The tribal languages of Orissa are spoken languages with no script of their own. They fall into two board divisions, Mundari and Dravidian. The Mundari group has a northern branch, which Grierson called Kherwari after the traditional homeland of the Santals, Mundas, Birhors, Hos and other tribes. The southern Mundari branch includes Saora, Gadaba (Gutob), Remo, Pareng, Juang, etc. the chief Dravidian tribal languages are Kui, Kuvi, Gondi, Ollari, Kisan and Oraon. On account of the presence of some Mundari-like words in vocabularies of Khmer tribes of South-East Asia, Pater Schmidit, a Viennese scholar tried to trace Mundari origins to South-East Asia but modern linguists are inclined to the view that these languages have little to connect them with South-East Asia. Extra-Indian affiliations of Dravidian are also discounted by modern linguists. As regards the question whether Mundari or Dravidian was the first to appear on the scene of Orissa, opinion seems to be somewhat divided. Grierson thought that Dravidian pushed into the north from the south displacing Mundari. But taking all the evidence, racial and cultural and historical, into consideration, one would be inclined to the opposite view that the Dravidian speakers were the earlier pre-Aryan, pre-Mundari ethnic stock. The Gadabas found in the Koraput district and in the contiguous tracts of Andhra are the most southerly speaker of Mundari tongue. The Gadabas who call themselves Gutob are themselves split into two sections, one speaking the Mundari Gutob tongue and the other speaking Ollari, a Dravidian language closely allied to Parji, Koya, Kolami and Naiki, all the four together forming an important but little-known branch of the Dravidian language family with its 18 languages including Brahui spoken in Baluchistan......... more
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