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andamanese varnamaala


The world view of the Great Andamanese determines the range of words in the language. The conception of space and time are determined by the availability of natural objects that surround them. In the following pages, readers can have a taste of ethno-linguistic and sociolinguistic information.

In the Great Andamanese world view, spirits (lao) are nothing but what humans become when they die (Radcliffe-Brown, 1922:157). The Great Andamanese generally categorize three types of spirits: Spirits of land (ÿHiÖmikHu lao), spirits of sky and spirits of sea (jurua). The cover term used for all these three types of ancestral spirits is ‘lao’. It can be inferred from this that the Great Andamanese spirits do not leave their humanly habitat i.e. land or sea but continue to transverse the same. These spirits are both malevolent as well as beneficial, and the Great Andamanese regard that human encounters with spirits must be controlled.

The Great Andamanese cultural construct of space can be defined as a practical or abstract space which is formed by movement of spirits, animals and humans along vertical and horizontal axis. The condition for this movement is avoidance or interaction between the actors depending on the usefulness of move undertaken. In the Great Andamanese world view, space and all the natural elements in it (sun, moon, tides, winds, earth, forest etc) together constitute the cosmos. See the paper Where Have All The Speakers Gone? A Socioliguistic Study of the Great Andamanese. by Anvita Abbi.

The concept of time

The model of temporal categorization is often termed as the honey calendar of the Great Andamanese. The Great Andamanese honey calendar is based on the name of blooming flowers of that particular time. This naming process is related to not only with seasonal change but also with flower’s inherent relation with availability of honey. Honey occupies a special place in the Great Andamanese pattern of subsistence and movement. Moreover, significance of flower names can also be gauged from the Great Andamanese ritual of giving girls a flower name after the puberty ceremony. Perhaps the Great Andamanese sub-categorization of primary seasons into minor seasons is more closely related to availability of honey and its taste or smell. They categorize six seasons, named after flowers.

Great Andamanese name  English gloss


Onset of summer


Intense summer (end)


Heavy rains


Mid summer


Onset of mild rain


End of summer and onset of rain

Download the SILDoulos IPA93 font.


Boa Sr.


Noa Jr.