The dialects of Romanes

Romani is a very diverse language with its roots in India. Despite the lack of a universally-accepted standard form (see intro), many dialects are dying out- firstly due to the lingering effects of the Porajmos (Romani Holocaust) and secondly due to speakers switching to the local gadje languages either through cultural pressure or ease of use.

Matras (2002) divides the Romani language into five major dialect groups: Balkan, Vlax, Central, Northeast and Northwest. These terms refer largely to the area of codification and not the precise geographic spread- dialects considered "Northwest" include ones spoken in Italy and Finland. The Roma dialects of Spain are often placed in an "Iberian" subgroup due to their linguistic and geographical diversity, whereas the British Romani dialects (also para-Romani) are sometimes considered Northwestern and sometimes considered a separate grouping:

As can be seen on the map, related dialects are spoken in the Middle East and North Africa. The most prominent of these is Domari, an Arabic-influenced dialect with low mutual intelligibility with other Romani dialects. Many linguists consider it a separate language, while ironically enough considering the widely diverging forms of European Romani to be a dialect continnum at the very most! The other main "Romanid" languages are Lom, spoken in Armenia and northeastern Turkey, and Persian Romani. The Dom language, spoken by the travelling communities in India, is also a distant relative. Some non-Romani travellers have also adopted Romani terms in their daily vernacular, but as they generally speak a variant of the surrounding language(s), these do not count as what I will refer to for ease of use as Rom/Lom/Dom (RLD) languages.