Badaga language

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படுக (ಬಡಗ)
Native toIndia
RegionThe Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
Tamil script
Language codes
ISO 639-3bfq
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Badaga is a southern Dravidian language spoken by the Badaga people of the Nilgiris district of Northwest Tamil Nadu. The language is closely related to Kannada.[1]


Badaga has five vowels qualities, /i e a o u/, each of which may be long or short and until the 1930s were contrastively half and fully retroflexed, for a total of 30 vowel phonemes.[2] Current speakers only distinguish retroflection for a few vowels.[3]

Example words[4]
IPA Gloss
/noː/ disease
/po˞˞ː/ scar
/mo˞e˞/ sprout
/a˞e˞/ tiger's den
/ha˞ːsu/ to spread out
/ka˞˞ːʃu/ to remove
/i˞ːu˞˞/ seven
/hu˞˞ːj/ tamarind
/be˞ː/ bangle
/be˞˞ː/ banana
/huj/ to strike
/hu˞j/ tamarind
/u˞˞j/ chisel

Note on transcription: rhoticity ⟨◌˞⟩ indicates half-retroflexion; doubled ⟨◌˞˞⟩ it indicates full retroflexion.

Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɳ
Stop voiceless p t ʈ c k
voiced b d ɖ ɟ g
Fricative v s
Approximant l ɻ j
Trill r

Writing system[edit]

Several attempts were made at constructing an orthography based on English, Kannada and Tamil. The earliest printed book using Kannada script was a Christian work, "Anga Kartagibba Yesu Kristana Olleya Suddiya Pustaka" by Basel Mission Press of Mangaluru in 1890.[5]

Usage of vowels and consonants of Tamil-Kannada script to create Badaga script
Usage of Tamil-Kannada script to create Badaga script

The Badaga language is also written in the Tamil script.

List of Books in Kannada Script:[6]

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


The Badaga language is well studied and several Badaga-English Dictionaries have been produced since the latter part of the nineteenth century.[7]


  1. ^ Hockings, Paul (2004), "Badaga", in Ember, Carol R.; Ember, Melvin (eds.), Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World’s Cultures Volume I: Topics Volume II: Cultures, Boston, MA: Springer US, pp. 572–578, doi:10.1007/0-387-29905-x_57, ISBN 978-0-387-29905-1
  2. ^ Emenau (1931) reports no tokens of /i˞˞/, but suggests this is an accidental gap.
  3. ^ "Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Word List for Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Paul Hockings, Christiane Pilot-Raichoor (1992). A Badaga-English Dictionary (Reprint ed.). Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110126778. Retrieved 6 February 2013.

External links[edit]