Welsh Romani language

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Welsh Romani
Welsh Kalá
Native toWales (United Kingdom)
Native speakers
Probably extinct as a first language[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3rmw

Welsh Romani (or Welsh Kalá) is a variety of the Romani language which was spoken fluently in Wales until at least 1950.[1] It was spoken by the Kale group of the Romani people who arrived in Britain during the 16th century. The first record of Romani moving permanently into Wales comes from the 18th century. Welsh-Romani is one of the many Northern Romani dialects.[2]

Nowadays Welsh Kalá has transitioned into a para-Romani language (Like Angloromani, Scandoromani, Scottish Cant and Finnish Kalo). Today Welsh Kalá is a mix of Romani, Welsh and English but uses English grammar.

The majority of the vocabulary is of Romani origin but there are a number of loanwords from other languages. Welsh loanwords include melanō ("yellow", from melyn), grīga ("heather", from grug) and kraŋka ("crab", from cranc). There are also English loanwords such as vlija ("village"), spīdra ("spider") and bråmla ("bramble").[3]

Historically the variants of Welsh Kalá and Angloromani (Spoken by the Romanichal of England) constituted the same variant of Romani, known as British Romani.[4] Welsh Kalá is closely related to Angloromani (Spoken by Romanichal in England), Scandoromani (Spoken by Romanisæl in Norway and Sweden), Scottish Cant (Spoken by Scottish Lowland Romani in Lowland Scotland) and Finnish Kalo (Spoken by Finnish Kale in Finland). Welsh Kale, English Romanichal, Norwegian and Swedish Romanisæl, Finnish Kale and Scottish Lowland Romani are closely related groups and are descended from the wave of Romani immigrants who came to England in the 16th century.[5]


  1. ^ a b Price, Glanville (2000) Languages in Britain and Ireland, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.
  2. ^ Norbert Boretzky: Kommentierter Dialektatlas des Romani. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004 p. 18
  3. ^ John Sampson (1926) The dialect of the Gypsies of Wales, being the older form of British Romani preserved in the speech of the clan of Abram Wood, Oxford University Press, London.
  4. ^ Sampson. J. (1926) The Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales. Oxford. Clarendon Press.
  5. ^ Bakker (1997) Review of McGowan, The Winchester Confessions. Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. Fifth series, 7. (1): 49–50.

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