Gypsy word "rom", which means "man."




                  Romani is the language of the Gypsies. The origin of the Gypsies was long a matter of speculation. The English word "Gypsy" stems from an early belief that they came from Egypt. This has now been disproved. The question was resolved by the science of linguistics. Detailed study of the Gypsy language has shown that the Gypsies originally came from India. The common features it shares with Sanskrit and later Indian languages can lead to no other conclusion. Hence, Romany is an Indo-European language belonging to the Indic branch of the Indo-Iranian group.The Gypsies are believed to have begun their migration westward about 1000 A.D. Loanwords in their language from Persian, Armenian, and Greek provide some indication of the general course of their travels. Today Gypsies are to be found in many countries of both Eastern and Western Europe as well as in the United States. A rough estimate of their number would be of 5-6 million. The name Romany is derived from the Gypsy word "rom", which means "man." Dialects vary considerably, each strongly influenced by the language of the country in which it is spoken. The English word "pal" is of Gypsy origin, coming from the Romany word "phral", which means "brother." Latin script is mostly used except in Bulgaria where the Cyrillic one is used. The Rom people provide a particularly striking example of the notion that language is a key to a people's identity. At least two-thirds of the world's 5-6 million Rom speak the Danubian dialect which the English specialist B. Gilliat-Smith named "Vlach" or "Vlax".

    Sources : OHCHR  (Haute Commission pour les Droits Humains) : http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/rmn.htm le 26/11/2008


    Rom in Serbia Raphaël Andrieu, 2008)

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