question about Kodava

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at CCAT.SAS.UPENN.EDU
Fri Dec 15 19:25:20 UTC 2006

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In a recent Lincom catalogue (projectline 16, 2006) they listed a book on
Kodava as follows (on pg. 50)

     LWM 104: Kodava

Karen Ebert
Universitaet Zuerich

Kodava is a South Dravidian language spoken by approximately 70,000 people
in Coorg, Karnataka. Although some Kodava claim that they speak a dialect
of Kannada, their language is closer to Tamil. The Kannada script is used
for writing Kodava. Kodava shares all the well-known traits of South
Dravidian languages, such as exclusively suffixing morphology, strict SOV
word order with modifiers preceding their head, dative subjects, the use
of converbs and participles in subordination. Apart from the retroflex
consonants Kodava has central vowel phonemes.

Earlier publications on Kodava are a grammar from 1867 and articles on the
vowels and on morphophonemic processes in verb stems. This description is
based on work with a native speaker.

ISBN 3 89586 038 7. Languages of the World/Materials 104. 57 pp. 1996. ISBN 3 89586 038 7
price: EUR 34,00
USD 40,80
incl. 7% VAT/MWST/TVA


My question is, is this the same as Kodagu (a.k.a. Coorg) or is this a
different language? Ethnologue states that Kodagu has 120,000 speakers,
but doesn't list Kodava as a separate language, while this report says
there are only 70,000 speakers.  The term "Kodava" is totally new to me,
but Ethnologue does say there are dialects of Kodagu with this name.
Anybody have any information on this?


Hal Schiffman

			  Harold F. Schiffman

		Professor of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
			Dept. of South Asia Studies
			805 Williams Hall Box 6305

			University of Pennsylvania
			Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

       			Phone:  (215) 898-5825
			Fax:  (215) 573-2138

			Email:  haroldfs at


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