linguistics (was: Tamil words in English)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 19 20:15:59 UTC 1998

>> I (and many other Indians) personally find that Kannada and Telugu
>> so similiar to
>> other north-Indian languages that I refuse to believe that they
>> belong to different language families until some concrete evidence
>> that can be independently
>> verified is offered.
>"similar to other north-Indian languages"? I hope there is a typo
>there. There are heaps of concrete evidence.

I shouldn't presume to speak for someone else, but I think this was no

For many Kannada and Telugu speakers, saying that these languages are
similar to north Indian languages, and that they are allied to Sanskrit,
serves as a way of setting themselves apart from Tamil and Tamil
speakers. Since Sanskrit is popularly thought to be older than any other
language, it also serves as a means of suggesting that Kannada and
Telugu are somehow older than Tamil.

No serious linguistic argument this, but a political one. But then, they
are caught between a rock and a hard place, as the Americans say
nowadays. Most Tamilians revel in their Dravidian "other"-ness, while
most Indians north of Belgaum consider themselves fair-skinned Aryans.
The fact that Tamil politicians have appropriated the word "Dravida"
means that non-Tamil south Indians want to downplay their own
associations with things Dravidian, and to align themselves with things


Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list