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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2006, 18:06 GMT
Web to preserve Romani heritage
A delegation of Romani gypsy families are to attend the launch of the latest phase of a project to increase awareness of their culture.

The families will be visiting a team at the University of Manchester which is launching a website on Monday as part of research into the Romani language.

The project will codify the language to agree on how words are spelt, which should make it easier to teach.

Web visitors can find different dialects on a map and listen to them.

Romani is the second most commonly spoken minority language in the European Union.

Oral tradition

Professor Yaron Matras, who is heading the project team at the university, said: "Romani doesn't really have a literary tradition and is primarily an oral language.

"The codification of this language will be of great benefit to this community, who have suffered discrimination and misunderstanding across Europe.

"For the first time, this information will give the Roma (Gypsies) an easy way to find out about where they came from."

"The work will be of interest to linguists, historians and ethnographers."

The team has also been involved with drafting Romani language policy for the Council of Europe.

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