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, people known historically in English as Gypsies and their language.
1 A traditionally nomadic people with particular folkways and a unique language, found on every continent; they are sometimes also called Roma, from the name of a major
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the language of the Gypsies. Romany, which belongs to the neo-Indic group of Indo-European languages, developed in isolation from the Indie languages, to which it is closely related. It preserved the basic lexicon of the Old Indie languages and a typological resemblance to the Middle Indic and Modern Indic languages.
The principal phonetic features of Romany include the devoicing of voiced aspirates (gh > kh, dh > th,bh > ph), the weakening of aspiration (ch > c, th > t, bh > b), the loss of retroflexion (ṭ > r, ḍ > r, ḍh > r, ṣ > s, ṣṭ > št), and the devoicing of affricates (j > c). In Romany, positions have come to be used as case endings. Other morphological features of Romany include a distinction between the stem in the direct case and the stem in oblique cases, the lack of an accusative case for inanimate nouns, and the presence of compound forms in the future tense.
Ethnic groups of Gypsies, which have migrated along different routes, speak different dialects that have been more or less influenced in vocabulary, phonetics, and syntax by surrounding languages. Because of the Gypsies’ long residence in the Byzantine Empire, Romany absorbed several features common to Balkan languages. For example, it adopted the use of articles (masculine o, feminine e and i) and lost the earlier infinitive, which was replaced by personal forms of the subjunctive with the prepositive particle te- (in certain modern dialects of Romany these forms of the subjunctive are losing their significance as personal forms).
REFERENCESVenttsel’, T. V. Tsyganskii iazyk. Moscow, 1964.
Venttsel’, T. V., and L. N. Cherenkov. “Dialekty tsyganskogo iazyka.” In the collection lazyki Azii i Afriki, book 1. Moscow, 1976.
Sergievskii, M. V., comp. Tsygansko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1938.
Turner, R. L. The Position of Romani in Indo-Aryan. London, 1927.
Kochanowski, J. Gypsy Studies, vols. 1–2. New Delhi, 1963.
Wolf, S. A. Grosses Wörterbuch der Zigeunersprache (Romani tšiw). Mannheim, 1960.
Rishi, W. R. Multilingual Romani Dictionary. Chandigarh, 1974.
T. V. VENTTSEL’