Roma - Sub Ethnic Groups

Index of appellations

Below you will find a sample of an index of appellations: how groups designate themselves or are called by members of other groups of Roma: sub-ethnic ("nations"), professional, regional, etc. The designations are chosen at random; the index is absolutely incomplete; information about individual groups is disproportionate to their size.

  • Ambrel'ara (prof: "umbrella" (Engl.); E.Slov.-R.: "umbrella") (itinerant/house-to-house) umbrella repairmen. The term designates individual families, clans or only individuals from sub-ethnic groups of Slovak RomaVíchodňara. Ambrel'ara walked around the land and repaired umbrellas.
  • Arliye (socionymum: yer Tur. – "place") predominantly settled Roma in Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia – Balkans.
  • Asurara (?) makers and vendors of jewellery: rings, bracelets, earrings. They came to Slovakia with carts, camped near "Gypsy settlements", sold jewellery mainly to Gadže. They communicated with Slovak Roma in Romani, but they had a different dialect. They presented themselves as Roma Asurara.
  • Aurari (hist. professionymum: aur Romanian. "gold") originally panners for gold; today mostly changed over to makers of wooden artifacts. Romania. Syn. Zlatari. Homoprofessional group: Zargar (Iran)
  • Ayjides (professionymum.: ay Tur. – "bear") bear trainers (in west of Turkey). Homoprof. group: Mechkara, medvedara, Ričkara, Ursari.
  • Balaňara (profes.: balaňi Greek-R.: "wooden trough") appellativum for trough makers, used in E. Slovakia. Balaňara live in several communities, speak a dialect of Romanian Syn., Beasha, Koritara.
  • Beasha (?) group of Roma with origins in Romania. They speak an archaic Romanian dialect. They live in Hungary and in some settlements in E. Slovakia. Trad. production of wooden troughs and spoons. Syn. BalaňaraKoritara.
  • Bergitska Roma (geonymum, Berg Germ. – "mountain", "hill") traditionally settled Roma inhabiting the mountainous Polish-Slovak border. They share a similar dialect with the so-called Slovak/Servika Roma. Many common family names (Mirga, Mižigar, Pešta, Mišalko, etc.) witness earlier family ties. Songs collected by the Polish ethnologist Izydor Kopernický at the beginning of the twentieth century around Zakopane are close variants of songs sung up to the present by Servika Roma. Trad. professions: music and black smith trade.
  • Bohémiens (hist. regionymum: Bohème Fr. – "Czech") historic appelativum for "Gypsy" in French based on the idea that they come from the Czech lands (Bohemia).
  • Bosha (appellativum...?) corresponding to the autonym Lom. Armenia
  • Burgenland Roma (regionymum: Burgenland – region in S.E. Austria), Roma traditionally settled. They speak a dialect for which the past imperfect tense ending is –ahi (in other dialects: -as). Related to groups of Roma in southern Slovakia (common family names like Szarközi, Rigo, Horváth), in Slovenia, in a few settlements in northern Hungary. Traditional professions: blacksmith trade and music. Syn: Ungrika Roma (S.W. Slovakia) Rumungri (used by Walachians in Slovakia).
  • Cale (pronounced something like "Calley", anthroponymum: kalo Romani: "black") Spain, southern France. They speak para-Romani – a Romani ethnolect of Spanish. Professions: musicians and dancers (famous for flamenco performances) and horse traders. Ceferino Jiménez Malla, beatified in 1997 by Pope John Paul II, came from the Cale clan.
  • Cerhara/Čergara (socionymum: cerha - "tent") group of travelling Roma in the Balkans.
  • Chuxni (transfer nationymum: Russian colloquial term for Finns) appellativum used by Russian Roma in Latvia for Lotfika (Latvian) Roma.
  • Churara (professionymum.: ciur Romanian – "sieve") sieve makers. Romania. Homoprofes.: gharbilband (Iran), Supvalev (India)
  • Domaca Roma (→Kherutne Roma)
  • Dómí (jatinymum dom Ind.) W. Iran, Afghanistan. Predominantly musicians.
  • Dručkara (professionymum: dručkos - Slov. – "trunk"/"log of a tree") families, clans or whole settlements of Slovak Roma who earned a living by thinning hazelnut trees and selling strong hazelnut rods to Slovak farmers for beans and other useful clinging vines. They speak local variations of Slovak Romani.
  • Djambaza (?) originally travelling horse traders. Balkans, Turkey.
  • Djugí (originally religionymum – derived from jatinym: yogi - Skr. hind – "yogi", "holy beggar") India, Afghanistan, N. Iran (Note.: Among Slovak Roma, the family name Džugi appears in rare instances, but the nickname Džugi is not unusual.
  • Fandari (professonymum: fandaros - Greek – "soldier") appellativum for Russian Roma Syn.: Khaladitka Roma
  • Fuyudj (professionymum: faudj - Arab – "army") Iran (compare fandari)
  • Gharbilband (professionymum: gharbil - Pers. "sieve"; band- Pers. verb root of "to bind") sieve makers, Iran. Homoprofes. Churara (Romania, Hungary), Supvale (India).
  • Ghurbat (xenonymum: ghurbat - Arab, Pers., Turk - "foreigner") Iran
  • Gurbet travelling Roma in Balkans, traditional profession: horse dealers. Syn. Djambaza, Lovara. The language of the Gurbets belongs among the Walachian dialects.
  • Kale (anthroponymum: kalo – Romani - "black") Finland, Spain.
  • Kalderara/Kalderaš/Kerderara (professionymum: caldare - Romanian - "cauldron") originally makers and repairmen of cauldrons. They live in most of the countries of Europe and North and South America. Kalderaš is a Walachian dialect.
  • Kasatarash (professionymum: kas - Persian - "wood"; tarash - Persian - "to cut", "to sculpt") makers of wooden vessels. Iran. Homoprofessional: Beasha, Balaňara, Koritara.
  • Kherutne Roma (socionymum: kher - Romani - "house", "permanent dwelling") one of the autonymous (locally used) designations for traditionally settled Slovak/Servika Roma.
  • Labanci (transfer opprobria for officers of the imperial Hapsburg army used by rebel Hungarian kuruz (participants in the feudal uprising). Apparently derived from the expression for disheveled wigs). Pejorative appellativum for Bergitska Roma used by other Roma in Poland.
  • Latfika-Lotfika Roma (autonymous regionymum) Latvian Roma. Syn. Chuxni.
  • Lom (autonymum corresponding to appellative Bosha). Armenia.
  • Lovara/Lovari (professionymum: Hung.- "horse") originally horse traders. Almost all live in Europe and North and South America. Ethnosynonymum used locally in the Czech and Slovak Republics: Vlachi.
  • Lúlí-Lúrí (historically derived from the town of al-Lor, which no longer exists.) Al-Lor was the first place in Sind to be conquered by Muhammad Qasmi in 712. Musicians. Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asian countries. The Persian classical poet Firdausi wrote about Luri musicians in his work Shahname.
  • Machvaya (local regionymum: Machva – region in Serbia). Group of Roma living in North and South America. They emigrated from Serbia at the beginning of the twentieth century.
  • Manush (anthroponyumum: manush - Indian-Romani - "human being"). Sub-ethnic group closely related to German Sinti. France.
  • Mechkara (professionymum: mechka - Serbian - "bear") bear trainers, Balkans. Homoprofessional groups: Ayjides, Ričkara, Ursari.
  • Patavara (professionymum: patavo - Romani - "rag"). Literally "ragmen": Roma families, clans and/or whole communities who lived by gathering and selling old rags. Eastern Slovakia, subgroup of Slovak Roma.
  • Pol'aka/pol'aki (transfer nationymum used by Slovak Roma as a synonym for Walachian Roma.) It has a derogatory connotation.
  • Seliyeri (professionymum: sel- – Persian - "iron"). Blacksmiths, cauldron makers; makers of combs. Iran.
  • Servi-Servika Roma 1. (historic regionym/nationymum – "Serv", "Serb"; "Hungarian"). Group of Roma in Ukraine who probably came from Serbia.
  • Servika Roma, Servi 2,1. archaic syn. for Slovak Roma, traditionally settled Roma in Slovakia. It became an autonymum. Slovak Servika Roma do not have either language or seemingly any clan origin in common with Ukranian Servi. 2,2. Appellativum that Ungrika Roma (Hungarian Roma), the settled Hungarian minority of the southwestern region of Slovakia use for Roma speaking an almost identical "-ahi" dialect, but settling in ethnic Slovak surroundings (Klenovec, Hnúšťa, etc.)
  • Sinti (uncertain etymology). Distinctive sub-ethnic group of Roma living predominantly in Germany. Others in Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, etc. Syn. Ňemcika Roma (used by Roma in the Czech and Slovak Republics). A sub-group or closely related group are the French Manush.
  • Tattare (historic nationymum: "Tatars") After their arrival in central Europe, Roma were often identified as representatives of other nomadic ethnic groups – most frequently with the Tatars. The historic designation has been kept for the first group of Roma to come to Sweden before later waves of immigrants from Russia (beginning of the 20th century), and from Poland, the Balkans, the former Czechoslovakia, etc. (after World War II). Swedish Tatars are linguistically assimilated.
  • Vichodňara (sub-regionymum: východ - Slovak – "east") sub-group of Slovak Roma inhabiting eastern Slovakia. (compare: Zapadňara)
  • Vlachi (→Walachian Roma-Olaši)
  • Walachian Roma (Olaši) (historic regionymum: Walachia, one of the historic Romanian principalities). 1. Functions as a hyperonymum for various groups of Roma (of different clans and professions) speaking similar dialects. 2. In the Czech and Slovak Republics, Roma who until recently travelled; their traditional profession was horse trading. (Elsewhere in the world they are called Lovari)
  • Xaladitka Roma (transfer argot nationymum: khalado – Romani - argot – literally, "devoured" - /"decayed brain", "dullard/soldier", "a Russian") appellativum the Lotfika Roma use for Russian Roma. "Latvian" (region of Latgale, E. Latvia) Syn. Fandari.
  • Xoraxane Roma (natio-religionymum: Xoraxay – "Turk"/ "Muslim") Roma professing Islamic faith. Balkans, whence beginning of 20th century to North and South America. Phonetic variants: Korane, Korhane
  • Zapadňara (sub-regionymum: západ - Slovak – "west") sub-group of Slovak Roma living in western Slovakia. The regional variations of Zapadňara dialect have a few common characteristics that are different from the dialects of the Vichodňara. The social situation of the Zapadňara is, thanks to the standard of living in west Slovakia, is on the average higher than the standard of living of the Vichodňara.
  • Zargar (professionymum: zar - Persian - "gold"; gar - Persian suffixal morfeme expressing a doer). Iran. Zargar Romani is one of the European Romani dialects, which bears witness to the fact that the Zargars re-emigrated from Europe to Iran.

We repeat what we said in the introduction to this index: It is merely a sample of how an encyclopedia of Roma grouped by their designations could look. The entries of individual groups are incomplete and not equally comprehensive. If such an encyclopedia were compiled, it would probably fill several volumes. The mechanics of processing this information should, first and foremost, be undertaken by Roma themselves – historians, ethnologists, linguists – both academically educated and lay. Such an undertaking would undoubtedly contribute to knowledge of Roma history, culture and language.

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