[INDOLOGY] External Origin of Dravidian

Suresh Kolichala suresh.kolichala at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 15:26:01 UTC 2016

Dear Nagaraj gaaru,

I hope you agree that the verb form ir- 'to be' *[DEDR 480]* either as
copula or independent verb cannot be attested in Telugu. This verb, so
important in South Dravidian, is remarkably absent in Central and North
Dravidian languages, and in many of South-Central languages. In Telugu, you
may find noun forms such as iravu 'place', irugu 'neighbour, neighbourhood'
etc. which can possibly be argued as recent borrowings from Kannada or

The words *ṟē**vu* (ఱేవు), *ṟē**vaḍu* (ఱేవడు), *ṟē**vadi* (ఱేవది) etc. are
not derived from  'iravu' (<ir-) (note the alveolar trill, instead of
tap). They
are related to *[DEDR 516]*  *iṯ-/iṟ- 'to descend', 'to go beyond' *iṟaṅku*
(*iṟaṅki*-) to descend, alight, fall (as rain), disembark; *iṟaṅkal* place
of descent, of debarkation etc.

If you believe in my proposed theory of external origin of Dravidian, then
the whole question of what constitutes Proto-Dravidian becomes problematic.
 Under the usual historical linguistic principles, words and features found
only in one branch (South Dravidian, in this case) do not provide evidence
for parent language (Proto-Dravidian). But Dravidian linguists have been
wrongly reconstructing words and features found only in South Dravidian
(esp. Tamil) to the parent language under the assumption that Tamil
represents the archaic form of Dravidian. It is a classic catch-22

I believe there is an urgent need to reevaluate the Dravidian languages
considering the possibility of pre-Dravidian substrata in various branches
of the Dravidian languages. Suspending the belief that Tamil represents the
most archaic form of Dravidian would be a starting point in this endeavour.


On Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 4:11 AM, Nagaraj Paturi <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com>

> Sorry for going back to a week old post by Mr Suresh Kolichala
> > The copula verb man- 'to be' is replaced by ir- 'to be' in the South
> Dravidian languages. As you know, ir- 'to be' is not found in
> South-Central, Central and North Dravidian languages. (ir- most likely a
> local verb for 'to be')
> It is true that 'ir-' is not the copula verb in south-central. In Telugu,
> the major language of the south-central, the copula verb is 'agu' (<ak) =
> to be as/ to become. unD =to be which is found in Malayalam in copula
> situations is found in Telugu as an independent 'to be'  verb in
> non-equational VP sentences.
> >(ir- most likely a local verb for 'to be')
> gives me the impression that you consider that the root 'ir-' is not found
> in south-central. But the word iravu ( as in chImalu peTTina puTTalu
> paamulakiravaina yaTlu- sumatIs'atakamu ) is a nominalization of the verb
> root 'ir-' only. The words rEvu , rEvaDu/ rEvaDi etc. form from 'iravu'
> (<ir-) through metathesis.
> Another point is,is it not a good idea to count the number of
> Proto-Dravidian features retained by Tamil and the other Dravidian members
> to decide which is the 'most conservative among Dravidian languages' ? ( I
> do not think that there was any claim that all the Proto-Dravidian features
> are retained by Tamil only and no other Dravidian language retained
> Protodravidian features.)
> -N
> --
> Nagaraj Paturi
> Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.
> Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies
> FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,
> (Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )
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