Welsh-Romani language

Welsh Romani (or Welsh Romany; sometimes also known as Kååle[3]) 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 15th century. The first record of Romani in Wales comes from the 16th century. Welsh-Romani is one of the many Northern Romani dialects.[4]

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

The majority of the vocabulary is of Indo-Aryan 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").[5] Historically the variants of Welsh and English Romani of the Romanichal, constituted the same variant of Romani,[6] share characteristics and are historically closely related to dialects spoken in France, Germany (Sinti), Scandinavia, Spain, Poland, North Russia and the Baltic states. Such dialects are descended from the first wave of Romani immigrants into western, northern and southern Europe in the late Middle Ages.[7]


  1. Price, Glanville (2000) Languages in Britain and Ireland, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Welsh Romani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ROMLEX: Romani dialects
  4. Norbert Boretzky: Kommentierter Dialektatlas des Romani. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004 p. 18
  5. 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.
  6. Sampson. J. (1926) The Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales. Oxford. Clarendon Press.
  7. Bakker (1997) Review of McGowan, The Winchester Confessions. Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. Fifth series, 7. (1): 49-50.

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