Encyclopedia > Dravidian languages

  Article Content

Dravidian languages

The Dravidian family of languages includes approximately 75 languages that are mainly spoken in southern India and Sri Lanka. Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, and they appear to be unrelated to languages of other known families. (A relationship with the ancient Mesopotamian language Elamite[?] has been suggested, and some versions of the Nostratic theory include Dravidian.)

The Dravidian language family was first described in 1816 by Francis Ellis[?], a British civil servant who recognized the relationship between the four literary languages as well as Tulu, Kodagu and Malto. In 1856 Robert Caldwell added several more languages, Kota, Toda, Gondi, Kui, Kurukh and Brahui. He then took the Sanskrit word dravida, supposedly meaning "Tamil", and used it to name the family. We may presume that proto-Dravidian was the language of all of India before ca.1500 B.C.

Prominent Dravidian languages include:

Among the Dravidian languages "Tamil" (pronounced as "Thamizh") has the richest and oldest literature (about 5000 years old), and it's still followed by all Tamils. Tamil is spoken by 75 million (approximately) people around the world. Phonetically, Dravidian languages are notably characterized by a three-way distinction between dental[?], alveolar, and retroflex[?] places of articulation.

External link

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

...     Contents 242 Centuries: 2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century Decades: 190s 200s 210s 220s 230s - 240s - 250s 260s 270s 280s 290s Years: 237 ...

This page was created in 34.2 ms