October 11, 2016
Romani (Gypsy) differs from other languages in that it has a very restricted vocabulary of inherited words (about 1000 items) and well integrated loans. Therefore, the speakers of Romani are constantly forced to borrow from other languages lexical material to such an extent that we may say, Romani is a lexically deficient language which functions as a means of communication only in combination with other languages. Interestingly, there is a very strong tendency to keep the inherited and the borrowed vocabulary apart by applying to them different forms of inflection, word formation etc. Although many foreign words have been adopted centuries ago they nevertheless continue to follow their own grammatical patterns. This second peculiarity of Romani is hardly found in any other language. Beyond that interference has been and is considerably strong in the sphere of grammatical categories and of syntactic rules. Since various dialects of Romani have been exposed to the influence of rather different languages Romani constitutes an excellent field for the study of all kinds of interference. It can be shown that many'linguistic categories are borrowed by imitating foreign structures in a rather indirect way-a possibility that has been questioned in recent times.