Studying Romani in Manchester

Postgraduate Studies of Romani Linguistics in Manchester

Romani Linguistics (LI 7191) is available as an introductory lecture to students with no background in the subject, or as a directed reading course, for students who have already taken either an undergraduate or postgraduate introductory lecture.


(Directed reading in) Romani Linguistics: LI7191
Prof Yaron Matras

Credits: 15
Semester: 1 OR 2


For students with no background in Romani, this course unit gives an overview of current issues in the study of the Romani (or "Gypsy") language and its many dialects. It combines methodologies in historical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, language typology, language contact, dialectology, and sociolinguistics.

Students with some background in Romani (e.g. students who have taken the UG `Introduction to Romani linguistics') may take this course unit and specialise in a particular field of Romani-related research.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit, students will have gained basic familiarity with the structures of Romani, familiarity with current trends and discussions in Romani linguistics, and an opportunity to implement methodology in the aforementioned areas. Students with prior familiarity with Romani will have conducted more specialised research into a topic of thir choice.


Coursework can focus on either general, or selected, and thematically more specific reading on any of the following topics or topic combinations: the Indic origins of Romani, dialect diversity, phonology, selected issues in morphology and syntax, syntactic typology and the impact of language contact, grammatical borrowing, present-day bilingualism and codeswitching, status and codification efforts, and the impact of Romani on secret jargons and mixed languages.

Key skills

Planning and executing a project in a group or individually, setting goals and targets, independent research, using feedback to improve performance, selecting strategies and resources to complete a task, word processing skills, and use of internet resources are all central components of the course unit.

Teaching methods

As a Directed Reading course, the principal method of teaching is personal supervision (normally 4-5 fixed meetings during the semester, with additional consultation as required). Depending on the number of students taking the course, up to 3-4 group tutorials may be arranged. Lectures usually take place in Semester 1. As a directed reading course, students may choose this course unit in either Semester 1 or Semester 2.


Students will submit a written essay of approximately 3500-4000 words at the end of the semester. Students are particularly encouraged to carry out original research based on a set of data that can be provided by the Romani project, but other topics are also welcome, and topic suggestions will be made to students based on the students' own range of interests.

Selected reading

  • Matras, Yaron. 2002. Romani: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Elsík, V. & Matras, Y., eds. 2000. Grammatical relations in Romani: The noun phrase. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Schrammel, Barbara & Halwachs, Dieter W., eds. General and applied Romani linguistics. Munich: Lincom Europa.
  • Matras, Yaron, ed. 1998. The Romani element in non-standard speech. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

M.A. dissertations on any topic in Romani linguistics are welcome. Possible topics include

  • A grammatical sketch of a Romani variety, based on original material contained in the Romani project archive. Datasets can be selected for you which have not yet been analysed; you will be the first to work with this material, and if you do a good job, there is a possibility of publishing the results as a project working paper, or in one of the affiliated publications.
  • Do your own fieldwork on a variety of Romani. You don’t necessarily have to travel abroad – there are many Romani speakers in the Manchester area.
  • Apply a theoretical model or a topic that attracted you in another lecture, to Romani: e.g. typology, language ideology, grammatical change, language contact.


Contact Professor Yaron Matras by email