Sora language

Infobox Language
speakers=288,000 (1997)
fam3=Koraput Munda

Sora (also Saora, Saonras, Shabari, Sabar, Saura, Savara, Sawaria, Swara, Sabara) is a Munda language of India, spoken by some 288,000 native speakers (1997) in South Orissa in eastern India, mainly in the Ganjam District, but also in the Koraput and Phulbani districts; other communities exist in Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam District), Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the Plains Division of Assam.

Although the Sora language is alternatively known as the Savara language, it is not the same as the Dravidian Savara language spoken in the same region, straddling the border between Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

It is written in the Latin alphabet and the Telugu script, and also in the Sorang Sompeng script devised for the language in 1936.

The Sora people are a dwindling jungle tribe with a distinctive shamanic culture. According to an article in Natural History, "a shaman, usually a woman, serves as an intermediary between the two worlds [of the living and the dead] . During a trance, her soul is said to climb down terrifying precipices to the underworld, leaving her body for the dead to use as their vehicle for communication. One by one the spirits speak through her mouth. Mourners crowd around the shaman, arguing vehemently with the dead, laughing at their jokes, or weeping at their accusations." []

Further reading

*Veṅkaṭarāmamūrti, G. (1986). "Sora-English dictionary". Delhi: Mittal Publication.

External links

* [ SIL ethnologue entry]

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