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 (Tamil: படகா, Kannada: ಬಡಗ ) is a southern Dravidian language (Old Kannada language branch) spoken by approximately 400,000 people in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu.[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 earliest printed book using Kannada script was "Anga Kartagibba Yesu Kristana Olleya Suddiya Pustaka" by Basel Mission Press of Mangaluru in 1890.[8]

List of Books in Kannada Script:[9]

  1. Anga Kartagibba Yesu Kristana Olleya Suddiya Pustaka
  2. Jonah
  3. Mana Kannadi
  4. Marka Bareda Loka ratchagana kade
  5. Zion

Attempt made for a badaga script [Badaga_script-_Vowels_and_Consonants_(jeeva_Swara_and_Dheha_Swara)]



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.[10]


  1. ^ Badaga at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  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. 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. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ 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]