The Social and Linguistic Identification of the Sinto Gypsies in Written Sources and Community Practices

The Sinti are a minority of the Gypsy population in Hungary, but their cultural, linguistic and social characteristics make them a well-identifiable group among other Romani-speaking Gypsy groups, different from the majority. In the first part of this paper, we present the sources dealing with the Sinti from a scientific-historical perspective, mainly from a linguistic point of view, from the 16th century to the present day, describing the different names of the Sinti and the historical and etymological dilemmas related to them. Then, drawing on our fieldwork data, we analyse the external and internal ethnonyms, surnames and related strategies that are important tools for the social and linguistic (self-)identification of the Hungarian Sinti.