other Dialect Groups

Dialects II


Sociolinguistics


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   DIALECTS  I

Manchester Romani Project / Yaron Matras

     
  There is a tendency in Romani linguistics to identify, tentatively at least, the dialect groups of the Balkan Dialects, the Vlax Dialects, the Central Dialects, the Northwestern Dialects, the Northeastern Dialects, the Britisch Dialects and the Iberian Dialects.  

 

 

 


 

 

   DIALECT CLASSIFICATION

 

 

 

 

There is no ‘easy’ way to classify dialects. One must first select the criteria on which a classification is to be based. Sometimes dialect classification is based strictly on geography, sometimes it is based strictly on the structural features – lexicon, phonology, morphology – of the dialects. In the latter case, it is necessary to select those features that are of global relevance and that can be used as a reference grid to compare the different dialects and to determine the relationships among them. Scholars often disagree on which features should be given greater attention as a basis for a classification. As a result, it is not unusual to find different classification models. There is also an objective difficulty: Some dialects may share ‘typical’ features with two distinct dialect branches. Such transitional dialects are part of any linguistic landscape. It is therefore almost impossible to postulate clear-cut divisions between dialect groups or ‘branches’.

Several factors are responsible for dialect differentiation in Romani:

-  The migration of Romani-speaking populations throughout Europe, in different periods
-  The geographical spread of structural changes, creating ‘isoglosses’ 
-  The influence of contact languages 
-  Specific changes that are limited to the structure of individual dialects

 

 

 

1 Para-Romani varieties are ethnolects of the respective majority language with (mostly lexical) elements from Romani; e.g. Angloromani is    a variety of English with Romani elements. Speakers of such varieties often label their ethnolects “their Romani language”.

 
 
     

 
     
 
 
 
   THE BALKAN DIALECTS

 
 
Balkan dialects of Romani (also called: ‘Southern Balkan’, ‘Southern Balkan I’) are spoken in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia (Kosovo), Romania, Ukraine, and Iran. Dialects belonging to this group include Arli (Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece), Erli (Bulgaria), Mečkar (Albania), Sepeči (Greece, Turkey), Ursari (Romania), Crimean Romani (Ukraine), Zargari (Iran), and others. [Ill. 2a]

 
The diagnostic of characteristic features of this group of dialects include:
 

 

sine for ‘he/she was’
-  Third person pronouns ov, oj, on
-  Shortened possessive pronouns mo ‘my’, to ‘your’
-  Demonstratives akava and adava, sometimes akavka
-  Loan verbs are usually adapted with -in- (but -iz- appears in the Black Sea region)
-  2nd Pl. past tense -en in tume kerden ‘you.PL did’
-  Future tense in ka, sometimes ma

 
 
   THE BALKAN ZIS-DIALECTS

 

 

These dialects (also called: ‘Drindari-Bugurdži-Kalajdži group’, ‘Southern Balkan II’) are spoken in northern and central Bulgaria and Macedonia. They include the dialects of the Drandari/Drindari, Kovački, Kalajdži and Bugurdži (but note that these are occupational designations, and are sometimes also found among groups speaking other types of dialects). [Ill. 2a]

 
The diagnostic of characteristic features of this group of dialects include:
 

 

-  Demonstratives kaka or kəka

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -iz- 

-  z- in zis ‘day’ and zi ‘soul’

-  c- in buci ‘work’ and cin- ‘to buy’

-  reduction of -e- kerela > kerla ‘s/he does’

 

 

   THE SOUTHERN VLAX DIALECTS

 

 

These dialects are spoken in Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, southern Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Turkey. They include the dialects of the Gurbet or Džambazi and groups known by other names such as Kalburdžu and Čergar. [Ill. 2b]

 
Their diagnostic features include:
 

 

-  seha or sesa for ‘he/she was’

-  Third person pronouns vov, voj, von

-  Possessive mənro ‘my’, čo ‘your’

-  Demonstrative gava

-  Nominal plural endings in -uri, -ura

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -isar-

-  Past tense and copula 1.SG in -em as in sem ‘I am’

-  2nd Pl. Past in -en in tume kerden ‘you.PL did’

-  Future tense in ka

-  Negation in in or ni

-  dž- in dživeh ‘day’

-  -č- in buči ‘work’

-  -rn- in marno ‘bread’

-  -ej in dej ‘mother’

a- in ašunav ‘I hear’

 
 
   THE NORTHERN VLAX DIALECTS

 
 

These dialects are spoken in Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Serbia, as well as in migrant communities worldwide. The most widespread and well-known Northern Vlax dialects include Kelderaš (Kalderaš), Lovari, Čurari and the dialect of the Mačvaja. [Ill. 2b]

 
Their diagnostic features include:
 
 

-  sas for ‘he/she was’

-  Third person pronouns vov, voj, von

-  Possessives muro ‘my’, čiro ‘you’

-  Nominal plural endings in -uri, -ura

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -isar-, -osar- or shortened forms -i-, -o-.

-  1st person past tense in -em

-  džes for ‘day’

-  -č- or -kj- in buči, bukji ‘work’

-  Negation in či

-  ž- in žanav ‘I know’

-  š- in šavo ‘child’

-  -nr- or -nř- in manro, manřo ‘bread’

-  -ej in dej ‘mother’,

-  khanči for ‘nothing

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
   THE SOUTHERN CENTRAL DIALECTS

 
   

These dialects are spoken in Hungary, Slovakia, northern Slovenia, eastern Austria, Ukraine, Romania. They include the dialects of the Romungri, Vend and Burgenland Roman. [Ill. 2c]

 
Their diagnostic features include:
 
 

-  sina for ‘he/she was’

-  Third person pronouns ov, oj, on

-  Demonstratives in ada

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -in-

-  2nd Sg. Past and copula -al as in sal ‘you are’

-  kereha for ‘you shall do’

-  Imperfect in -ahi

-  -h- in leha ‘with-him’

-  Loss of final -s as in dive, di ‘day’, va ‘hand’

-  -r- in maro ‘bread‘

   
 
   THE NORTHERN CENTRAL DIALECTS

 
   

These are spoken in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine. They include East Slovak Romani and the dialect of the Bergitka Roma of Poland. [Ill. 2c]

 
Their diagnostic features include:  
 
 

-  ehas or has for ‘he/she was’, hin for ‘he/she is’

-  Third person pronouns jov, joj, jon

-  Demonstratives in kada

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -in-

-  2nd Sg. Past and copula -al as in sal ‘you are’

-  kereha for ‘you shall do’

-  Imperfect in -as

-  -h- in leha ‘with-him’, -r- in maro ‘bread’

   
 
   THE NORTHWESTERN DIALECTS

 
 
Spoken in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland. They include the Sinti-Manuš dialects of Germany, France and surrounding regions, as well as Finnish Romani or Kaale dialect. [Ill. 2d]

 

Their diagnostic features include:

 

 

-  his for ‘he/she was’ (Sinti only)

-  Third person pronouns jov/job, joj, jon

-  Demonstratives in kava

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -av- or -ar-

-  2nd Sg. Past and copula -al as in sal/hal ‘you are’

-  -h- in leha ‘with him’

-  h- in hom ‘I am’ and ho ‘what’ (Sinti only)

-  -r- in maro ‘bread’, Long vowel in diives ‘day’

 
 
   THE NORTHEASTERN DIALECTS

 
 
Spoken in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine. They include the Polska Romani dialect, the North Russian or Xaladitka Romani dialect, the dialects of Latvia (Lotfitka), Lithuania, etc. [Ill. 2d]

 

Their diagnostic features include:

 

 

-  isys for ‘he/she was’

-  Third person pronouns jov, joj/jej, jone

-  Demonstratives in adava, dava

-  2nd Pl. Past in -e as in tume kerde ‘you.PL did’

-  3rd Pl. Past in -ine as in jone kerdine ‘they did’

-  3rd Sg. Past in -a as in jov kerdja

-  Loan verbs are adapted with -in-

-  pšal for ‘brother’,

-  -r- in maro ‘bread

 
 
   OTHER DIALECT GROUPS

 
 

Some additional dialects show their own distinct features. This is due either to a period of isolation from other dialects, or to the development of features shared with several different dialects branches. As separate groups we can define the following:

-

 

-

 

-

-

-

 

British Romani, including English Romani and Welsh Romani (now extinct, and surviving as a vocabulary only, known    as ‘Angloromani’) 
Iberian Romani, including Spanish Romani, Catalonian Romani, and Errumantxela (Basque Romani), (all extinct,     and surviving as a vocabulary only, known as ‘Caló’)
The Romani dialects of southern Italy, including Abruzzian and Calabrian Romani 
The Slovene Romani dialect (also known as Istriani, Hrvati or Dolenjski) 

The Romani dialects of Iranian Azerbaijan, Zargari and Romano (although these have very close connections to the    Balkan dialects, see above)

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 


 

 

Bakker, Peter, and Matras, Yaron. 1997. Introduction. In: Matras, Yaron, Bakker, Peter, and Kyuchukov, Hristo. eds. The typology and dialectology of Romani. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. vii-xxx. | Boretzky, Norbert. 1999a. Die Gliederung der Zentralen Dialekte und die Beziehungen zwischen Südlichen Zentralen Dialekten (Romungro) und Südbalkanischen Romani-Dialekten. In: Halwachs, Dieter W., and Menz, Florian. Eds. Die Sprache der Roma: Perspektiven der Romani-Forschung in Österreich im interdisziplinären und internationalen Kontext. Klagenfurt: Drava. 210-276. | Boretzky, Norbert. 1999b. Die Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen den Südbalkanischen Romani-Dialekten. Mit einem Kartenanhang. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. | Boretzky, Norbert. 2000b. South Balkan II as a Romani dialect branch: Bugurdži, Drindari, and Kalajdži. Romani Studies, fifth series, 10: 105-183. | Boretzky, Norbert. 2003. Die Vlach-Dialekte des Romani. Strukturen – Sprachgeschichte – Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse – Dialektkarten. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. | Kaufman, Terrence. 1979. Review of Weer Rajendra Rishi, Multilingual Romani Dictionary. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 19: 131-144. | Matras, Yaron. 2002. Romani: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge: CUP. (chapters 2 and 9). | Matras, Yaron. 2005. The classification of Romani dialects: A geographical-historical perspective. In: Schrammel, Barbara, Halwachs, Dieter W. & Ambrosch, Gerd, eds.: 7-26. | Schrammel, Barbara, Halwachs, Dieter W. & Ambrosch, Gerd, eds. 2005. General and Applied Romani Linguistics. Munich: Lincom.

 

 

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