What Are Dravidian Languages?

Sign at entrance to Nanjangud city showing the name in Hindi, Kannada, and English. Editorial credit: Claudine Van Massenhove / Shutterstock.com
Sign at entrance to Nanjangud city showing the name in Hindi, Kannada, and English. Editorial credit: Claudine Van Massenhove / Shutterstock.com

The broad recognition of the family of the Dravidian language is behind the fact that it is among the biggest language families across the globe. Most of the linguists have the belief concerning the family being entirely different from the rest of the language families. It consists of seventy-three languages with the population speaking it exceeding 222 million within southern India, certain Pakistan areas, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Emigration and commerce are the factors influencing the spread of the Dravidian languages, in particular Tamil, to Indonesia, Fiji, Mauritius, Martinique, Burma, Trinidad, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Guyana. Brahui refers to the language with speakers within Pakistan exceeding two million.


The family initially gained recognition as independent in the year 1816. Robert A. Caldwell refers to the individual behind the introduction of the word Dravidian. He utilized it during his Dravidian Comparative Grammar. Even though Dravidian the concentration of the Dravidian languages is around the southern subcontinent of India, the Indo-Aryan ones are broadly spoken in the north. The introduction of the later has its roots behind the Aryan traders emerging from north. Consequently, they threw the initial Dravidian languages into Southern India.


Indian languages are categorized into official and regional. The former add up to twenty-two while latter add up to fourteen. They include Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam. They are not only utilized in administration, media, and business but also education. The four are characterized by the richness of the written texts. The four have not only accommodated the social, technical, and political changes, but also the economic changes which occurred in India in the course of the twentieth century.


The evolution of the Dravidian languages happens in relation to different dimensions. They include the geographic, religious, caste-based, diglossic then the formal verses the informal. The geographic entails ten regional varieties that are distinct. In the religious dimension, there exist some differences in the speech of Muslims, Christians, and Hindus within the same geographic coverage. In consideration of the speech from the educated elites, it possesses a higher code-switching extent between English and their indigenous language. The application of the informal style happens in day to day spoken communication while the formal often applies in most of the writings, public speaking, and TV programs, and radio shows.


Even though certain differences exist, the Dravidian languages have certain common features in relation to their sound systems. Most of these languages are in possession of more than five vowels which be short or long. The vowel length is what distinguishes the implication of the words despite their similarity. The stress of the languages is often on the initial syllable.


Agglutination is a feature that the entire Dravidian languages possess. The integration of suffixes into stems is what indicates their grammatical relations. It is similar to the rest of the agglutinative languages since they make use of postpositions instead of prepositions in marking grammatical relations.


Their writing entails the use of the syllabic alphabets characterized by the entire consonants having some inherent vowel. Whenever some consonants happen at the same time, the special symbols that are conjunct are utilized as they integrate the sections of every letter.


More in World Facts