Six English words borrowed from the Romany language

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been part of the UK’s regional populations for centuries. Roma communities are documented to have migrated to the UK during the early 15th century and evidence is found among a variety of official legal documentation and formal correspondence. As part of a wider community referred to as Gypsy Roma and Traveller, Roma have often faced hostility and inequality. It may be surprising then to hear that Romany, an unwritten language spoken by Roma communities is used in everyday English. Romany is a language spoken by communities who live largely across Europe.

The Romany language and culture have been associated with central and northern India and inherits a significant part of its linguistic heritage from Sanskrit alongside modern Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati. In this sense, it is considered the only Indo Aryan-derived European language.

While there are large communities of Romany speakers across Europe and beyond, only a small number of people in the UK speak a fully grammatical version. Within the UK, the majority of speakers use what is referred to as Anglo-Romany. This is a language unique to the Anglo-Roma of the UK and with a historical and linguistic connection to Romany culture. You may be surprised by some of the words that have been incorrectly labelled as colloquial or slang in English, which are in fact words that have crossed over from Anglo-Romany.

Here are six such words including their meaning found in regional dialects in England with their Romany historical links explained.

Read more: The Conversation

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