Badaga – is a separate language by itself
I have been steadfastly claiming that Badaga is an unique language by itself and not a derivative of any other Dravidian Language – I WILL WRITE MORE ON THE FOLLOWING SOON – Wg Cdr JP
UDHAGAMANDALAM: “The Badaga language, widely believed to be a dialect of Kannada, was the language of communication of ancient South Dravidians and shares similarities with the local Alu Kurumba tongue,” said Christiane Pilot-Raichoor, a linguistic French scholar from LACITO, a scientific research centre in Paris. She was in town recently to do some research work.
“Today, it is recognized as a separate language,” said Pilot-Raichoor, who has been working on the linguistic heritage of the Badaga language for the past two decades. According to her, there are too many important differences in the phonology and the grammar, differences in gender system, case system, verb classes, to claim a genetic relationship between Kannada and Badaga languages.
“Once our minds are freed from the idea that Badaga is a dialect of Kannada, it may become possible to consider more objectively the Alu Kurumba-Badaga linguistic relationship,” she said. Alu Kurumba shares most of the characteristic Nilgiri features including verb peculiarities of Badaga language. “Whatever resemblance it has to Kannada points to early medieval and older forms of the language. The core grammar in the Badaga language converges with other Nilgiris languages which can be traced to early south Dravidian features,” she explained.
According to her research paper published recently in the Encyclopedia of Nilgiris, edited by international anthropologist Paul Hockings, a professor in the United States, there are evident, but isolated and non-systematic coincidences between Badaga and Alu Kurumba.
Hence, the four traditional communities of the Nilgiris, Todas, Kotas, Alu Kurumbas and Badagas retain their morphology and categorical distinctions, some very archaic features, which give them an overall grammatical homogeneity, according to her. It is evident from her research that the Badaga community was created in the Nilgiris with small local groups in ancient times. LACITO in Paris houses numerous varieties of Badaga stories and songs collected over the past two decades by Pilot-Raichoor.
Rev P K Mulley, a clergyman of CSI in Kotagiri, and a freelance investigator of the Nilgiris for more than three decades, said that even before Pilot-Raichoor could arrive at it, he always knew that the Badaga community evolved from the Nilgiris. The retroflex sounds of the Badaga language are unique, he said. This uniqueness has been authenticated in the book ‘Sounds of the World’s Languages,’ published in 1996. Mulley also stresses for ‘palato-graphic’ investigation and audio recording of the sounds of the language.