Because the Romani language is more spoken than it is written, there are often variations of the spelling of a word. A special Thank You! goes to Ian Hancock of The University of Texas at Austin for supplying the material for this page.
There are two extra letters in Romani spelling: X and double RR. The X stands for the throat sound in such words as XA! "eat!" or XOXAVEL "he's lying"; the RR stands for the other throat sound in such words as RROM "Gypsy man" or DARRO "wedding money". Pronounce CHORIMOS "stealing" and CHORRIMOS "poverty" to hear the difference. ZH is the sound in ZHANAV "I know." Also notice that K, P and T can have an H following: KH, PH, TH. The H is sounded separately. Say PEREL "he falls down" and PHEREL "he fills up" to hear the difference. V often sounds something like a W.
There are two main Romani dialects in the USA, Kalderashitska and Machvanitska (Machvanska). Some words are different and also, where Kalderash has a G and a K, Machvano sometimes has DJ and CH. Compare Kalderash BUKI, STAGI, Machvano BUCHI, STADJI, "work", "hat."
Use the letters below to see a list of words beginning with that letter.
Abiàv — “wedding,” pl. abiavà. Also biav
Amìra — Oath taken at the beginning of a kris, var. of next.
Amràn — “curse,” pl. armàya, amrìya
Amràn, Armàn — “curse,” pl. armàya, amrìya
Anàv gazhikanò — Non-Romani name for use in dealings with the outside world. This may be an arbitrary choice, or may be an anglicizing (hispanizing, etc.) of the Romani name, thus o Stanko le Michosko might call himself “Stan Mitchell” in English. an individual may have several anavà gazhikanè, as well as a nickname (used only within the community).
Anàv rromanò — Romani name. This consists of a given name, plus a father’s name, plus a mother’s name, plus the name of the vitsa affiliation, thus o Stànko le Michòsko la Gezhàko ànda le Papinèshti vìtsa translates as “Stanko, son of Micho, son of Gezha, of the Papineshti clan.” In ordinary discourse, only the given name and the father’s name are used.
Ansurimè — “married,” of a man
Arapo — An Arab man
Arxentìnurya — Rrom in North America whose ancestors migrated here through Argentina.
Òfisa — “fortune-telling parlor” (< Eng. “office”).