Kuvi Grammar (An Old and Rare Book)
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Kuvi Grammar (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAW181
Author: Joy Reddy
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: Kuvi and English
Edition: 1979
Pages: 160
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 190 gm
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The Central Institute of Indian Languages was set up on the 17th July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating the development of Indian languages. The Institute was charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring together all the research and literary output from the various linguistic streams to a common head and narrowing the gap between basic research and developmental research in the fields of languages and linguistics in India.

The Institute and its four Regional Language Centers are thus engaged in research and teaching which lead te the publication of a wide-ranging variety of materials. Preparation of materials designed for teaching/learning at different levels and suited to specific needs is one of the major areas of interest of the Institute. Basic research relating to :the acquisition of language and study of language in its manifold psycho-social relations constitute another broad range of its interest. The publication will include materials produced by the members of the staff of the Central Institute of Indian Languages and its Regional Language Centres and associated scholars from universities and institutions, both Indian and foreign.

The Central Institute of Indian Languages has initiated the Grammar series in non-literate languages in general and tribal languages in particular presenting a description of every such language in the sub-continent. This is undertaken with a view to producing instructional materials necessary for learning and teaching the language concerned. It is also expected to be of synchronic and diachronic study of languages.

If these materials help solving problems, both individual and corporate, and help in understanding the people speaking the language, then our efforts will be deemed to have been amply rewarded.


The tribal people in India have for long lived in isolation except to be exposed for exploitation. They have not participated to their benefit in the socio-economic development of the country. To come out of their isolation, it is necessary for them to learn the language of the majority people around them and a number of them have done so, But this bridges the communication gap only in one way and the whole burden of building up this bridge is carried by the minority group, It is necessary, however, for developing mutual understanding and good-will, to increase bidirectional communication between the tribal people and the majority of people of the region. For this purpose, the majority people, especially those who come in contract with the tribe people for various reasons such as civil administration, security, social service, trade, etc., should learn their language. The Grammar, which forms part of the package consisting phonetic reader, bi-or tri-lingual dictionary and teaching manual is prepared to help them in their learning of the tribal language.

The organisation of the Grammar is based on grammatical functions rather than on grammatical forms. This will help the new learner to find easily how the different functions, which he already knows and wants to express, are formalised in this language. Since this Grammar is primarily meant for pedagogical Government officials in Ladakh district without whose co-operation the field, work could not have been done smoothly.

I would like to extend my thanks to my friends Mr. Iqbal B.Sc., State Bank of India, Kargil and Mr. Mohammed Shafi M.A, formerly Deputy Superintendent of Police at Leh for the help they extended during my field work.

I must express my thanks to Dr. D. P. Pattanayak,{Director, CIIL, Mysore for the academic atmosphere he keeps and the encouragement he gives.

I am grateful to Dr. E. Annamalai, Deputy Director, CIIL. Mysore for the guidance and supervision of this work and to Dr. H. S. Biligiri, former Deputy Director, CIIL, Mysore who supervised my work in its early stage.

My thanks should go to my friends Mr. N. Ramaswamy, Dr. M. S. Thirumalai, Deputy Director, Dr. B. B. Rajapurohit and Mr. S. Arokianathan who spared their time to discuss some of the problems which I encountered during the writing of this Grammar. I am thankful to Mr. Ananda Raj, CIIL, Mysore for helping me when I prepared the manuscript for the press.

My thanks go to Miss. N. K. Rukmini and Mr. Gopal for the neat typing.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to Mr. H.L. N. Bharati, CIIL, Mysore who saw this Grammar through the press and M/s. Sri Raghavendra Printers, Mysore, for their sincere efforts for a neat and quick printing of this Grammar.


Kuvi is a Central Dravidian language Spoken in the border districts of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. It is closely related to Kuvi. The tribes who speak the Kuvj and Kuvi languages are called by the name Khond or Kondh. It jg difficult to ascertain the number of Kuvi speakers. Kuvi was not returned as a Mother-tongue in the 1961 census. ‘Apparently Kuvi-speaking Khonds prefer to return their tribal name only as their mother tongue"! The number of speakers reported for Khond in the 1961 census is 1,68,027 of which 1,44,922 live in Orissa, 22,730 in Andhra Pradesh and the rest elsewhere. However, the Census report notes that "Khond/Kondh returns as mother tongue should normally indicate. the Kui-Kuvi language sub group of the Central Dravidian. Distinguishing between the Kui and Kuvi speech returns would entail a separate language survey."? Some Work has been done in the past on the Kui language.

But the work done on Kuvi is relatively very little. After the early work by Schulze and samples in Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India (Vol. IV), the only recent work is a journal article by S. Bhattacharya and T. Burrow, which gives ‘only a short vocabulary of Kuvi along with some notes.4 So the need for linguistic work on Kuvi including an extensive grammar and dictionary cannot be exaggerated. In the words of the census report again "In any case for a speech community of ‘this. magnitude, detailed comprehensive linguistic data are any time commendable.

Kuvi has three main dialects. They are:

1) The Rayagada dialect corresponding with the Rayagada, Narayanpatna and Gunupur subdivisions and adjacent areas: This area borders on the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

ii) The Laxmipur dialect corresponding with the Laxmipur, Kasipur, Nowarangpur sub-divisions and adjoining areas and which is in the heart of the Koraput district. The dialect is surrounded by Oriya.

ii) The Dongria dialect corresponding with the Bissam Cuttack and Muniguda sub-divisions and adjoining areas. The speakers of this dialect inhabit the upper slopes of the hills in that area which are a part of the Eastern Ghats.

Dialect differences can be classified under three heads

(1) Lexical (ii) Phonological (iii) Morphological. Kuvis in the Rayagada area borrow words from Telugu. Kuvis from the Laxmipur area borrow Oriya and the Dongria Kuvis borrow from both the Laxmipur and Rayagada Kuvis. Since lexical variations are noted in the dictionary® they are not dealt with here.

Phonological differences are :

i) Initial and medial [h] in the Rayagada (R) and Dongria

(D) dialects correspond with [s] in the Laxmipur (L) dialect.

& g. ho:ru SO: ru ‘mountain’

vi : ha Vi : sa "fly’

ii) Initial clusters are very frequent in the R dialect, almost absent in the D dialect and the epenthetic vowel is Optional in the L dialect.

Mmra:nu (R) ma:rny (D) ma: rnu~ mra:nu (L)

tra: yu (R) ta:ryu (D) ta: ryu~ : tra: yu (L)

ili) The glottal stop is very frequent in R-L dialects but

less frequent in D dialect.

neh? u : di nehu : di ‘dog’

Mar? a mara ‘wild red rat?

iv) The vowel [0] of the R and D dialects is more Open than in the L. dialect as

v) The vowel le] of the R dialect is more Open in the L. dialect corresponding with [¢] and is even more open in the D dialect corresponding with [ ae ]

Morphological] Differences are

1) Plural suffixes.

a) The R. dialect has the plural allomorph -ri_ used exclusively with human masculine nouns ;— hv,-nga used with human masculine and some neuter nouns the v of the plural suffix being the same as that of the fina vowel of the singular noun stem; — ska ~ sika used with human feminine nouns and some neuter nouns ; and — ka used exclusively with neuter nonus.

b) The L dialect has the plural allomorph — ru and — nga occurring in the same environmental distribution as the R dialect - ri and - nga, - ska occurring only with human fem. nouns and the same class of neuter nouns as in the R. dialect but elsewhere it has — ya.

c) The D dialect has only - nga as the plural suffix i) ‘Case suffixes :

a) The accusative case suffix is — 24 in the R dialect, ?7 in the L and D dialects.

b) The dative case suffix is — ki in the R and L dia- lects, — ?7 in D dialects.

c) The genetive case suffix is -—tiin the R and L dialects, — ni in D dialect.

d) The instrumental - associative case suffix is — tole in the R and L dialects — re? e in D dialect.

ii) Pronouns

a) The third person masculine human singular pro- nouns have the forms evasi, evayu, eva: nju in the R, L and D dialects respectively

b) The third person plural forms are evari in the R dialect and evaru in the L and D dialects.

c) The pronominal suffixes for the 3rd person singular. plu. respectively. are-—esi: eri in the R dialect. -éyu : -eru in the L. dialect and,-enju : - eru in the D dialect.

d) The pronominal suffix — ayi is used in the present indicative with the 1st pers. plu. ind. in the R. dial. while ~ o is used in the L dialect.

The suffix — o is used to mark the optative of the verb in the R. dialect as well as in the L dialect.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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