Gypsy (or Gipsy) is a word that has several overlapping meanings. Initially the word was used to describe a people who called themselves Romany who first appeared in England at about the beginning of the 16th century. Although in certain contexts it is still used to describe the Romany, it also describes those in English speaking countries who live a lifestyle similar to that of the Romany, or as a translation of equivalent words in other languages.
In time, the use of the term Gypsy was extended to other ethnic groups, perceived as fitting its stereotypes, like nomadic people of European or South Asian origin, also various ethnic groups in South-East Asia, known as Sea Gypsies. Colloquially, it names also any person perceived as fitting the Gypsy stereotypes.
There are independent groups currently working toward standardizing the Romany language, including groups in Romania, Serbia, the USA, and Sweden.
A standardized form of Romany is used in Serbia. In Serbia’s autonomous province of Vojvodina, Romany is one of the officially recognized minority languages—having its own radio stations and news broadcasts.
In Romania, the country with the largest identifiable Roma population, there is now a unified system for teaching the Romany language for all dialects spoken in the country. This is primarily a result of the work of Gheorghe Sarău, who made Romany textbooks for teaching Roma children.
Despite various standardization efforts, the overall trend in Romany literacy is towards regional codification, with some degree of international orientation, in the choice of some graphemes as well as vocabulary.
Other endonyms for Romani include, for example:
- Ashkali (or “Balkan Egyptians” – Albanian-speaking Roma communities in the Balkans
- Bashaldé – Hungarian-Slovak Roma diaspora in the US from the late 19th century.
- Calé is the endonym used by both the Spanish Roma (gitanos) and Portuguese Portuguese Roma ciganos; Caló is “the language spoken by the calé.
- Erlides (also Arlije, Yerlii or Arli) in Greece
- Kaale, in Finland and Sweden.
- Kale, Kalá, or Valshanange – Welsh English endonym used by some Roma clans in Wales.(Romanichal also live in Wales.)
- Khorakhanè, Horahane or Xoraxai, also known as “Turkish Roma” or “Muslim Roma” – Greek Roma and Turkish Roma.
- Lalleri, from Austria, Germany, and the western Czech Republic (including the former Sudetenland).
- Lovari, from Hungary, known in Serbia as Machvaya, Machavaya, Machwaya, or Macwaia.
- Luri, mainly in the Middle East.
- Lyuli, in Central Asian countries.
- Rom in Italy.
- Roma in Romania, commonly known by majority ethnic Romanians as Țigani, including many subgroups defined by occupation, :
- Boyash also known as Băieşi, Lingurari, Ludar, Ludari, or Rudari, who coalesced in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania. Boyash or băieşi is a Romanian word for “miners”. Lingurari means “spoon makers”, Ludar,Ludari, andRudari may mean “woodworkers” or “miners” (There is a semantic overlap due to the homophony and/or merging of lemmas with different meanings from at least two different languages: the Serbian rudar miner, and ruda stick, staff, rod, bar, pole (in Hungarian rúd, and in Romanian rudă.
- Churari, from Romanian Ciurari, “sieve makers”, Zlătari “gold smiths”
- Ursari (bear trainers, from Moldovan/Romanian urs “bear”),
- Ungaritza blacksmiths and bladesmiths
- Argintari silversmiths.
- Aurari goldsmiths.
- Florari flower sellers.
- Lăutari singers.
- Kalderash, from Romaniancaldarar meaning tinsmith, tinker, kettlemaker; also in Bessarabia and Ukraine.
- Roma or Romové, Czech Republic
- Roma or Romská, Slovakia
- Romanichal, in the United Kingdom, emigrated also to the United States, Canada and Australia
- Romanisæl, in Norway and Sweden.
- Roms or Manouche (from manush “people” in Romani) in France.
- Romungro or Carpathian Romani from eastern Hungary and neighbouring parts of the Carpathians
- Sinti or Zinti, predominantly in Germany, and Northern Italy; Sinti do not refer to themselves as Roma, although their language is called Romanes.