Badaga language

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Native to India
Region Tamil Nadu, The Nilgiris
Native speakers
140,000  (2001)[1]
400,000  (1998)[2]
Kannada script[3]
Kannada alphabet[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bfq
Glottolog bada1257[4]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Badaga (Badaga: ಬಡಗ ) is a southern Dravidian language (Old Kannada language branch) spoken by approximately 400,000 people in the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India.[2] It is known for its retroflex vowels. It has similarities with neighbouring Kannada language and it was earlier considered as a dialect of Kannada and now identified as an independent language.[5] The word Badaga refers to the Badaga language as well as the Badaga indigenous people that speak it.


Badaga has five vowels /i e a o u/, all of which can be contrastively half and fully retroflexed. Only the most conservative dialects have the complete set of contrasts (that is, contrasts of pharyngealized and retroflexed vowels[not in citation given]).[6]

Example words[7]
IPA Gloss
/noː/ disease
/pọː/ scar
/mo˞e˞/ sprout
/a˞e˞/ tiger's den
/ha˞ːsu/ to spread out
/kạːʃu/ to remove
/i˞ːụ/ seven
/hụːj/ tamarind
/be˞ː/ bangle
/bẹː/ banana
/huj/ to strike
/hu˞j/ tamarind
/ụj/ chisel

Note on transcriptions: rhoticity (e.g. [i˞], [e˞]) indicates half-retroflexion or pharyngealization; an underdot (e.g. [ị], [ẹ]) indicates full retroflexion.

Badaga script[edit]

Several attempts at constructing an orthography based on English and Kannada.


The Badaga language is well studied, mainly by missionaries, and several Badaga-English Dictionaries have been produced since the latter part of the nineteenth century.[8]


  1. ^ Badaga at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b Steever, Sanford B. (1998). The Dravidian languages. Taylor & Francis. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-415-10023-6. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Badaga". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  5. ^ Thiagarajan, Shantha (4 December 2012). "Badaga language not a dialect of Kannada, claims French linguistic scholar". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Word List for Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Paul Hockings, Christiane Pilot-Raichoor (Reprint 1992). Badaga-English Dictionary. Walter de Gruyter. Retrieved 6 February 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]