For a history of Romani self-appellations

Leonardo Piasere


The article attempts to contribute to the history of the self-appellations of so-called “Gypsy” populations starting from the first European documents that recorded them. Continuing the studies carried out in previous decades by several linguists, it will particularly try to show how Kalé and Rom(a)ničel(a) autonyms were much more highly used in modern Europe than they are today and how their enormous diffusion contrasts with their now extremely modest use. The article will try to reconstruct their geographical diffusion and their relationships with other Romani self-appellations, of which it will also try to reconstruct the diffusion areas. In immersion, dispersion processes and the absence of legitimacy which historically characterizes populations known as “Gypsies” in Europe, the game of primary and secondary self-appellations is fundamental in reporting on identity dissolutions, resistances, innovations and self-constructions.


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