The Language of the Jarawa (Phonology)

The Language of the Jarawa (Phonology)

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Book Specification

Item Code: UBF234
Author: R. Senkuttuvan
Publisher: Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 8185579555
Pages: 62
Other Details 8.00 X 5.50 inch
Weight 110 gm

Book Description


Since its inception the Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre of the Anthropological Survey of India has been undertaking anthropological researches in cultural and biological aspects among the people of this region. The linguists of the Anthropological Survey of India have been doing work on the languages of tribes/ communities of India and there has been a study of the language of the Onges, a tribe of the Andaman and Nicobar. There is also a linguistic study on the Andamanese. The present study is in the same genre. The most remarkable achievement has been in terms of the primary contact with the isolated populations like the Jarawas, the Shompens, the Sentinelese. Taking advantage of the short stay among the Jarawas Dr. R. Senkuttuvan, Assistant Linguist of the Survey, could collect about 500 lexical items from them for linguistic analysis. The Jarawas being a monolingual community, there was definitely some difficulty on the part of the researcher to collect data for a comparative purpose and also for a basic structural analysis. Perhaps some doubts can be raised as to the justifiability of these lexical items as words and even the slash and stroke (phonemic and phonetic) that have been used could be subjected to meticulous academic scrutiny. Considering the limitation of data and the technicalities involved one cannot expect too much sophistry out of it but since a researcher has been able to collect a sizeable quantity of firsthand information, it is worth reporting the same to the larger academic community. The study has generated excitement and enthusiasm among colleagues to continue with renewed vigour their studies on the Jarawas. And from this perspective the exercise, I believe, has been rather fruitful. But I am sure Dr. Senkuttuvan, during his further stay and study among the Jarawas would be able to come out with more concrete and verifiable information on various aspects of the Jarawa language in near future.


The Jarawas are one of the monolingual communities living in an isolated area of the Andaman Islands having a population estimated about 350.

Collecting data on monolingual community is very much difficult. However, from one or two individuals who have recently picked up a few Hindi words the present author could ellicit roughly about 485 lexical items. To define these lexical items as words is also difficult because actual encoding of features in a word is yet to be ascertained.

With this scanty and limited data principle of phonetic analysis has been applied. Therefore, the results are very much tentative in nature and are subject to confirmation on the basis of subject to further probe. The possible corrections of the analysed data (not the raw data) have been made with the help of the recorded cassette.

The Jarawas, one of the monolingual tribes among the group of Islands, inhabit of the west coast of the south and middle Andamans in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They do not barely relation with non Jarawa.

Regarding this language, various opinions are existing among the linguists. Grierson mentioned the language of the Negritos of the Andamans.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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