JoLIE 1/2008


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Andrea Boscoboinik

University of Fribourg, Switzerland






This paper analyses the case of Roma communities in some East and Central European countries concerning language standardization. While the different Roma groups speak different Romani dialects, Roma elite members and activists consider a standardized language as a key issue in defending and supporting the cohesion of a Roma united ethnic group. The already ancient equation one people = one language is updated to support their aspiration of being recognized as a nation without territory.


Key words: Roma communities; Standardized language; Ethnicity; Nationalist theories.





Boscoboinik, A., & Giordano, Chr. (2008 forthcoming). Roles, statuses, positions, social categories and multiple identities of Roma in Romania. Ethnobarometer Paper Series.


Boscoboinik, A. (2006a). Becoming Rom: Ethnic development among Roma communities in Bulgaria and Macedonia. In L. Romanucci-Ross, G. de Vos, & T. Tsuda (Eds.), Ethnic identity. Problems and prospects for the twenty-first century. (4th ed., pp. 295-310). Lanham, New York, Toronto, Oxford: Altamira Press.


Boscoboinik, A. (2006b). Ethnicization process among the Roma communities in Bulgaria. In F. Ruegg, R. Poledna, & C. Rus (Eds.), Interculturalism and Discrimination in Romania. Policies, practices, identities and representations (pp. 95-103). Münster: Lit Verlag.


Fosztó, L. (2003). Diaspora and nationalism: An anthropological approach to the international Romani movement. Regio. Minorities, Politics, Society, 9(1), 102-120.


Giordano, Chr. (2008a forthcoming). Sprache und Nation. Überlegungen aus sozialanthropologischer Sicht. In K. Maier (Ed.), Nation und Sprache in Nordosteuropa im 19. Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.


Giordano, Chr. (2008b forthcoming). La chimère de l’ethnogenèse ou le mirage d’une solution ethnique aux problèmes socio-économiques des populations rom. Transitions, XLVIII(2), 157-166.


Liégeois, J-P. (2007). Roma in Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.


Neculau, A., Curelaru, M., Zaharia, D., & Tarnovschi, D. (2008 forthcoming). Elites rom dans les anciens pays communistes. Le cas de la Roumanie. Transitions, XLVIII(2), 71-92.


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How to cite this article: Boscoboinik, A. (2008). Standardized language as a way to support a common identity: the case of Roma communities. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 1, 7-14. DOI:



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