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Pa - Ha [ப - ஹ] change in Badaga



Exclusive from Dr.R.K.Haldorai

The initial ha- ஹ - sound of the Badaga words confused its speakers many a time. Of course, there is a phonological point to be noted. The present Badaga has a tendency to drop the initial ha- ஹ -sound altogether. Due to this, the words once pronounced with h - sound are without that now. Hence those words which had initial ha- sound are now vowel initial sounds. ha sound is totally foreign to Dravidian languages. Therefore its use is equivalent to dropping the initial consonants altogether (Father Henry Heras 1936). Example
  • hallu - allu -ஹல்லு - அல்லு tooth haalu - aalu
  • ஹாலு - ஆலு milk
  • hiTTu - iTTu - ஹிட்டு இட்டு - food
  • hiiru - iiru - ஹிரு இரு- to split
  • hullu - ullu - ஹல்லு உல்லு grass
  • huuyi - uuyi - ஹுய் ஊய் - tamarind
  • heTTe - eTTe - ஹெட்டே எட்டே - hen
  • heegu - eegu - ஹேகு ஏகு -to tell
  • hoge - oge - ஹொகே ஒகெ - smoke
  • Hogu - Ogu - ஹோகு ஓகு - to go
As a special feature among Dravidian Languages Kannada language attested p - > h- change; a change which occurred quite early (Kulli 1976:304). This change is found in Badaga language too.

This aspect has been adduced as an argument for settling Badaga language’s relationship with Kannada and even for deeming it a dialect of Kannada. Since pa -> ha - change is common to Kannada and Badaga, scholars tried to fix the date of separation of Badaga language. On the basis that Badaga diverged from Kannada only after the old Kannada initial pa - , changed to middle and modern Kannada initial h - (Emeneau 1965 :18,19).

They ignored the fact that in spite of attested p -> h - change , Badaga still has many words in use with initial p - ,many in basic in nature.

( E.g. paTTu -பட்டு towel , payilu -பயிலு sprout, paTTe - பட்டேbark, paame - பாமே story, payere - பேரே buttermilk, paaTTa koDe - பாட்டே கொடே umbrella of palmyra leaves)

The Kannada Encyclopaedia (KE) analyses this Badaga feature in brief and points out that all initial p - words are not changed into initial h - words in Badaga. Many initial p - words are in daily use in Badaga. In Kannada p - > h - change began after 10th century. Hence Badaga might have diverged from Kannada prior to 10th century A.D.

The Kannada Encyclopaedia [KE] therefore assigns Badaga the status of an autonomous language (Nayak 1983 :412). Differing from Emeneau and others KE holds that Badaga might have diverged from Kannada even earlier than 10th century. Kannada dictionary (Butcher 1983) recorded many initial p - and h - words, including some which are mere variants of the same words. Among these, Badaga language retained initial p - instead of initial h -.

Example

Kannada> puccu - huccu [puchchu huchchu] - புச்சு ஹுச்சு (foolishness) : Badaga. puccu [puchchu] Ka. paLi, haLi - பளி ஹளி (blame,rebuke ) : Ba. paLi Ka. pusi, husi புசி ஹுசி (falsehood,lie ) : Ba. poy, puyyi -பொய் Ka. pooTe, hooTe போட்டே ஹோட்டே (hollow of a tree) : Ba. pooTe போட்டே(hollow) Ka. pisuku, hisuku பிசுக்கு ஹிசுக்கு (to squeeze ) :Ba. பிசுக்கு -pisuku.

In some cases Badaga substitutes s - for the h - found in Kannada words.

E.g. Ka. heDe (the expanded hood of a snake ) : Ba. seDe Ka. huLi (sour ) : Ba. suLLe Ka. hiju (to rend ) : Ba. suli Ka. hore (neighbourhood, vicinity ) : Ba. saare In few words PDr.(Proto Dravidian) p - changes into b - in Badaga. E.g. Ka. pakkaLe (a kind of vessel) : Ba. baggare Ka. paNi (stick, bat) : Ba. baNe Ta. pambaram (top) : Ba. bombare Ta. pakkam (shelter) : Ba. bakka

In a few places the initial p - and h - forms of the same word are use in Badaga but with different meaning. E.g. pace (green) : hacce (half-boiled, unripe, tender etc.,) piri (to separate ) : hiri (to demolish) piccu (to scatter) : hiccu ( to squirt ) poru (to endure ) : hour (to bear, carry or the head) poTTu (simpleton ) : hoTTu (chaff, husk)

p - h - is a share innovation found in Kannada and Badaga languages but with the following special features in Badaga.
1. Many initial p - words are in use in Badaga language and they are basic in nature
2. Unlike Kannada, all initial p- words are not changed into initial h - words in Badaga.
3. In a few places s - replaces h - in Badaga.
4. In a few places p - and h - form the same words are in different meanings in Badaga.

It is not correct, therefore to hold p - > h - change as a major criterion in settling the relationship of the Badaga language with Kannada.

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