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Index / Languages /
Domari
Other names: Middle Eastern Romani; Tsigene; Gypsy; Luti; Mehtar; Nawari; Zott
Arabic:



Doms of Jerusalem, Israel
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Domari by country
Figures in 1000.
Egypt
250 0.4%
Iran
1,400 2.1%
Iraq
50 0.2%
Israel
2 <0.1%
Jordan
25 0.5%
Lebanon
12 0.3%
Libya
33 0.6%
Palestine
5 <0.1%
Sudan
35 0.1%
Syria
10 <0.1%
Turkey
30 <0.1%
TOTAL *)
1,850 0.4%

*) Calculated for the total population of North Africa and the Middle East, 490 million.

There are Dom groups, but very small, in other countries too: Saudi Arabia and Oman.


Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Doms in several Middle Eastern countries by around 1.7 million, or half of the total number of Doms. There are in addition, 220 Domari speakers in India.
Their actual number is hard to determine, like for Iran where estimates run from 80 to 1.4 million. For other countries, the number of Doms may be inaccurate because of insufficient statistic data available, or for political reasons, as many governments tone down the importance and size of minority communities.
Many Doms no longer speak Domari, but have adopted the language of the host society. In Egypt the Dom population is as high as 1.1 million of which slightly more than 20% use Domari as primary language. Of Syria's around 250 Doms, Domari speakers is as low as 10, and in Turkey only 30 speak Domari out of a total Dom population of 400.
Domari has no written form. Modern Domari is strongly influenced by Arabic and has also many loanwords from Persian. While Domari and Romani are related languages, they have had separate historical developments for more than 1,400 years now.




By Tore Kjeilen