Aspects of the Early History of Romani

  • Claus Peter Zoller


We owe to Ralph Lilley Turner the correct classification of Romani as originating from a central or inner form of Indo-Aryan. Turner also clarified that the “Dardic” elements in Romani have been borrowed into early Romani after its speakers had left their original home and reached the north-west of South Asia where they stayed for several hundred years before finally leaving the subcontinent. Until now, the extent of the “Dardic” influence on early Romani was poorly understood. In the present article much data has been put together which shows that this impact indeed is considerable. But it is intelligible only if we accept Turner’s hypothesis of a long stopover in north-western South Asia. The data presented below will also show that the notion of “Dardic” is too narrow in this context: the impact on early Romani, in fact, comprises linguistic elements and features found in Nuristani, Dardic and West Pahāṛī.