The Divisions of Romani Dialects|
The Linguistics section of the Centre de recherches tsiganes at the
Universite Rene Descarte arrived at the following divisions in the Romani
Romany in its original sense, which is spoken by the majority of Roma
around the world, is further divided into three groups of dialects. These
dialects have the basic Romany vocabulary and, except for loan-words from
contact languages for modern life (television, truck-driver, etc.), there's
a high level of comprehension between them.
The Balkan-Carpathian-Baltic group has a very well-preserved phonology
(system of phonetics), and is further divided into:
the Old Balkan, or Arlijan, subgroup,
the Carpathian subgroup, and
the Baltic subgroup.
The Gurbet-Cerhan group is spoken exclusively in the Balkans.
The Kalderash-Lovar group which has gone through fairly considerable
changes in the area of phonology, is the most geographically widespread,
reaching from the Urals to California and Buenos Aires. This dialect, or group
of dialects, has also been given the name Vlax Romany.
The Sinto-Manush dialects, are divided into Carpathian and Baltic
subgroups and contain a large number of loan-words from Germanic languages.
Even the morphology (system of word structure) of these dialects has undergone
substantial changes, so that comprehension between speakers of these dialects
and the preceeding ones is minimal.
Local dialects of other languages containing Romani words, are spoken
by groups of Roma who lost their own language in efforts toward assimilation.
The Spanish gitanos, for example, were persecuted in the 17th and 18th
centuries and punished for using Romany, so that the Calo dialects have
Romany words but Spanish grammar. Similar situations exist in Great Britain
and some regions in Rumania. These dialects are completely incomprehensible for
Roma of the other dialect groups.