Monday, January 03, 2011

Original Father of Dravidian Speakers - IV

I think it is "ata".

My daughter and my niece both started with 'ata'. One of my relatives also confirmed the same about their infant son. 'Ata' has survived only among Tamil Muslims among Dravidian speakers.  But Dravidian Muslims generally have Turkish identity thus it's possible that they adopted Turkic word for father. Nevertheless, since it's natural for babies in Dravidian region - my niece in Mumbai-Maharashtra, my daughter in Hyderabad-Andhra Pradesh and my relative in Kasaragod-Kerala/Tulu region - to call 'ata' than any other term starting from 'a', I suppose it could be a native term for Tamil Muslims too.


milieu said...

In Namboodiri Malayalam, father is acchan or accha (for sambhodhanam). But that is probably difficult for kids so they may say atha. Though I cannot remember hearing anything like that from any of my cousins. :(

manju said...

Though I cannot remember hearing anything like that from any of my cousins. :(

Then it's proved that 'ata' is not precursor to 'acha'!

I guess since these kids have to chose between 'acha' and 'apa', the sound has settled for the middle position 'ata'.

Alavudeen Rawther said...

Hi I am a ruwther muslim lived in kerala. My anccestors came from tamilnadu. According to history we are seljuk turks come to india for trade relation. Our anccestors married the indian womans. We use thamil to call all of our blood relatives exept father. We call our father as atha. It's old seljuk turk word. Now also used to keep our anccestor identity. For more details, please visit

manju said...

Thank you very much for your inputs, Alavudeen Rawther. Based on its presence among Tamil-Malayalis some of the Dravidian dictionaries consider it part of original Dravidian vocabulary. But I believe, since the meaning 'father' is restricted to a group of Muslims in Tamil Nadu and Kerala , probably, that is a wrong entry.