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Retroflex dental stops, on the other hand, are divided into three classes Groups 3—5. In subcontinental NIA, all three classes of historical retroflex stops continue as retroflexes, but tend to be, likewise, differentiated. Groups 3 and 4, which Turner lumped together for Romani, are similarly differentiated, both in Romani and Domari.

The picture conveyed in table 3. Gilliat-Smith Here, pharyngealisation might be interpreted as an attempt to compensate for the loss of the old retroflex feature by replacing it by a new distinctive quality, acquired through contact with Arabic. The loss of retroflex consonants in all three languages is likely to be a result of contact with languages that lack retroflex consonants, and so it is in itself of little significance to the reconstruction of linguistic origins.

Elsewhere, Romani dialects are highly diverse. The principal sound changes that distinguish Romani can be summarised as follows table 3. Vowel length is lost. Short vowels are on the whole retained, though a changes to e in positions preceding simple consonants and to o in inflectional endings.

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OIA kh bh dh gh tth t. New initial voiceless aspirates emerge through transfer of aspiration from medial positions in the word.

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Sonorants are continued. Most clusters are simplified, but those in dental or labial and r tr etc. Schmid Other nominal formation suffixes that derive from OIA word-formation patterns are confined to individual lexical items and are only marginally productive. Hindi bar. While most of this material is preserved in NIA as a whole, Romani also shows unique morphological conservativisms in its nominal and verbal inflection. In the nominal inflection, it preserves the consonantal endings of the oblique case markers m.

A consonantal form in -s for the m. Grierson 32 , forms in -n for the pl oblique are preserved in Dardic as well as in Kumauni, Sindhi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, and Sinhalese. Romani shares both features with Domari m.

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Preservation of this primary set of personal concord markers seems characteristic of NIA fringe languages; it is found to some degree in the Dardic languages to the north Grierson , and in Sinhalese to the south, while some conservative forms in -s for the 2sg and in -n or -t for the 3pl can be found in various languages Bengali, Oriya, Konkani, Marathi. Characteristic of the transition from late MIA to the early NIA period is the loss of the historical inflected past tense and the generalisation of the past participle, which then forms the basis for new past tenses.

This is connected to the 44 Historical and linguistic origins emergence of ergativity and the generalisation of oblique marking of transitive subjects. This structure has largely retreated outside the Balkan regions, and has been replaced by a person-inflection marker -a s , which is also the general 3sg past-tense termination with transitive verbs.

Given the participial base of all past-tense verbs, even those with person-inflected terminations, Proto-Romani may be assumed to have relied primarily on active participles for past-tense formation see chapter 6. Further evidence that links Proto-Romani with the emergence of the ergative construction of early NIA is the generalisation of the oblique 1sg pronoun me, cf. Compensating for the loss of the historical nominal case declension is the emergence of Layer ii case markers.

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These constitute a closed set of invariant, usually semantically abstract affixes that are attached indirectly to the nominal base, mediated through the remnants of the OIA case system, namely the oblique forms of Layer i cf. Masica Less straightforward etymologically are the locative suffix -te and the ablative suffix -tar. The renewal of the NIA case system also sees the emergence of a set of adpositions, or Layer iii case markers, derived from adverbial location expressions.

The first is the loss of gender agreement in the plural. Another is the synthetisation of Layer ii affixes. Both languages also develop external, agglutinative tense markers that follow personal concord affixes. The fact that many of these features are also found in Northwestern NIA and Dardic led early scholars of Romani to postulate its origin in northwestern India, or in the region known as the Hindu Kush Miklosich —80, iii:3, vi, ix:4, Pischel , 28, Grierson ; cf.

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Since Romani also participates in a series of morphological innovations that are characteristic of the NIA period as a whole, most notably the reduction of the case system, it has been viewed as having parted from India during the transition period to NIA, 46 Historical and linguistic origins which can only be dated rather vaguely to medieval times, perhaps between the eighth and tenth centuries ad see Miklosich —80, iii:3 The most reliable key to reconstructing sub-group affiliation within a language family is of course the presence of shared innovations that are typical of that particular sub-group.

Shared conservativisms, on the other hand, do not provide straightforward evidence: there may be various reasons why a language might remain conservative, and why related offshoots of an ancient parent language might preserve shared inherited traits in different geographical locations. Geographical isolation could be one of those reasons.

Social isolation might indeed be another, though it appears not to have been considered so far, despite ethnographic evidence linking the ancestral Rom population with the socially isolated peripatetic castes of Indian d. Emigration from India as early as the fourth century bc was suggested by Kaufman cited in Hancock and in Fraser b , but it is hardly reconcilable with the series of innovations that stem from the transitional period between MIA and NIA. A geographical origin of Proto-Romani in the northwest, on the other hand, does not account for the early innovations which it shares with the Central languages.

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The inventory of early innovations that are shared with the Central group is impressive. Moreover, they are found not just in Romani, but also in Domari and Lomavren. It is thus likely that all three languages originated in the Central group. These archaisms do not of course stand in the way of postulating an early origin in the Central group, since the languages will have left the region before some of the later phonological changes took place, and before the breakdown of the old morphology.

But they do indicate that all three languages became isolated from the Central group at a rather early stage. Turner assumed that separation had occurred by the fourth century bc, at which point the breakdown of the above clusters is already attested in Central MIA. Turner cites a number of lexical items that could have been borrowed from the Northwestern languages, though this lexical evidence remains marginal and largely inconclusive.

Romani: A Linguistic Introduction

But Hancock b , based on the paucity of loans of Iranian origin that are shared by all three languages, suggested that the three groups passed through Iranian territory independently. This can be taken to imply that the split into not just two, but into three branches must have already occurred in India. While the inventory of conservative features shared by the three languages seems to favour their separation from Central MIA at a rather early period, it is not imperative that this separation should have occurred in the form of a shared migration within India, leading to the northwest and ultimately out of India.

The three languages share few innovations that followed the separation from the Central group.

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  6. In the treatment of OIA internal dental stops and of MIA dental retroflex stops there are similarities, but also differences see above. The patterns of lexical correspondences between the languages present a contradictory picture. There is some evidence in favour of an ancient separation of Domari see the first group of words in table 3. Striking nonetheless are the grammatical similarities between Romani and Domari: the synthetisation of Layer ii affixes, the emergence of new concord markers for the past tense, the neutralisation of gender marking in the plural, and the use of the oblique case as an accusative.

    A morphological innovation that both Romani and Domari share with some Northwestern languages is the emergence of a new past-tense set of concord affixes, derived from pronominal affixes.

    Areal contacts and morphosyntactic convergence among related languages remain a necessary part of our scenario of historical reconstruction. In conclusion, one must at least allow for the possibility that the archaisms that the three languages display are tokens not of a shared geographical relocation, but rather of a collapse, at some point in time of the network of contacts with territorially based languages, and its replacement by a network of alternative contacts with groups sharing a similar socio-ethnic affiliation — in other words, of the formation of non-territorial languages.

    On the other hand the grammatical and morphological similarities could be the outcome of shared areal developments at a later stage. The linguistic affinity between Romani and Domari and, as far as documented, Lomavren might therefore be accounted for in terms of their shared ancient origin and subsequent similar social and geographical history, rather than as a token of continuous genetic ties in the form of a linguistic sub-branch within the Indo-Aryan languages.

    To those one might add a palatal position, which is an inherited feature of other NIA languages cf. Masica 94—5. The status of the palatal positions in Romani is somewhat problematic. Palatalisation as an articulatory attribute can on the other hand accompany consonants not just stops in various positions. It makes sense therefore to separate three groups: genuine palatal stops, palatalised consonants, and affricates. Genuine palatals are recent developments cf. Boretzky Boretzky a: Sonorants are often unstable and subject to substitution through other sonorants, or metathesis.

    Boretzky and Igla 22—3.

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    A palatalised articulation of the dental plosive component, in free variation with both affricates, is often characteristic of this transitional stage. Voice alternation is found in some grammatical endings. The causative affix -ker- has a voiced variant -ger- in the Vend group of the Southern Central dialects. For Welsh Romani, Sampson 21 mentions voice alteration in lexical items.

    Boretzky and lgla 45 suggest that the absence of a word-final devoicing of stops in Welsh Romani reflects the fact that the ancestors of the Welsh Roma passed through central Europe before devoicing had become widespread in the local contact languages. The latter is the weakest member of the set of aspirates.