Variation and dialect levelling in the Romani dialect of Ţăndărei

Yaron Matras, Daniele Viktor Leggio

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The Kangjlari of Ţăndărei in southeastern Romania offer an interesting case study of the consolidation within just a few generations of a new Romani community, as a result of state-sponsored relocation and settlement between 1950 and 1980. We discuss the linguistic implications of the formation of this new community, drawing on language material from questionnaire elicitation and life history interviews among recent migrants now living in the UK, and supported by access to local ethnographic and archive material in the origin community. We show how a process of dialect levelling is underway in the Romani variety spoken by the Roma of Ţăndărei, which resembles cases of koineization discussed for a number of other languages in recent sociolinguistic literature. The stabilization of a particular combination of features means that the variety under discussion cannot be accommodated into current dialect classification models. This has implications for our general understanding of dialect formation in Romani. The paper also offers the very first modern, concise grammatical sketch of a Romani variety from Romania.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi:
Pages (from-to)173-209
Number of pages36
JournalRomani Studies
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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