No. LIV (2023)

The Romani Language in the Linguistic Landscape of Serbia. A (non)visible Minority Language

Svetlana Ćirković
Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 30.12.2023


  • linguistic landscape,
  • Romani language,
  • official language use,
  • public space,
  • tombstones,
  • Serbia
  • ...More

How to Cite

Ćirković, S. (2023). The Romani Language in the Linguistic Landscape of Serbia. A (non)visible Minority Language. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (LIV), 21–63.


According to the Serbian Constitution, aligned laws, and international conventions, the Romani language, along with other minority languages in Serbia, is guaranteed minority linguistic rights. However, Romani continues to be stigmatized and marginalized, resulting in its infrequent public usage and a decreasing intergenerational transmission of the language. The objective of this study is to emphasize the significance of Romani in the public sphere of Serbia. By examining the use of this language in public spaces, it is possible to ascertain its status, usage, and simultaneously identify its vitality or vulnerability. Based on a search by domain of the use of the Romani language, the paper comments on the use of the Romani language at the top-down level – the level of usage guaranteed by institutions and public and local policies, the advantages and disadvantages of its use, and the violation of language rights. In addition, the analysis also includes the bottom-up level of the usage of Romani, which is based on field research and the documentation of the use of the written Romani on sacred monuments and tombstones, initiated by individuals and/or locally organised groups, which indicate its symbolic function within the public space.


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