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.
Raklì — “non-Romani girl,” as opposed to a shey.
Raklò — “non-Romani boy,” as opposed to a shavo.
Rango — Refers to the most important krisnitori (krisari) at a kris.
Ròmani — The English adjective (sometimes spelled Romany) for “Gypsy,” thus “the Romani people,” “the Romani language.” The word is also used by itself to refer to the language (see also Romanes), and sometimes as a noun to mean a Romani person (“they are Romanies”).
Ròmanichal — Name of a division of the Romani migration which entered France and then Britain. British Romanichals have migrated to all parts of the English-speaking world. In France spelt romanitchel.
Rràso — A word meaning “race,” sometimes applied to distinguish Romani populations (as a Rràso) from other non-Romani rràsurya (pl.).
Rràyo — “heaven.”
Rròbo — “prisoner.” Original European Romani meaning was “slave.”
Rrùndo — “rank, status.” Dav tut and’o rrùndo “I hold you in esteem.”
Rrestisàvav — “I accuse,” also bangyaràv, purrìv.
Rrobìya — “jail.” Original European Romani meaning was “slavery.”
Rrom — “person of Romani descent.” However, because of their isolation, the Romani populations who were held in slavery for between five and six centuries in Romania have come to regard themselves alone as being the “real” Rrom, distinct from other non-Rrom Gypsy populations such as the Sìnti or the Bashaldè. Nevertheless all non-Rrom populations refer to their culture and language as Romani, and use the word Rom (rather than the specifically Vlax Rrom) to mean either “Gypsy” or “husband.” Pl. either Rrom or Rromà.
Rrom amerikàcha — Roma from the United States.
Rrom barò — The leader of a Romani community.
Rrom kanadàcha — Roma from Canada.
Rrom krisàko — A krisnitòri.
Rrom krisàko — Experienced older Rom with a reputation for fairness in serving as a krisnitòri, q.v. Pl. Rrom(à) krisànge.
Rrom krisòngo — A Rrom who attends krisà as a krisnitòri, reputed for his fairness and whose participation is frequently sought.
Rrom mesik(an)àcha — Mexican Rom (pl.).
Rrom themènge — Rroma from Europe.
Rromanè shavorrè — “Romani boys,” label of emphatic affirmation (because of the intentional tautology).
Rromanès — the adverb derived from Rromanì, meaning “Gypsily, in the Romani way.” In Romani this grammatical form is used when referring to the language, thus dav duma Rromanès “I speak in the Romani way,” i.e. “I speak Romani.” Using this adverbial form in English as though it were a noun is incorrect.
Rromanì — The singular subject-case adjective derived from Rrom. Its use (as Romanì) for the name of the language in English derives from its function as a feminine singular adjective in Rromanì shib “Romani language.”
Rromanì buchì — Romani matters, typical Romani affairs. Kald. Rromani buki.
Rromanì fòrma — “correct behavior, behavior according to Rromanìya.
Rromanìya — “Romani culture, behavior and values; “Romaniness.” Any behavior likely to defile or pollute, and therefore disturb kintàla and bring prikàza and bibàxt, is gazhikanìya, or “non-Romani ways. In other dialects it is Romanipè(n).
Rromanestàn — The notional homeland of the Romani people.
Rromàle shavàle — Term of address to a group, lit. “married men, unmarried men.”
Rromnì — “married Romani female.”
Rupunì rovlì — Clan leader’s baton. lit. A silver rod.”