Writing Romani: The pragmatics of codification in a stateless language

Yaron Matras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Romani is a stateless, non-territorial minority language with no written tradition. The present paper offers a survey of recent codification efforts. Codification is regional and decentralized, with only marginal international orientation or institutional commitment. Texts tend to show moderate or elaborate adjustment of the majority language alphabet, with occasional 'soft' neologisms. In a pragmatic corpus analysis, three action-oriented functions of Romani codification are identified: a communicative function, an emblematic function, and a mobilizing-rallying function. Overlaps among those functions, and emerging, potentially autonomous functions, are identified for two domains: political journalism and educational material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-502
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


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