Although there are over nine million Roma (plural of Rom, the correct name for those people who have been more often referred to as Gypsies in English) in Europe and North America (plus many more all over the world), no usable modern grammar of their language, Romani, exists in English. Of all the different kinds of Romani, the Vlax dialects have the most speakers and are spoken in the greatest number of countries around the world. It is an appropriate choice, therefore, as the type of Romani which will be most widely useful to the learner. It is also the variety for which most dictionaries, grammars (in languages other than English), and non-linguistic texts have been published. The Vlax dialects are very similar to each other, and having learned one, learning any of the others may be accomplished with little adjustment.
Professor Hancock's book starts with a summary of current knowledge of the Indian origins and westward migration of the Roma, then proceeds to an illustrated summary of the dialects of Romani. A survey of the language itself, in the context of its socio-linguistic setting and current efforts to create a supradialectal standard for all Roma, follows. It contains material on spelling, the sound system, pronunciation, word formation and derivation, morphology (nouns, the article, pronouns, post- and prepositions, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, numerals) and much more. The book concludes with a bibliography and index.
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