|Region||Andaman Islands; Straight Island.|
|Extinct||10 or fewer speakers found in 2006 (Abbi 2006). 8–10 of total population of 53 individuals on Strait Island. |
The Pucikwar language, A-Pucikwar, is an extinct language of the Andaman Islands, India, formerly spoken by the Pucikwar people on the south coast of Middle Andaman, the northeast coast of South Andaman, and on Baratang Island. It belonged to the Great Andamanese family.
As the colonisation and settlement process of the Andaman Islands intensified from the late 19th century and into the 20th century, the indigenous Great Andamanese groups were greatly reduced in number and became alienated from their traditional territories. The few surviving Great Andamanese soon lost the cultural and linguistic distinctions among them that were present at the onset of the 19th century, when at least ten distinct tribal and linguistic groups were recorded. As a language and as a distinct identity, A-Puckiwar and the other groups died out in the early 20th century.
The Great Andamanese languages are agglutinative languages, with an extensive prefix and suffix system. Possibly their most distinctive characteristic is a noun class system based largely on body parts, in which every noun and adjective may take a prefix according to which body part it is associated with (on the basis of shape, or functional association). Thus, for instance, the *aka- at the beginning of the language names is a prefix for objects related to the tongue. An adjectival example can be given by the various forms of yop, "pliable, soft", in Aka-Bea:
- A cushion or sponge is ot-yop "round-soft", from the prefix attached to words relating to the head or heart.
- A cane is ôto-yop, "pliable", from a prefix for long things.
- A stick or pencil is aka-yop, "pointed", from the tongue prefix.
- A fallen tree is ar-yop, "rotten", from the prefix for limbs or upright things.
Similarly, beri-nga "good" yields:
- un-bēri-ŋa "clever" (hand-good).
- ig-bēri-ŋa "sharp-sighted" (eye-good).
- aka-bēri-ŋa "good at languages" (tongue-good.)
- ot-bēri-ŋa "virtuous" (head/heart-good)
The prefixes are,
|torso (shoulder to shins)||ab-||ab-||ab-||a-||o-|
The basic pronouns are almost identical throughout the Great Andamanese languages; Aka-Bea will serve as a representative example (pronouns given in their basic prefixal forms):
|I, my||d-||we, our||m-|
|thou, thy||ŋ-||you, your||ŋ-|
|he, his, she, her, it, its||a||they, their||l-|
'This' and 'that' are distinguished as k- and t-.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "A-Pucikwar". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Temple, Richard C. (1902). A Grammar of the Andamanese Languages, being Chapter IV of Part I of the Census Report on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Superintendent's Printing Press: Port Blair.
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