November 30, 2021

The word Roma (sometimes written Rroms) designates in French a set of populations established in various countries of the world, having a culture and common origins in the Indian subcontinent, also called by the exonyms Tziganes / Tsiganes, Gitans, Bohémiens, Manouches or Romanichels (each of these names having its own history) or even “travelers” by confusion or by fantasized vision (the vast majority being sedentary). Their initial languages ​​are part of the group, derived from Sanskrit, spoken in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, and which also includes Gujarati, Punjabi, Rajasthani and Sindhi. Minority over a vast geographical area between India and the Atlantic Ocean, then on the American continent, the literate elites of these populations have adopted as their sole endonym the term Roma, meaning in the Romani language "accomplished man and married within the community ”. Two other denominations, the Sinti and the Kale, are sometimes considered as different groups from the Roma, sometimes as included among the latter. According to Ian Hancock, unlike the Kales and the Sintis, all from northern India, the Roma would more precisely come from the city of Cannouge (Uttar Pradesh), from where the armies of Mahmoud de Ghazni would have deported them in 1018 However that may be, they are present in Europe from the eleventh century, and in the twenty-first century, the Roma of all countries together form, according to a study carried out in 1994 for the Council of Europe, the minority "la more important in numerical terms ”.


Rom term

The term “Roma” was adopted by the International Romani Union (IRU) at the first International Roma Congress (London, 1971) which claimed the legitimate right of this people to be recognized as such, and formalized the denomination "Rom". Since that date, many Roma have designated themselves or are designated by the names Roma (masculine), Romni (feminine), roma (masculine plural) and romnia (feminine plural) which, according to Bordigoni, mean "married men and women and parents belonging to 'a group of travelers, Gypsies or Gypsies', as opposed to gadjo (masculine), gadji (feminine) and gadjé (plural masculine), which designate all individuals foreign to the Roma population, the 'others'. The Gypsies of the Iberian Peninsula say payo (masculine), paya (feminine), payos (masculine plural) instead of gadjo, gadgi and gadjé, which the Gypsies of France also designate with the words peasant and peasant. In addition, journalists from The Economist received a brochure in the “Roma” pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale, which excluded from this term “the Sinti, the Romungrés, the Gypsies, the Manouches, etc. [insufficient source]. When they are understood in their narrow sense as mutually exclusive subgroups, these different terms pose etymological problems, because we cannot indisputably prove their affiliation in relation to “Sind”, to “Egyptians”. »And« Manouches ». This notion of Roma in the most restricted sense is also that used by the Larousse website. One hypothesis proposes that the word Rom would derive from the name of the God Rāma (name of an Avatār of Vishnu). An etymology going back to the Sanskrit word Dom, the meaning of which itself poses a problem and which designates a low-caste population in India, has also been proposed by Ian Hancock, but he refutes it himself on the grounds of "genetic distance" between Roma and various groups of Indian populations. The Roma are referred to in France by other traditional or familiar names, depending on the country from which they are supposed to come: “Bohemians”, originating from the regions of Bohemia; “Gypsies”, originating in Egypt, a very old traditional name in France; "Manouches"; "Romanichels", origi

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