Introduction to the Romani language

Romani is the language of the Romani people. Currently the Romani language is spoken by the vast majority of Roma worldwide, i.e. by 12 to 16 million people. In Spain, Romani has long since disappeared as a language. The progressive deterioration of the language’s grammatical foundations gave rise to what is known today as Caló.

Although the recovery of the language will not be an easy task, it is a challenge that must be addressed as soon as possible in order to effectively achieve an intercultural society that recognises the idiosyncrasies inherent to the Roma ethnic minority.

The origins of the Romani people had been the subject of various theories and hypotheses over long periods of time. In the late 18th century, the linguists Rudiger and Reliman compared the Romani language to a number of languages from northern India and found great similarities between all of them. From that time, the origin of the Romani people began to be known with a certain degree of precision.

This shows the importance of philology, the study of ancient languages, in order to understand the history of the Roma, specifically in determining their origins and their subsequent pilgrimages to different countries.


Una familia gitana — Fac-símil de un grabado en el “Cosmographie Universal” de Munster: en folio, Basilea 1552. ↵

Here are some basic polite phrases:

Te oves baxtalo → I wish you luck (greeting)

Lachi rat → Good evening

Sar san? → How are you?

Te oves baxtalo → Very well, thanks

Te kamesa → Please

So kames? → What do you want?

Losasa → I’d be happy to

Devlèsa → Goodbye

Ʒi tehàra → See you tomorrow

Devel te del tuqe i lachi baxt → May God bring you good luck