Repertoire dynamics in a transnational cultural sphere


The activities of this research group focus on the repertoire dynamics of Romani speakers in the highly pluralistic settings of the cultural sphere of South-Eastern and Central Europe. The research covers a series of case studies on repertoire dynamics among Romani speakers with a focus on functionality, language transmission, and speakers’ attitudes towards their linguistic varieties. This involves language maintenance, shift, and loss among Romani communities and individual Roma under consideration of their respective social and spatial mobility. This approach targets not only the ‘indigenous’ Central dialects and the later arrived Vlax dialects of Romani as well as the other languages of the area, but also the multitude of Romani varieties of recent immigrants as well as the languages of their countries of origin. Special attention will be paid to migration, separation and contact as consequences of the radical political changes of the twentieth century. Emigration from the geographical area is treated as a secondary aspect in cooperation with the other sub-projects. Of particular interest is the question how rural and urban local settings in their interregional and historical contexts shape language repertoires and, consequently, individual and collective plural identities.

Coordinated by the Plurilingualism Research Unit at Graz University (Dr Zuzana Bodnarova), this group includes staff from the Seminar of Romani Studies at Charles University Prague (Dr Pavel Kubanik) and the Budapest-based Research Institute for Linguistics (Dr Marton Balo).


Dieter W. HALWACHS, sociolinguist at the University of Graz, is head of the Plurilingualism Research Unit at treffpunkt sprachen, the university’s language centre. The research unit is designed as a sociopolitical project based in sociolinguistics which aims for social cohesion, human rights and a politics of plurality. He works as an expert consultant and coordinator for the Council of Europe, the European Union, UNESCO and others and has coordinated various projects on minority languages and cultures, first of all Romani. His research interests include language politics, minority linguistics, endangered languages, language contact.


Zuzana BODNÁROVÁ, senior research assistant at the Plurilingual Research Unit of treffpunkt sprachen, the language centre of the University of Graz. She has participated in several Romani-related projects at the Charles University in Prague, the University of Helsinki and the University of Manchester that involved field research in Romani communities in various countries of Central Europe and the Balkans. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, language contact, dialectology, Romani linguistics with a focus on the Romani varieties in contact with Hungarian.

Márton A. BALÓ

Márton A. BALÓ, research fellow (Research Institute for Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Budapest, Hungary), senior lecturer (Theoretical Linguistics Department, Faculty of Humanities, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary). His current research interests include documentary linguistics, multilingualism in rural settings, the Sinti dialect in Hungary, and the role of the Romani language in the construction of Romani identity. In addition to these, he has worked on variation in Romani morphology and the phonology of Romani. He is also interested in the grammar of Hungarian and Yiddish.


Pavel KUBANÍK is Assistant Professor in Romani Studies at Charles University, Prague. He combines his interests in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology with extensive fieldwork, especially among Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. His research focuses on language socialization in Romani families, language maintenance, and shift.


Jakob A. P. WIEDNER, a linguist specialised in discourse analysis and sociolinguistics works at the Plurilingualism Research Unit at the language centre treffpunkt sprachen University of Graz as a post-doctoral assistant. His main objectives are the development and implementation of Romani-related linguistic projects and administration and development of IT solutions for research projects and the dissemination of research results. He is interested in researching language-related discourses in a wider societal context and language contact phenomena and implementing software solutions for processing human language.


Chiara TRIBULATO holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Padua where she defended her thesis on the identity dynamics of Sinti within the world of Italian funfairs. In 2019-2020, she worked as a researcher at the Plurilingualism Research Unit of treffpunkt sprachen, the language centre of the University of Graz. She conducted long-term fieldwork among Sicilian funfair workers and among Lombard Sinti in the regions of Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. Her research interests include Romani culture, Romani sociolinguistics and the identity construction of peripatetic communities.

This project is funded by