Vlax Romani language

Vlax Romani
Native to Bosnia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Hungary; scattered in numerous other states
Native speakers
485,000 (2002–2010)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rmy
Glottolog vlax1238[2]

Vlax Romani is a dialect group of the Romani language. 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. Most Vlax Romani speakers live in Bosnia-Herzegovina (300,000) followed by Romania (241,617), Albania (60,000) and Colombia (4,850).[5]


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.[6] 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.[6] 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, based on whether they were influenced by Romanian or not.[7]

The similarity of the words Romani and Romania is a coincidence, 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[8] uses this classification and dialect examples (geographical information from Matras [9]):

Sub-group Dialect Place
Ukrainian Vlax Ukraine
Northern Vlax Hungarian Lovari Hungary
Slovak Bougešti Slovakia
Austrian Lovari Austria
Polish Lovari Poland
Norwegian Lovari Norway
Cerhari Hungary
Serbian Kalderaš Serbia
Italian Kalderaš Italy
Russian Kalderaš Russia
Taikon Kalderaš Sweden[10]
American Vlax USA
Southern Vlax Vallachian Romania
Ihtiman Bulgaria (Ihtiman = name of a city)
Gurbet Serbia and Bosnia
Korça Albania (Korça = name of a city)
Italian Xoraxane Italy (Xoraxane means "muslims" in the dialect)
Ajia Varvara Greece (Ajia Varvara = name of a suburb of Athens)

Writing systems

Vlax Romani is written using the Romani orthography, which is a Latin alphabet with several additional characters. In the area of the former Soviet Union it is also written in Cyrillic.


  1. Vlax Romani at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Vlax Romani". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 Norbert Boretzky and Birgit Igla. Kommentierter Dialektatlas des Romani. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2004. Teil 1: Vergleich der Dialekte.
  4. Ethnologue report
  5. The Ethnologue report; Ethnologue page on Colombia
  6. 1 2 Yaron Matras (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 9781139433242.
  7. Yaron Matras (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 219. ISBN 9781139433242.
  8. Elšík, Viktor (1999). "Dialect variation in Romani personal pronouns" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  9. Matras, Yaron (2002). Romani: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-02330-0
  10. Hansen, Björn; de Haan, Ferdinand (2009). Modals in the Languages of Europe. Walter de Gruyter: p. 307 ISBN 978-3-11-021920-3.
Romani edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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