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Language Documentation

Eravallan Documentation

A South Dravidian Tribal mother tongue Eravalla, has been discovered, newly by Prof. V. Gnanasundaram during 2012 (Gnanasundaram, 2012). Eravalla is spoken by one of the scheduled, forest tribes of Tamil Nadu who live in the Anaimalai hills, spread over Pollachi and Udumalpet taluks of Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts respectively, in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu they live in Karattupathi, udumalpet, Indraputunagar, Udumalpet, Vipparapathi, Pollachi, Cullipathi, Pollachi etc. Eravallan settlements in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are contiguous. In Kerala, they live in villages such as Vellimedu, Anaikkattimedu, Caralapathy, Elluparai, Cappakadu, Kannimari, etc. in Chitoor taluk of Palakkad district. It is stated that the Eravallan in Kerala are migrated from the neighbouring Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu (Saraswathi, 2002). As per 1981 census, the population of Eravallan in Tamil Nadu and Kerala is 2071. But, as per one survey conducted by Kerala Scheduled Tribe Development (, the population of Eravallan in Kerala (alone) is 4418. ‘Eravallan tribe is also called by other names such as: Iṟava¸, Iṟavuḷar, eṟavallar, eravāḷar, vilvēṭar and ampuvilluvēṭar. But as insiders, they call themselves as karivināḷu’ and call their language as karivināḷu paḷama ‘Karivinalu language’.
Unique aspects of Eravalla
  • Grammatical: Absence of gender, but, presence of number in human and person distinction in finite verbs are found. That is, gender distinction is totally absent in the finite verbs. Pro-nominal termination markers denote person and number only.
  • Ethno linguistic: Use of figurative language in the conversation, between the parents of the boy and the parents of the girl, on the occasion to seek a girl-bride for the boy-bridegroom. Translation of the Eravalla discourse is as follows.
Parents of the boy: We understand that a flower has been blossomed in your house. We have come over here to pluck the flower and take with us.
Parents of the girl: True. In fact, that flower does not belong to us anymore. You may pay the price, pluck and take away the flower.
Parents of the boy: If, so please tell the price.
  • Folk lore: A kind of diglossic aspect is found regarding Eravallan folklore. Eravallan tribe is bilingual in Eravalla MT and the contact language Tamil. Seventy percent of the Eravallan basic vocabulary is common with Tamil basic vocabulary. Eravallan folk stories are narrated in Eravalla MT, where as Eravallan songs and riddles are narrated only in Tamil.
Published works
  • 1. A monograph entitled A study of Eravalla (Linguistic, Sociolinguistic and Folkloristic Aspects with Comparative Eravalla-Tamil Vocabulary) has been published by the Department of Linguistics, Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. In the monograph: (a) an adhoc sketch grammar of Eravalla is available, (b) the endangerment aspect and the folkloristic aspects of Eravalla mother tongue are discussed and (c) a comparative word list of Eravalla-Tamil, with meaning in English and with available equivalent DED entries are tabulated.
  • 2. A monograph in Tamil on the sociological and folkloristic aspects of Eravallan tribe entitled Iṟavaappalaṅkuṭikaḷin vālviyal by Dr. T. Vijayalatchumi has been published by Thirukkural Pathippkam, Chennai during 2008.
Following is the list of published research Papers on Eravalla
  • 1. Gnanasundaram, V. 2010. ‘Seven men and a woman-An Eravalla story’. In Osmania Papers in Linguistics (Papers in memory of Prof. K. Nagamma Reddy. (Eds.)K. Ramesh Kumar & Mohammad Ansari. Department of Linguistics, Osmania University, Hyderabad.
  • 2. ___________________ 2013. ‘Language Endangerment of Eravalla- A Tribal Mother tongue’. In Language Endangerment in South Asia. Vol.1. Chief Editor. M. Ganesan. Centre of Advanced Study, Annamalai University.
  • 3. ---------------------------The status of the tribal mother tongue Eravalla: A dialect or an independent language? (to appear in IJDL)
  • 4. ----------------& Vijayan, N. 2015. ‘Bilingualism and Folk Generes in Eravalla; A new South Dravidian Tribal Language’. In Reflection in Linguistics and Literature A Commemoration Volume of Prof. Renuga Devi Retirement.(Eds.) Dr. T. Janaki etal.
Works in SPPEL
The Following work is in progress.
  • 1. Sketch grammar encompassing of Phonology, morphology, morpho- phonemics etc. Is under preparation.
  • 2. The folk stories, two in number and other texts in the form of natural conversation etc. are to be transcribed.
  • 3. Commentary to the Video documentation of Eravallan marriage has to be provided.
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