|Region||Andaman Islands; Ritchie’s Archipelago, Havelock Island, Neill Island.|
The Pucikwar tribe disappeared as a distinct group sometime after 1931.
As the numbers of Great Andamanese progressively declined over the succeeding decades, the various Great Andamanese tribes either disappeared altogether or became amalgamated through intermarriage. By the 1901 census, the Pucikwar were reduced to 50, but distinctions between tribal groups and subgroups had become considerably blurred (and some intermarriage had also occurred with Indian and Karen (Burmese) settlers). By 1994, the 38 remaining Great Andamanese who could trace their ancestry and culture back to the original tribes belonged to only three of them (Jeru, Bo, and Cari).
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). "Akar-Bale". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Manoharan, S. (1983). "Subgrouping Andamanese group of languages." International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics XII(1): 82-95.
- George van Driem (2001), Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region : Containing an Introduction to the Symbiotic Theory of Language, BRILL, ISBN 90-04-12062-9,
... The Aka-Kol tribe of Middle Andaman went extinct by 1921. The Oko-Juwoi of Middle Andaman and the Aka-Bea of South Andaman and Rutland Island were extinct by 1931. The Akar-Bale of Ritchie's Archipelago, the Aka-Kede of Middle Andaman and the A-Pucikwar of South Andaman Island soon followed. By 1951, the census counted a total of only 23 Greater Andamanese and 10 Sentinelese. That means that just ten men, twelve women and one child remained of the Aka-Kora, Aka-Cari and Aka-Jeru tribes of Greater Andaman and only ten natives of North Sentinel Island ...
- A. N. Sharma (2003), Tribal Development in the Andaman Islands, page 75. Sarup & Sons, New Delhi.
- 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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