Great Andamanese languages
Great Andamanese Ethnicity: Great Andamanese people Geographic
South Asia Linguistic classification: either Andamanese or an independent language family
- Great Andamanese
Ethnolinguistic map of the precolonial Andaman Islands. The languages with prefixes (which mean "language") are Great Andamanese.
From the 1860s onwards, the setting up of a permanent British penal colony and the subsequent arrival of immigrant settlers and indentured labourers, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, had a sustained destructive impact upon Great Andamanese society. By the turn of the 20th century the populations were greatly reduced in numbers, and the various linguistic and tribal divisions among the Great Andamanese effectively ceased to exist, despite a census of the time still classifying the groups as separate. Their linguistic diversity also suffered as the surviving populations intermingled, and some of them intermarried with Karen (Burmese) and Indian settlers.
By the latter part of the 20th century the majority of Great Andamanese languages had become extinct, as the multi-lingual knowledge of the older generations was not replaced in succeeding ones. At the start of the 21st century only about 50 or so individuals of Great Andamanese descent remained, resettled to a single small island (Strait I.); about half of these speak what may be considered a modified version (or creole) of Great Andamanese, based mainly on Aka-Jeru. This modified version has been called "Present Great Andamanese" by some scholars, but also may be referred to simply as "Jero" or "Great Andamanese". Hindi increasingly serves as their primary language, and is the only language for around half of them.
The Great Andamanese languages are agglutinative languages, with an extensive prefix and suffix system. Possibly their most distinctive characteristic is a noun class system based largely on body parts, in which every noun and adjective may take a prefix according to which body part it is associated with (on the basis of shape, or functional association). Thus, for instance, the *aka- at the beginning of the language names is a prefix for objects related to the tongue. An adjectival example can be given by the various forms of yop, "pliable, soft", in Aka-Bea:
- A cushion or sponge is ot-yop "round-soft", from the prefix attached to words relating to the head or heart.
- A cane is ôto-yop, "pliable", from a prefix for long things.
- A stick or pencil is aka-yop, "pointed", from the tongue prefix.
- A fallen tree is ar-yop, "rotten", from the prefix for limbs or upright things.
Similarly, beri-nga "good" yields:
- un-bēri-ŋa "clever" (hand-good).
- ig-bēri-ŋa "sharp-sighted" (eye-good).
- aka-bēri-ŋa "good at languages" (tongue-good.)
- ot-bēri-ŋa "virtuous" (head/heart-good)
The prefixes are,
Bea Balawa? Bajigyâs? Juwoi Kol head/heart ot- ôt- ote- ôto- ôto- hand/foot ong- ong- ong- ôn- ôn- mouth/tongue âkà- aka- o- ókô- o- torso (shoulder to shins) ab- ab- ab- a- o- eye/face/arm/breast i-, ig- id- ir- re- er- back/leg/butt ar- ar- ar- ra- a- waist ôto-
The basic pronouns are almost identical throughout the Great Andamanese languages; Aka-Bea will serve as a representative example (pronouns given in their basic prefixal forms):
I, my d- we, our m- thou, thy ŋ- you, your ŋ- he, his, she, her, it, its a they, their l-
'This' and 'that' are distinguished as k- and t-.
The languages and their classification
The Andaman languages fall into two clear families, Great Andamanese and Ongan, plus one unattested language, Sentinelese. These are generally seen as related. However, the similarities between Great Andamanese and Ongan are so far mainly of a typological morphological nature, with little demonstrated common vocabulary. As a result, even long-range researchers such as Joseph Greenberg have expressed doubts as to the validity of Andamanese as a family, and Abbi (2008) considers the surviving Great Andamanese language to be an isolate. The Great Andaman languages are:
- Great Andamanese (spoken by Great Andamanese peoples)
Joseph Greenberg proposed that Great Andamanese is related to western Papuan languages as members of a larger phylum he called Indo-Pacific, but this is not generally accepted by other linguists. Stephen Wurm states that the lexical similarities between Great Andamanese and the West Papuan and certain languages of Timor "are quite striking and amount to virtual formal identity […] in a number of instances", but considers this to be due to a linguistic substratum rather than a direct relationship.
- ngô:do kûk l'àrtâ:lagî:ka,
- mō:ro el:ma kâ igbâ:dàla
- mō:ro el:mo lê aden:yarà
- pō:-tōt läh.
- Chorus: aden:yarà pō:-tōt läh.
- thou heart-sad art,
- sky-surface to there looking while,
- sky-surface of ripple to looking while,
- bamboo spear on lean-dost.
- Thou art sad at heart,
- gazing there at the sky's surface,
- gazing at the ripple on the sky's surface,
- leaning on the bamboo spear.
- Kuro-t'on-mik-a Mom Mirit-la, Bilik l'ôkô-ema-t, peakar at-lo top-chike at laiche Lech-lin a, kotik a ôko-kodak-chine at-lo Karat-tatak-emi-in.
- "Kuro-t'on-mik-in Mr. Pigeon, God ?-slep-t, wood fire-with stealing-was fire the.late Lech-to he, then he ?-fire-make-did fire-with Karat-tatak-emi-at."
Translated (by Portman):
- Mr. Pigeon stole a firebrand at Kuro-t'on-mika, while God was sleeping. He gave the brand to the late Lech, who then made fires at Karat-tatak-emi.
- ^ Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1922). The Andaman Islanders: A study in social anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- ^ a b Abbi, Anvita (2008). “Is Great Andamanese genealogically and typologically distinct from Onge and Jarawa?” Language Sciences, doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2008.02.002
- ^ a b Abbi, Anvita (2006). Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands. Germany: Lincom GmbH.
- ^ a b c Burenhult, Niclas (1996). "Deep linguistic prehistory with particular reference to Andamanese." Working Papers 45, 5-24. Lund University: Department of Linguistics
- ^ Abbi, Anvita, Bidisha Som and Alok Das. 2007. “Where Have All The Speakers Gone? A Sociolinguistic Study of the Great Andamanese.” Indian Linguistics, 68.3-4: 325-343.
- ^ a b c d Temple, Richard C. (1902). A Grammar of the Andamanese Languages, being Chapter IV of Part I of the Census Report on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Superintendent's Printing Press: Port Blair.
- ^ a b Greenberg, Joseph (1971). "The Indo-Pacific hypothesis." Current trends in linguistics vol. 8, ed. by Thomas A. Sebeok, 807.71. The Hague: Mouton.
- ^ Manoharan, S. (1983). "Subgrouping Andamanese group of languages." International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics XII(1): 82-95.
- ^ Wurm, S.A. (1977). New Guinea Area Languages and Language Study, Volume 1: Papuan Languages and the New Guinea Linguistic Scene. Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.
- ^ Man, E.H. (1923). Dictionary of the South Andaman Language. British India Press: Bombay
- Yadav, Yogendra. 1985. "Great Andamanese: a preliminary study." Pacific Linguistics, Series A, No. 67: 185-214. Canberra: The Australian National University.
- The LINGUIST List MultiTree Project: Great Andamanese Family Trees
- Jero in IPA transcription
- Burenhult's Paper on Andamanese
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Andamanese languages — Infobox Language family name = Andamanese region = South Asia family = Andamanese familycolor = Andamanese child1 = Great Andamanese child2 = Ongan child3 = ? Sentinel (unattested) Ethnolinguistic map of the precolonial Andaman Islands The… … Wikipedia
Great Andamanese — is a collective term used to refer to related groups or tribes of indigenous peoples who lived throughout most of the Great Andaman archipelago, the main and closely situated group of islands in the Andaman Islands. Their collective identity is… … Wikipedia
Languages of India — Indian languages redirects here. For languages of Americans, see Indigenous languages of the Americas. Languages of India Official language(s) Standard Hindi written in the Devanāgarī script (the Indian Constitution recognises English as a… … Wikipedia
Andamanese — The Andamanese is a collective term to describe the peoples who are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal. The term includes the Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese and the extinct Jangil.… … Wikipedia
Languages with official status in India — The official language of the Indian Union is Hindi with English as an additional language for official work; states in India can legislate their own official languages. Neither the Constitution of India, nor any Indian law defines any… … Wikipedia
Languages of Sri Lanka — Several languages are spoken in Sri Lanka within the Indo Aryan, Dravidian and Austronesian families. Sri Lanka accords official status to Sinhala and Tamil. The languages spoken on the island nation are deeply influenced by the languages of… … Wikipedia
Andamanese — An•da•man•ese [[t]ˌæn də məˈniz, ˈnis[/t]] n. pl. ese, adj. 1) peo a) a member of a physically distinctive people that comprise the indigenous population of the Andaman Islands b) a member of what was formerly the largest subdivision of this… … From formal English to slang
Papuan languages — The distribution of the Papuan languages, in red. Tan is Austronesian, and grey the historical range of Australian. The Papuan languages are those languages of the western Pacific which are neither Austronesian nor Australian. The term does not… … Wikipedia
Indo-Pacific languages — The Indo Pacific language family proposed by Joseph Greenberg in 1971 consists of the non Austronesian languages of New Guinea and neighboring islands, the languages of Tasmania, and the languages of the Andaman Islands. upportThe proposal was… … Wikipedia
Ongan languages — Ongan South Andamanese Geographic distribution: Andaman Islands Linguistic classification: possibly an independent language family, Andamanese, or Austronesian … Wikipedia