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An insatiable appetite for ancient and modern tongues. Munda are atypical Austroasiatic languages whose speakers might have migrated westerly in prehistoric times into India from their Southeast Asia homeland. Their marked divergence from mainstream Austroasiatic at the phonological, morphological and syntactical level, coupled with the incorporation of a number of Munda words into Sanskrit , suggest that this migration is very ancient.
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Munda speakers are tribal peoples who inhabit, mostly, northeastern India, seeking shelter in jungles and hills where they subsist by practicing a primitive sort of agriculture. Munda languages are spoken mainly in northeastern and central India with a few communities in Nepal and Bangladesh. Within northeast India, they predominate in the recently created state of Jharkhand and they are also quite numerous in Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal.
In central India, one Munda language Korku is spoken in a small area striding over the border between Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Map of Munda languages distribution. Classification and Speakers. Munda languages belong to the Austroasiatic family. Some authors consider them as a subfamily coordinate with Mon-Khmer. But a recent trend is to classify them just as another branch of Austroasiatic; Mon-Khmer becoming, thus, coterminous with Austroasiatic.
Munda languages are spoken by about 12 million people or about 0. They are divided into northern and southern groups, each divided in two subgroups:.
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Santali , its major language, is spoken by one of the largest tribal populations of India. Surpassing seven million, they are the third largest Austroasiatic group after Vietnamese and Khmers. They live above all in the Chota Nagpur Plateau though After Santali, come the very similar Mundari and Ho with more than one million speakers each in Orissa and Jharkhand. Except for Bhumij , the remaining members of the group count with just a few thousand individuals.
Korku is more eccentric geographically and linguistically constituting a sub-group on its own; it straddles the border between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Southern Munda is divided, like Northern Munda, into two sub-groups.
Munda Languages - Linguistics - Oxford Bibliographies
Kharia-Juang includes a major language Kharia , spoken in southwestern Jharkhand and northwestern Orissa, and a minor one Juang spoken in a small area of north Orissa. Within the Koraput sub-group, only Sora is prospering in some measure while the other members are threatened of displacement by Indo-Aryan or Dravidian languages. In spite of their precarious status, these minority tongues are invaluable to trace the history and evolution of Munda because they are the most ancient and divergent.
Munda languages are predominant in the Indian state of Jharkhand where three of them Santali, Mundari and Ho are official. Books are published in these same three major languages. On the other hand, the minor ones are at risk because of acculturation.
Very distinctive is the occurrence of preglottalized consonants. Some languages have prenasalized stops. Dravidian languages have influenced Munda phonology leading to the acquisition of some retroflex consonants by languages of the Northern group. It is essentially agglutinating. Arts, Language and Linguistic Books. Language and Linguistic Books. The Munda Languages English, Paperback, unknown.
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Enter pincode. Usually delivered in days? SansRack 3. Only for plus members Get exciting benefits. The Munda group of languages of the Austroasiatic family are spoken within central and eastern India by almost ten million people. To date, they are the least well-known and least documented languages of the Indian subcontinent.
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