Brahui, a Dravidian Language
Mikhail S. Andronov
Institute of Oriental Studies, The Russian Academy of Sciences
The Brahui language, spoken by some 1,5 million people in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, is the earliest offshoot of the Dravidian stock. Isolated from the kindred languages for several thousand years, it combines ancient features inherited from the Proto-Dravidian ancestor with numerous borrowings from its Iranian and Indo-Aryan neighbours.
Apart from a detailed practical grammar, illustrated with copious examples from Brahui texts, the book offers the latest comparative-historical information on the evolution and origin of the main elements of the language. The Brahui phonemes are traced to their Old Dravidian sources, the origins of case Suffixes and other nominal desinences are expounded, the Brahui numerals and pronouns are also traced to their ancient archetypes, and so are the personal suffixes of the verb. The primary systems of gender, tense and mood, lost or modified in the contemporary language, are reconstructed in comparison with those of Old Tamil and other classical languages.
The Brahui syntax, although basically Dravidian, lost many original constructions, particularly those with nonfinite verbal forms. However, Brahui suffered the greatest losses in its vocabulary, where the layer of Dravidian words is remarkably thin. Etymologies of those which were retained can be referred to in the book.
The position of Brahui within the Dravidian family and its relationship ties with kindred languages are discussed at large in the final chapter.
General Information on Brahui is given in the Introduction. The history of its study is also briefly outlined there. A bibliography of earlier works on the Brahui language is appended in the end. The subject index will make the use of the book easier. (Revised and enlarged version of the 2001 edition (ISBN 3 89586 412 9 )).
ISBN 9783895863486 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies In Asian Linguistics 65. 160 pp. 2006.