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Language Documentation

luro Documentation

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Lurö, also known as Teressa, Taih-Long and Teressa-Bompoka is an Austroasiatic language (Nico-Monic subgroup) spoken in the Teressa Island of the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands in Bay of Bengal. The language has around 2,000 speakers, although an accurate estimation is difficult due to the ongoing language loss. It is closely related to other Nicobarese languages such as Sanenyö, Muöt, Pu etc. The name Lurö is an exonym which was given to the language by people from other islands of the Nicobar group.

The people in Teressa Island spend the major part of the year preparing for festivals. This goes on to show that the concept of an economically viable occupation does not seem to be that central to the society. The introduction of modern economics with money serving as the medium of exchange was a very recent phenomena which happened during the final days of British Raj. Prior to it, small seashells (cowries) were used as a medium of exchange when needed.

All land including forests are owned by someone. There are no written documents but the boundaries are a part of the social memory. Land ownership can be transferred, but once again without any written documentation.

The major financial activity carried out by people of the island is trading in coconut, both fresh and dry. Coconut plantations are found near the villages.Tobacco is another cash crop cultivated in the island. It is used for local use as well as exported outside the island. Fragrant resin is collected from the forest but is not traded for money since it is a controlled substance.

Most households have chickens, goats or pigs or all three. The animals are used for consumption by the household as well as to be exchanged or gifted during festivals and other special occasions. Fishing is another activity that the community does on a widespread scale, but it is not monetized. Other traditional sources of food include tubers, fruits (especially banana) and coconut. The islanders consume multiple types of tubers such as taula which is a small potato variety and hatlich which is a larger potato variety.

Although most of the inhabitants are Christians, the islanders still upkeep their spiritual traditions through beliefs, superstitions and taboos. Some of these are given below :

Different parts of the forest have different levels of sanctity and have their own set of rules to be followed while going there. The periphery of the forest is open territory where anyone can go. Further inside, there are areas where one has to go wearing plain cloths. Colors are allowed as long as the cloth does not have any patterns or other designs. It is also important to only speak in lurö while in these areas.

After the advent of Christianity, funerals are done in a cemetery following Christian rituals. But even now they follow the practice of the relatives of the deceased (the ones who carry out the last rites) staying confined in the same house for a week.
Transcribed word kãɲ
Gloss ripe coconut
Regional script (Nicobarese) kaṅny
  Toe Ring
Transcribed word kəheɑ
Gloss paddle
Regional script (Nicobarese) köheya
  Toe Ring
Transcribed word kəniələ
Gloss cotton tree
Regional script (Nicobarese) köniölö
  Toe Ring
Transcribed word ləfu
Gloss papaya tree
Regional script (Nicobarese) löfuṅ
  Toe Ring
Transcribed word t̪əlipũic
Gloss king coconut
Regional script (Nicobarese) tölipuc
  Toe Ring
Transcribed word t̪ənukə
Gloss rope made out of tree bark
Regional script (Nicobarese) tönukö
  Toe Ring
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