About the book

Endangered Languages of the Andaman Islands

Anvita Abbi

This is a book on the languages of one of the world’s most endangered and ancient linguistic groups - the Andamanese. Andamanese, a language isolate, is considered the fifth language family of India. Based on fieldwork conducted in the impregnable jungles of the Andaman Islands, the author brings out a comparative linguistic sketch of Great Andamanese, Jarawa, and Onge. The book provides the first detailed description of phonology, word formation processes, morphophonemic processes, lexicon containing words from various semantic fields, and syntax of the three languages. Similarities and differences between Great Andamanese, Jarawa and Onge are discussed to suggest possible genealogical affiliations and language contact. Considered to be the remnants of the first migration out of Africa 70,000 years before present, Andamanese communities and their language are highly endangered.

The provided CD-Rom contains songs rendered by the tribes, sound and video files, which help to provide more detailed phonetic and prosodic information as well as phonetic variation among the speakers of the dying and ‘mixed’ language such as Great Andamanese.

The unique linguistic structures and the comparative typology will be of interest not only to linguists but also anthropologists, historians, South Asian and Southeast Asian scholars, social activists, sociologists, and geneticists.

Anvita Abbi is a zealous field linguist who has worked extensively on indigenous and tribal languages belonging to virtually every language family of South Asia. Her research focuses on areal typology and language contact. Her work has been recognized by editorial positions; visiting professorships at universities in the United States, Germany, and Australia and advisory positions with UNESCO and Sahitya Akademi. She is an author of nine books and several research papers. Recipient of national and international awards for her work on lesser-known languages, Anvita Abbi is currently Professor of Linguistics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.


ISBN 3 89586 866 3 Lincom Studies in Asian Linguistics 64 www.lincom-europa.com

Read the review of the book on http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reviews/reviews.htm