For instance, while the main group of Roma in German-speaking countries refer to themselves as Sinti, their name for their original language is Romanes.
Subgroups have been described as, in part, a result of the Hindu caste system, which the founding population of Rom almost certainly experienced in their South Asian urheimat.
Sometimes a subgroup uses more than one endonym, is commonly known by an exonym or erroneously by the endonym of another subgroup.
The only name approaching an all-encompassing self-description is Rom.
This designation owes its existence to the belief, common in the Middle Ages, that the Romani, or some related group (such as the Middle Eastern Dom people), were itinerant Egyptians.
As described in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the medieval French referred to the Romanies as Egyptiens.
This exonym is sometimes written with capital letter, to show that it designates an ethnic group.The total number of Romani people is at least twice as large (several times as large according to high estimates).Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two; those varieties are sometimes called Para-Romani. It has the variants dom and lom, related with the Sanskrit words dam-pati (lord of the house, husband), dama (to subdue), lom (hair), lomaka (hairy), loman, roman (hairy), romaça (man with beard and long hair).Romani was initially spelled Rommany, then Romany, while today the Romani spelling is the most popular spelling.Occasionally, the double r spelling (e.g., Rroma, Rromani) mentioned above is also encountered in English texts.