The Romani language of the Gypsies

During the 18th century, Maria Theresa, who was the empress of Austro-Hungary tried to abolish the Romani language. She did this by taking away Roma children from their parents and giving them to Hungarian foster parents or state run orphanages in an effort to ensure that the children did not grow up learning how to speak Romani. The end result of this was that there are currently a large number of Hungarian Romas who do not speak Romani. The same practice was applied in Spain and the Romani Spanish dialect, otherwise known as Calo disappeared. Currently, most governments are trying to get the Romas to speak the national language used in the country. Due to the widespread bias and persecution of Romas in European countries, most Roma do not want to speak their language and they also do not want their children to learn it. A number of activists have tried to have Romani introduced in schools where there are large number of Romas living but these efforts have been unsuccessful so far.

Romani is an Indo-Aryan language that is spoken by the Roma people. The largest number of Roma people can be found in Romanian. Other speakers can be found in Canada, Mexico, the US, and Southern America. The English term for the Roma people is Gypsies. The Romani language is closely related to other Indo-Aryan languages such as Sanskrit and Punjabi. While some people view Romani as a collection of dialects, other people view it as a collection of closely related Romani languages. Romani is also written as Romany. The language has a number of dialects. There are some dialects of Romani that are so divergent, that some linguists would prefer to consider them as independent languages.

For a long time, Romani was an unwritten language. It was mainly passed on orally from one generation to another. Currently, some Roma write in Romani however, there is still no standardized orthography for the language. Most Roma use the alphabet of the country they live in to write Romani. Due to the growing demand for written literature, an international Romani alphabet is starting to emerge. There are also Romani songs.

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