Monday, October 02, 2006

The original Dravidian sound is 'f' and not 'p'

Of all Dravidian languages only Kannada shows p->h sound change(as far as I know). Some people believe this change was brought about by literature in the 14th-15th century. That means majority people would have been still using 'p' till very recently. Something I find difficult to believe. In my opinion, the change from p->h in literature during medieval times had occurred because a big section of population was already using 'h'.

During my discussion with Maju(at Atlantis), he mentioned that Basque influence resulted in dropping of initial 'f' and replacement with 'h' in certain Latin words. eg. fablar -> hablar

I believe this must be the case with Kannada too. All other Dravidian languages show f->p change but Kannadaites* somehow dropped the letter completely. At least one Sanskrit word with Dravidian root show the original sound. eg. phala = fruit.

* It looks like prevalent identification term for Kannada people is Kannadiga. However, in Kannada that means Kannada male whereas a Kannada female is called Kannaditi . I am bit uncomfortable using Kannadiga to denote all Kannada speakers. I am not sure what should be the unisex word for Kannada speakers. Kannadaite or Karnatakan or Kannadee. Well, just Kannada does not sound anything unlike. I mean you can say he/she is a Telugu or he/she is a Tamil and that sounds somethinng but he/she is a Kannada sounds nothing.


Anonymous said...

Bloody Ravana, stop making comments about Sanskritic Kannada language while you can't understand our ways or lang even a bit. Bloody Afro....... Learn your own language and your tamil-andhra lang better first

Manjax Wafer said...

At least one Sanskrit word with Dravidian root show the original sound. eg. phala = fruit.

I suppose many people from coastal Karnataka pronounce aspirated 'p' as 'f'. I believe because of Konkani teachers. My above observation was a result of that.

Krishnaprakasha Bolumbu said...

You are wrong on your guess about the Konkani influence. It's not only in Kannada that people pronounce aspirated p as f, it happens in Malayalam also. In Malayalam there are people pronounce bhasha as phasha.

Manjax Wafer said...

I can be plausibly wrong :-).

My observation had been that many students who had studied in Kannada medium schools (with predominantly Kannada speaking teachers) would often find it difficult pronounce 'f'. I guess they would come across only English words with this fricative. My understanding is that only Konkani (as part of the Indo-Aryan) language has this sound in our region.

Typical Dravidian words do not show aspirated forms and the ones that are there are generally borrowed from Sanskrit. Those 'f' Malayalis are an interesting case. However, it should be noted that they generally substitute 'f' for aspirated 'b' and not for aspirated 'p'. I wonder if it has something to do with initial voiceless and subsequent voiced sound order of Dravidian words.

On a different note but related to the post, it's interesting that the Wikipedia gives Kannada as an example for Debuccalization or initial replacement of a consonant with an 'h' sound. In the examples given there, it's a fricative that is replaced by an 'h' sound. Kannada would be a unique case if a stop (p) was replaced. Though, according to me, it's still a fricative (f).