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Most Romani speak one of several dialects of the Romani language,Romani language,[218] an Indo-Aryan language, with roots in Sanskrit. They also often speak the languages of the countries they live in. Typically, they also incorporate loanwords and calques into Romani from the languages of those countries and especially words for terms that the Romani language does not have. Most of the Ciganos of Portugal, the Gitanos of Spain, the Romanichal of the UK, and Scandinavian Travellers have lost their knowledge of pure Romani, and respectively speak the mixed languages Caló,[219] Angloromany, and Scandoromani. Most of the speaker communities in these regions consist of later immigrants from eastern or central Europe.[220]

There are no concrete statistics for the number of Romani speakers, both in Europe and globally. However, a conservative estimation has been made at 3.5 million speakers in Europe and a further 500,000 elsewhere,[220] although the actual number may be considerably higher. This mak

There are no concrete statistics for the number of Romani speakers, both in Europe and globally. However, a conservative estimation has been made at 3.5 million speakers in Europe and a further 500,000 elsewhere,[220] although the actual number may be considerably higher. This makes Romani the second largest minority language in Europe, behind Catalan.[220]

In relation to dialect diversity, Romani works in the same way as most other European languages.[221] Cross-dialect communication is dominated by the following features:

One of the most enduring persecutions against the Romani people was their enslavement. Slavery was widely practiced in medieval Europe, including the territory of present-day Romania from before the founding of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in the 13th–14th century.[222][page needed] Legislation decreed that all the Romani living in these states, as well as any others who immigrated there, were classified as slaves.[223] Slavery was gradually abolished during the 1840s and 1850s.[224][page needed]

The exact origins of slavery in the Danubian Principalities are not known. There is some debate over whether the Romani people came to Wallachia and Moldavia as free men or were brought as slaves. Historian Nicolae Iorga associated the Roma people's arrival with the 1241 Mongol invasion of Europe and considered their slavery as a vestige of that era, in which the Romanians took the Roma as slaves from the Mongols and preserved their status to use their labor. Other historians believe that the Romani were enslaved while captured during the battles with the Tatars. The practice of enslaving war prisoners may also have been adopted from the Mongols.[222][page needed]

Some Romani may have been slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, but most of them migrated from south of the Danube at the end of the 14th century, some time after the foundation of Wallachia. By then, the institution of slavery was already established in Moldavia and possibly in both principalities. After the Roma migrated into

The exact origins of slavery in the Danubian Principalities are not known. There is some debate over whether the Romani people came to Wallachia and Moldavia as free men or were brought as slaves. Historian Nicolae Iorga associated the Roma people's arrival with the 1241 Mongol invasion of Europe and considered their slavery as a vestige of that era, in which the Romanians took the Roma as slaves from the Mongols and preserved their status to use their labor. Other historians believe that the Romani were enslaved while captured during the battles with the Tatars. The practice of enslaving war prisoners may also have been adopted from the Mongols.[222][page needed]

Some Romani may have been slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, but most of them migrated from south of the Danube at the end of the 14th century, some time after the foundation of Wallachia. By then, the institution of slavery was already established in Moldavia and possibly in both principalities. After the Roma migrated into the area, slavery became a widespread practice by the majority population. The Tatar slaves, smaller in numbers, were eventually merged into the Roma population.[225]

Some branches of the Romani people reached Western Europe in the 15th century, fleeing as refugees from the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans.[226] Although the Romani were refugees from the conflicts in southeastern Europe, they were often suspected by certain populations in the West of being associated with the Ottoman invasion because their physical appearance seemed Turkish. (The Imperial Diet at Landau and Freiburg in 1496–1498 declared that the Romani were spies of the Turks). In Western Europe, such suspicions and discrimination against a people who were a visible minority resulted in persecution, often violent, with efforts to achieve ethnic cleansing until the modern era. In times of social tension, the Romani suffered as scapegoats; for instance, they were accused of bringing the plague during times of epidemics.[227]

On 30 July 1749, Spain conducted The Great Roundup of Romani (Gitanos) in its territory. The Spanish Crown ordered a nationwide raid that led to the break-up of families as all able-bodied men were interned into forced labor camps in an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The measure was eventually reversed and the Romanis were freed as protests began to arise in different communities, sedentary romanis being highly esteemed and protected in rural Spain.[228][229]

Later in the 19th century, Romani immigration was forbidden on a racial basis in areas outside Europe, mostly in the English-speaking world. Argentina in 1880 prohibited immigration by Roma, as did the United States in 1885.[227]

In the Habsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresa (1740–1780), a series of decrees tried to integrate the Romanies to permanently settle, removed rights to horse and wagon ownership (1754) in order to reduce citizen-mobility, renamed them as "New Citizens" and obliged Romani boys into military service as any other citizens if they had no trade (1761, and Revision 1770), registered with the local authorities (1767), and prohibited marriage between Romanies (1773) in order to integrate with the local population. Her successor Josef II prohibited the wearing of traditional Romani clothing and the use of the Romani language, punishable by flogging.[230]. During this time, the schools were obliged to register and integrate Romani children; this policy was the first one of modern policies of integration. In Spain, attempts to assimilate the Gitanos were under way as early as 1619, when Gitanos were forcibly settled, the use of the Romani language was prohibited, Gitano men and women were sent to separate workhouses and their children sent to orphanages. King Charles III took on a more progressive attitude to Gitano assimilation, proclaiming their equal rights as Spanish citizens and ending official denigration based on their race. While he prohibited the nomadic lifestyle, the use of the Calo language, Romani clothing, their trade in horses and other itinerant trades, he also forbade any form of discrimination against them or barring them from the guilds. The use of the word gitano was also forbidden to further assimilation, substituted for "New Castilian", which was also applied to former Jews and Muslims.[231][232]

Most historians agree that Charles III pragmática failed for three main reasons, ultimately derived from its implementation outside major cities and in marginal areas: The difficulty the Gitano community faced in changing its nomadic lifestyle, the marginal lifestyle in which the community had been driven by society and the serious difficulties of applying the pragmática in the fields of education and work. One author ascribes its failure to the overall rejection by the wider population of the integration of the Gitanos.[230][233]

Other examples of forced assimilation include Norway, where a law was passed in 1896 permitting the state to remove children from their parents and place them in state institutions.[234] This resulted in some 1,500 Romani children being taken from their parents in the 20th century.[235]

Porajmos (Holocaust)Most historians agree that Charles III pragmática failed for three main reasons, ultimately derived from its implementation outside major cities and in marginal areas: The difficulty the Gitano community faced in changing its nomadic lifestyle, the marginal lifestyle in which the community had been driven by society and the serious difficulties of applying the pragmática in the fields of education and work. One author ascribes its failure to the overall rejection by the wider population of the integration of the Gitanos.[230][233]

Other examples of forced assimilation include Norway, where a law was passed in 1896 permitting the state to remove children from their parents and place them in state institutions.[234] This resulted in some 1,500 Romani children being taken from their parents in the 20th century.[235]

The persecution of the Romanies reached a peak during World War II in the Porajmos genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany. In 1935, the Nuremberg laws stripped the Romani people living in Nazi Germany of their citizenship, after which they were subjected to violence, imprisonment in concentration camps and later genocide in extermination camps. The policy was extended in areas occupied by the Nazis during the war, and it was also applied by their allies, notably the Independent State of Croatia, Romania, and Hungary.

Because no accurate pre-war census figures exist for the Romanis, it is impossible to accurately assess the actual number of victims. Most estimates for numbers of Romani victims of the Holocaust fall between 200,000 and 500,000, although figures ranging between 90,000 and 1.5 million have been proposed. Lower estimates do not include those killed in all Axis-controlled countries. A detailed study by Sybil Milton, formerly senior historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum gave a figure of at least a minimum of 220,000, possibly closer to 500,000.[236] Ian Hancock, Director of the Program of Romani Studies and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the University of Texas at Austin, argues in favour of a higher figure of between 500,000 and 1,500,000.[237]

In Central Europe, the extermination in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was so thorough that the Bohemian Romani language became extinct.