List of Dravidian languages
National languages of India are in boldface:
- Brahui (the only Dravidian language spoken in Pakistan; in the Balochistan province)
- Kumarbhag Paharia - (India)
- Kurux language (India)
- Kurux language Nepali - (Nepal)
- Sauria Paharia (India)
- Dravidian languages are agglutinative.
- Dravidian languages exhibit the inclusive and exclusive we feature.
- The major word classes are nouns (substantives, numerals, pronouns), adjectives, verbs, and indeclinables (particles, enclitics, adverbs, interjections, onomatopoetic words, echo words).
- Proto-Dravidian used only suffixes, never prefixes or infixes, in the construction of inflected forms. Hence, the roots of words always occurred at the beginning. Nouns, verbs, and indeclinable words constituted the original word classes.
- There are two numbers and four different gender systems, the “original” probably having “male: non-male” in the singular and “person:non-person” in the plural.
- In a sentence, however complex, only one finite verb occurs, normally at the end, preceded if necessary by a number of gerunds.
- Word order follows certain basic rules but is relatively free.
- The main (and probably original) dichotomy in tense is past:non-past. Present tense developed later and independently in each language or subgroup.
- Verbs are intransitive, transitive, and causative; there are also active and passive forms.
- All of the positive verb forms have their corresponding negative counterparts, Negative Verbs.
Dravidian languages are noted for the lack of distinction between aspirated and unaspirated stops. While some Dravidian languages (especially Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu) have large numbers of loan words from Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, in which the orthography shows distinctions in voice and aspiration, the words are pronounced in Dravidian according to different rules of phonology and phonotactics: voicing is allophonic and aspiration of plosives is generally absent, regardless of the spelling of the word. This is not a universal phenomenon and is generally avoided in formal or careful speech, especially when reciting.
For instance, Tamil, like Finnish, Korean, Ainu, and most indigenous Australian languages, does not distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stops. In fact, the Tamil alphabet lacks symbols for voiced and aspirated stops.
Words starting with vowels
A substantial number of words also begin and end with vowels, which helps the languages' agglutinative property.
karanu (cry), elumbu (bone), adu (that), awade (there), idu (this), illai (no, absent)
adu-idil-illai (that-this-in-absent = that is absent in this)
The numbers from 1 to 10 in various Dravidian languages.
|5||aithu||ayidu||aidu||ainu||añcu||pancē (IE)||ayd(3)||panč (IE)||*cayN|
|6||ā<u>r<u>u||āaru<u>r<u>u||ā<u>r<u>u||āji||ā<u>r<u>u||soyyē (IE)||ār(3)||šaš (IE)||*ca<u>r<u>u|
|7||ē<u>zhu||ēduḍu||ēlu||ēlu||ēzhu||sattē (IE)||ēḍ(3)||haft (IE)||*eẓu|
|8||ettu||enimidi||eṇṭu||ēṇma||eṭṭu||aṭṭhē (IE)||enumadī (3)||hašt (IE)||*eṭṭu|
|9||on<u>patu||tommidi||ombattu||ormba||onbatu||naiṃyē (IE)||tomdī (3)||nōh (IE)||*toḷ|
|10||pathu||padi||hattu||pattu||pathu||dassē (IE)||padī (3)||dah (IE)||*pat(tu)|
- This is the same as another word meaning "one" in another sense in Tamil and Malayalam - the distinction is as between Spanish "un" and "uno".
- This is still found in compound words, and has taken on a meaning of "double" in Tamil and Malayalam. For example, irupatu (20, literally meaning "double-ten") or "iraṭṭi" ("double").
- Kolami numbers 5-10 are borrowed from Telugu
- Words indicated (IE) are borrowings from Indo-European languages.
Of the literary languages, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu have been relatively more influenced by the Indo-European Sanskrit and have borrowed the aspirated consonants. Sanskrit words and derivatives are common in Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. Tamil is the least influenced.
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