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andamanese varnamaala

Ornithological findings

Present Great Andamanese is a moribund language and is on the verge of extinction. The current study is an outcome of the first-hand collected data in the interdisciplinary research in Linguistics and Ornithology. We present all the avian Families, Genera and Species recognized by the Great Andamanese people including the current conservation status, threats and distribution of avian species, endemic to the region. Indigenous names in the language were analyzed linguistically and discernible categories were classified empirically. Since the identifiable categories include avian names with single, double and triple attributes the semiotic analysis of the bird names exposes the world view of the Great Andamanese people. What emerges is a typology of attributes where single attribute names are generic, etic, onomatopoeic, eponyms, toponyms, impressionist, morphological, plumage color, feeding habit, association with habitat and migratory habit. Double attribute names include those that represent a habit, habitat or morphological feature of bird and its effect on humans, association with bird movement, calling habits or conjugal behavior; ecological features like habitats, nesting habit, and perch site; social and mythical associations, pan-human perception for naming and classification of natural kinds, comparison with other unrelated animate or inanimate objects. Triple attribute names are a combination of the above categories. An understanding of these names help us to appreciate how the Great Andamanese interacted with their avian environment and since it bears on classification and knowledge of natural kinds, could aid in effective conservation efforts.
The current study is of immense historical nature and can be used in future to establish any relationship with other languages and tribes of the Andaman Islands. The present study is first of its kind pertaining to the Great Andamanese language.

See sample pages from the book

Also see Names of Birds in Great Andamanese in IPA Orthography, in English, and in Latin.


Boa Sr.


Noa Jr.