“The Speech Sounds of Badugu” – Anandhan Raju

Some time earlier, we had the pleasure of informing about the ‘Badaga or Badugu’ Script developed by Anandhan Raju. I am absolutely convinced that for any language to ‘survive’, it should have its own script [it could be a newly developed one like what Anand has done or an adapted one]. Seeing the disturbing trend of many Badagas freely indulging in conversing in Tamil or English among themselves, it comes as a wisp of fresh air to realise that Anandhan has put his ‘ heart and soul’ to maintain the purity of a wonderful and unique language like our mother tongue “BADAGA”.

Hence it gives me great pleasure to publish  Anandhan Raju‘s

‘The Speech sounds of Badugu ‘- an article on the phonology of Badugu

[This article expounds my views on the Badugu language and also underpins my argument that Badugu should have a separate writing system – Anandhan].

 Badugu is the language spoken by a member of a people of the Dravidian stock  called Baduga  inhabiting the Nilgiri Hills. Most of the languages of the Dravidian families have much resemblance to one another. All are descendants of a single ancestral language now lost.

There are no written records to tell us what the original Dravidian language was like and the original home of the Dravidians and the date of dispersal of the original Dravidian stock. But one thing is certain that the original Dravidian language was broken up into various dialects which underwent separate linguistic development.

Badugu resembles Kannada in certain correspondences, jointly in sound and meaning. Badugu shares such systems not only with Kannada but also with other Dravidian languages too.

The words such as oHzdf /oHDu/ (n. one) and n\kf /na:ku/

(n. four) illustrate and establish the kinship of the Dravidian languages.

Badugu                        Kannada                      Tamil

oHDu                                   oHDu                          onRu

na:ku                                   na:lku                          na:ngu

Examination of long lists of such comparisons shows that, despite differences of detail, original Dravidian sounds changed predictably and consistently in each of the languages.

Badugu is no doubt a cultured language with a wealth of spoken literature and not written, for it was a language hitherto without a writing system but is no longer one.

A study of the speech sounds of Badugu is made herein.


The vocalic speech sounds are reckoned at 10 which are phonemic in status.

The classification of the vowels is as follows:

  •           Short Vowels………………………………          5
  •           Long Vowels………………………………           5
  •           *Retracted Short Vowel……………              1

*The point of articulation of this vowel is the same as that of the short vowel e /e/ except for retraction of the tongue. Though the vowel is an allophone, it may be written as eX /eX/. For example, the /e/ at the beginning of etztf /ettu/ (n. eight) is different from the /eX/ at the end of aeX /aeX/ (n. cave).

Update : 

The following is a public link that I would like to share with everyone who would care to read my manual entitled “Keying In The Badugu Alphabet”.

Read the complete article here  THE SPEECH SOUNDS OF BADUGU



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