Vlax Romani language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vlax Romani
řomani čhib
Native toBosnia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Hungary, Israel; scattered in numerous other states
Native speakers
538,480 (2002–2014)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3rmy
Romany dialects Vlax.svg

Vlax Romani is a dialect group of the Romani language (Gipsy). Vlax Romani varieties are spoken mainly in Southeastern Europe by Romani people.[3] Vlax Romani can also be referred to as an independent language[4] or as one dialect of the Romani language. Vlax Romani is the most widely spoken dialect subgroup of the Romani language worldwide.


The language's name is derived from the "Vlachs", a medieval exonym referring to the Romanians, as all the Vlax dialects share an extensive influence from Romanian on vocabulary, phonology and morphology.[5] There have been many waves of migration of Roma out of Romania, some of them being connected to the 19th century abolition of slavery in Romania.[5] This name was coined by British scholar Bernard Gilliat-Smith in his 1915 study on Bulgarian Roma, in which he first divided Roma dialects into Vlax and non-Vlax.[6]

The similarity of the words Romani and Romania is a coincidence, as they are not etymologically related.


Vlax Romani is classified in two groups: Vlax I, or Northern Vlax (including Kalderash and Lovari), and Vlax II, or Southern Vlax.[3]

Elšík[7] uses this classification and dialect examples (geographical information from Matras[8]):

Sub-group Dialect Place
Ukrainian Vlax - Ukraine
Northern Vlax Cerhari Hungary
Hungarian Lovari
Austrian Lovari Austria
Polish Lovari Poland
Norwegian Lovari Norway
Serbian Kalderaš Serbia
Italian Kalderaš Italy
Russian Kalderaš Russia
Taikon Kalderaš Sweden[9]
American Vlax USA
Southern Vlax Vallachian Romania
Ihtiman Bulgaria (named after the city)
Gurbet Serbia and Bosnia
Korça Albania (named after the city)
Italian Xoraxane Italy (Xoraxane translates as "Muslims" in the dialect)
Ajia Varvara Greece (named after a suburb of Athens)

Writing systems[edit]

Vlax Romani is written using the Romani orthography, predominantly using the Latin alphabet with several additional characters. In the area of the former Soviet Union, however, it can also be written in the Cyrillic script.[10]


  1. ^ Vlax Romani at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Vlax Romani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b Norbert Boretzky and Birgit Igla. Kommentierter Dialektatlas des Romani. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2004. Teil 1: Vergleich der Dialekte.
  4. ^ "Romani, Vlax".
  5. ^ a b Yaron Matras (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 9781139433242.
  6. ^ Yaron Matras (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 219. ISBN 9781139433242.
  7. ^ Elšík, Viktor (1999). "Dialect variation in Romani personal pronouns" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  8. ^ Matras, Yaron (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-02330-0
  9. ^ Hansen, Björn; de Haan, Ferdinand (2009). Modals in the Languages of Europe. Walter de Gruyter: p. 307 ISBN 978-3-11-021920-3.
  10. ^ "Journey of Besieged Languages" (PDF). ilholocaustmuseum.org.

External links[edit]