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Proto-Dravidian language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Proto-Dravidian language
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Proto-Dravidian is the
proto-language of the
Dravidian languages. It is
thought to have
differentiated into
Proto-North Dravidian,
Proto-Central Dravidian
and Proto-South Dravidian
around 500 BC, although
some linguists have argued
that the degree of
differentiation between the
sub-families points to an
earlier split.
As a proto-language, ProtoDravidian has been
reconstructed and is not
itself found in the historical
record. Due to a dearth of
comparative linguistic
research in Dravidian
studies, not many details as
to the grammar, epoch, or
location of Proto-Dravidian
are known.[1]



Proto-South-Central Dravidian












This tree diagram depicts the genealogy of the primary Dravidian languages spoken
in South India.

1 Reconstructed language
1.1 Historical phonology
2 Notes
3 See also
4 References
5 External links

Reconstructed language
Historical phonology
Vowels: Proto-Dravidian contrasted between five short and long vowels: *a, *, *i, *, *u, *, *e, *, *o, *.
The sequences *ai and *au are treated as *ay and *av (or *aw)[2]

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Proto-Dravidian language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Consonants: Proto-Dravidian is reconstructible with the following consonantal phonemes (Subrahmanyam

1983:p40, Zvelebil 1990, Krishnamurthi 2003):

Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal










* (*, *r)







The alveolar stop * in many daughter languages developed into an alveolar trill /r/. The stop sound is
retained in Kota and Toda (Subrahmanyam 1983). Malayalam still retains the original (alveolar) stop sound
in gemination. (ibid). In Old Tamil it took the enunciative vowel like the other stops. In other words, * (or
*) did not occur word-finally without the enunciative vowel (ibid).
Velar nasal * occurred only before *k in Proto-Dravidian (as in many of its daughter languages). Therefore
it is not considered a separate phoneme in Proto-Dravidian. However, it attained phonemic status in
languages like Malayalam, Gondi, Konda and Pengo due to the simplification of the original sequence *k to
*. (Subrahmanyam 1983)
The glottal fricative *h has been proposed by Bh. Krishnamurthi to account for the Old Tamil Aytam (ytam)
and other Dravidian comparative phonological phenomena (Krishnamurthi 2003).

1. ^ "Facts about Dravidian languages" ( The
Hindu (Chennai, India)., review of The Dravidian Languages by Bhadriraju Krishnamurti; Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge (South Asian edition), 2003.
2. ^ Baldi, Philip (1990). Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology. Walter de Gruyter. p. 342.
ISBN 3-11-011908-0.

See also

Krishnamurti, B., The Dravidian Languages, Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-77111-0
Subrahmanyam, P.S., Dravidian Comparative Phonology, Annamalai University, 1983.
Zvelebil, Kamil., Dravidian Linguistics: An Introduction", PILC (Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics
and Culture), 1990

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Proto-Dravidian language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

External links
T. Burrow (1984). Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, 2nd Edition (
/burrow/index.html). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-864326-5. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
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Categories: Dravidian languages Proto-languages Pre-Indo-Europeans

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