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Bhili of Dangs (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAM129
Author: S. B. Kulkarni
Publisher: Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute
Language: English
Edition: 1976
Pages: 160
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 150 gm
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Book Description

Object of the present inquiry

The present study is intended to be an introductory synchronic description of the dialect spoken by Bhils residing in the district of Dangs of Gujrat State. The model used for the description is one that was developed by Bloomfield and his successors and which is still useful for linguistic analysis. While Chomsky and his followers are investigating into the nature of natural languages, there is an urgent need that at least some of the linguists should devote themselves to the description of hundreds of fast disappearing tribal language and dialects in this country and preserve the linguistic material with the use of whichever model available to them. With this intention the author of the present work visited the tribal colonies of Dangs in the months of Deeember 1964 and May 1971 and collected a limited corpus of speech material of the above mentioned dialect, principally from the local informant. The material consists of about 3500 lexical items, 600 unconnected sentences, 45 prose texts and several nominal and verbal paradigms. All the prose texts and about a thousand of lexical items were recorded on a portable tape- recorder. In all, a continuous recording of ten hours duration was made at intervals. Even though the study is based on the idiolect of one informant, it represets the speech of other Bhil speakers of the area also, as the speech variation among the speakers is quite small and the structure of the dialect remains essentially the same throughout. However, an effort is made to stick to the speech of the principal informant for analysis and use the speech of others for reference.

Area and Number of Speakers

The dialect analysed here is spoken by an aboriginal tribe Rajewadi Bhil, who constitute one of the major major tribes inhabiting the mountain fastness in the district of Dangs in the Gujrat State. According to the Census of India of 1961, it claims a population of 23,701, which is distributed all over the district of Dangs. The total population of Dangs is 71,567, out of which 92.55% belong to the scheduled tribes.

The district of Dangs is entirely a hilly and forest region measuring 689 sq. miles and having the best jungles in the State. The term Dangs itself means forests. Its hill ranges on the northern fringes of the Sahyadri and its rivers and brooks, :its green vegetation and variegated flora and fauna make the district a region of rare beauty and full of natural wealth.

The district of Dangs contains only the Taluka of the same name and is entirely rural. The major tribes inhabiting the district are Kunbis or Koknas, Bhils and Varlis, It is assumed by Grierson in the Linguistic Survey of India and in the subsequent works that the language of all the tribes from Dangs is Dangi. Accordingly the Census of India of 1961 gives the :figure of Dangi speakers as 60,663. The distribution of Dangi speakers in various


The Koknas and Kunbis are the same tribe with variant local names, and constitute the dominant tribe of Dangs. Bhils and Varlis stand next to them in the strength of the population. The Gamits, Dhodias Chodhris, Dublas, Naikda, etc. came from the adjoining districts of Gujrat.

Geographical Environment

The informant used for the present analysis comes from the village Nilsakya from the central region of Dangs, a place five miles away from Ahwa, the district headquarters. The village lies on the northern Sahyadri ranges. Its natural beauty is derived from high and dense wood land, green foliage, rivers and rivulets criss- crossing the land. The valleys and ravines carved out by the rapid flow of the rivers Gira, Khapri, Ambika and Purna are overlaid with a green carpet as soon as monsoon advances. During spring, when the Khakhra trees bear flowers, which are scarlet red, the forest looks ablaze.

The Dangs district is favourably situated for the growth of forests, as it lies within the belt of heavy rainfall. The forest is an emporium of innumerable varieties of vegetation, timber, woods, and other medicinal herbs. Shri. Indu Dagadya, the informant is a tribal priest by profession and knows many medicines from the forest. He guards his knowledge as a close secret, with the usual conviction that publicity nullifies the therapeutic property of medicines. Teakwood accounts for a major share of timber found in the Dangs, used in construction, furniture and ship-building. The teak tree in this region grows straight without any knots and reaches a height of 125 feetThe other important products are bamboo which grows 100-120 feet high, sajad’ trees used to make sleepers; ‘haldarva’ trees used to make bobbins required in spinning mills; ‘sisam’ used for furniture, while a number of forest products are used in Ayurvedic medicines.

The Bhil is necessarily a man of the forest. He is very well acquainted with the plant life. His occupation necessitates this knowledge. He has rarely land of his own, and no fixed profession to give him a him a regular income. He is a hunter. Coal-maker, timber-feller, gatherer and seller of forest products, freshwater fisherman, field-labourer and agriculturist raising the crop of raggy.

Wild life is still extant in this forest though gradually declining. Tigers, wolves, bears, boars, hyaenas, monkeys and wild cats are inhabitants of this forest. Wild goats and wild buffaloes are frequent. Among reptiles, huge pythons, cobras, kambalya and many other varieties are noticed.

The bird life in this region is colourful and rich. Among different species mention may be made of wild pheasants, wild fowls. Partridges, owls, pigeons, etc.

The climate of Dangs is salubrious and pleasant during the months of January and March. In May, the temperature rises upto 42C. Heavy rains pour in from July to November which vary from 90 to 100 inches. However, the peculiar physical configuration of the area entails great scarcity of water during summer.


Introduction 1-10
object of inquiry 1
Area and number of speakers 1
Geographical environment 2
Physical features 4
Social Organization 4
Material Culture 5
Customs and Practices 5
Religion 6
Linguistic studies of Dangi 7
Characteristic features of the dialect of Dangs 9
Chapter I Phonology 11-28
Inventory of Phonemes 11
Segmental Phonemes 11
Vowels 12
Vowel-length 12
Vowel contrasts 13
Vowel phonemes and allophones 13
Front vowels 13
Central vowels 15
Back vowels 16
Consonants 16
Aspiration 17
Consonant-contrasts 17
Consonant phonemes and allophones 19
Unaspirated consonants 19
Aspirated consonants 24
Suprasegmental Phonemes 27
Nasalization 27
Juncture 27
Pitch levels 27
Terminal Contours 28
Chapter II Phonotactics 29-42
Vowel clusters 29
Consonant Clusters 29
Two-segment clusters 29
Matrix of two-segment clusters 31,32
Examples of medical clusters 33
Examples of final clusters 37
Three-segment clusters 38
Matrix of C1-C2 C3 clusters 38
Matrix of C1 C2-C3 clusters 39
Examples of three segment clusters 39
Four segment clusters 41
Syllable system 41
Structure of syllable 41
Syllable types 42
Chapter III Morphophonemics 43-46
Elision of final vowel 43
Substitution of Final vowel 44
Elision of Penultimate vowel 44
Substitution of Penultimate vowel 45
Metathesis 45
Assimilation 45
Loss of nasalization 46
Vowel harmony 46
Chapter IV Inflection 47-80
Nouns 47
Substantives 47
Gender 48
Countability 48
Number 48
Plural of masculine substantives 49
Plural of feminine substantives 49
Plural of neuter substantives 50
Case 51
Post-positions 52
Structure of substantive construction 53
Inflection of kinship terms 53
Pronouns 54
Personal pronouns 54
Interogative pronouns 55
Relative pronouns 55
Case suffixes and postpositoons 55
Pronominal adjectives 56
Pronominal adverbs 56
Distributional pronominal sequences 56
Adjectives 56
Indeclinable adjectives 57
Declinable adjectives 57
Numerals 58
Cardinals 58
Ordinals 59
Fractions 59
Collectives 59
Distributives 59
Inclusives 59
Verb 60
Intransitive verbs 60
transitive verbs 60
Derivation of transitive verbs 60
Derivation of causatives 61
Canonical shapes of verb stems 61
monosyllabic verb stems 62
Disyllabic verb stems 62
Trisyllabic verb stems 62
Scope of a verb construction 62
Finitenese 63
Bare stem constructions 63
simple verb constructions 63
MTA markers 64
PN and NG sets 64
Distribution of markers 65
Present 65
Past 66
Past habitual-1 67
Past habitual-2 68
Future 68
Pluperfect 68
Imperative 69
Imperative polite 69
Conditional 69
Optative 70
Infinitive of purpose 70
Gerund 70
Present participle 70
Past participle 71
Perfect participle 71
Potential participle 71
Future participle 71
Participle of continuous action 72
Participle of concomitant action 72
Adverbial participle 72
Sample Paradigms 72-77
Intransitive verb 72
Transitive verb
Auxiliary verb 75
Adjuncts 77-80
Adverbs 78
Pronominal adverbs 78
Non-pronominal adverbs 78
Conjunctives 79
Negative particles 79
Interjections 79
Onomatopoetic words 80
Emphatic particles 80
Sample Texts 81-86
Text-I Marriage 81
" II Daily routine 83
" III King Mohansing and Princess Chandravat 85
Sentences 87-101
Vocabulary 102-153
Bibliography 154

Sample Pages

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