Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Origins Of The Loan Words In The Romani Language

The ethnic  minority of people who now live in Europe, commonly known as the Gypsies, but more respectfully called the Romani people, have languages including a language often called the Romani language, which are part of the Indo-Aryan language family. 

The Indo-Aryan languages are a family of languages within the Indo-European language family that are ultimately derived from Sanskrit, most of which are spoken in Northern India, in Bangladesh, and in Pakistan. The most widely spoken member of the Indo-Aryan language family is Hindi (which when spoken in a Pakistani dialect and written in an Arabic script is called Urdu). 

Genetic evidence as well as linguistic and cultural evidence confirm the Northern Indian roots of the Romani people (with a migration to Europe commencing probably around 1000 CE plus or minus a century or two).

The Romani language contains a great many loan words (about 62% of its vocabulary).

About 84% of the loan word are from Hungarian (a Uralic language that is part of the same language family as the Finnish and Estonian languages and is not an Indo-European language), about 9% of the loan words are Slavic in origin (a different branch of the Indo-European language family), about 3% of the loanwords are Greek (a different branch of the Indo-European language family), about 2% of the loan words are Persian (a part of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family that also includes the Indo-Aryan languages), and about 3% of the loan word have other sources (the total does not add to 100% due to rounding errors). 

None of the loan words in the Romani language come from any Semitic language or from any other Afro-Asiatic language.

More background here.

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