Identification and Location. The Rom are a Gypsy group of wide distribution in Europe and the Americas. The Rom are scattered throughout Spain in small communities. By and large they make their living through metalworking, and small, relatively sedentary communities tend to be located in Industrial, urban, and resort centers. Some Rom who do metalworking or operate small circuses continue to engage in a more nomadic life-style. These mobile groups tend also to travel through Portugal, France, and Italy.
Demography. There are comparatively few Rom on the Iberian Peninsula. At any one time there are at most several hundred of them in Spain and Portugal.
Linguistic Affiliation. Gypsies generally speak Romany, which is classified by linguists as belonging to the Indo-Iranian division of the Indo-European Language Family. The varieties of Romany that the Rom speak are called the Vlach dialects. Vlach Romany has a conservative Indic basic vocabulary and grammar. It has eight or nine noun cases and a complex system of functional verbal suffixes. Although Vlach "common" or basic vocabulary items are of Indian origin, Vlach also contains numerous (1,000+) Romanian loanwords. The Spanish Rom also speak Spanish, and the Nomadic groups speak the languages of nearby European countries in addition to their own dialects.