Badaga language

Badaga is a southern Dravidian language spoken by the Badaga people of the Nilgiris district of Northwest Tamil Nadu. The language is closely related to the Tam language.[2]

படக, ಬಡಗ, ബഡഗ
Native toIndia
RegionThe Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
Native speakers
134,000 (2011 census)[1]
Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Yogesh Badagu
Language codes
ISO 639-3bfq
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.


Badaga has five vowel qualities, /i e a o u/, where each of them may be long or short, and until the 1930s they were contrastively half and fully retroflexed, for a total of 30 vowel phonemes.[3] Current speakers only distinguish retroflection of a few vowels.[4]

Example words[5]
IPA Gloss
/noː/ disease
/po˞˞ː/ scar
/mo˞e˞/ sprout
/a˞e˞/ tiger's den
/ha˞ːsu/ to spread out
/ka˞˞ːʃu/ to remove
/i˞ːu˞˞/ seven
/hu˞˞ːj/ tamarind
/be˞ː/ bangle
/be˞˞ː/ banana
/huj/ to strike
/hu˞j/ tamarind
/u˞˞j/ chisel

Note on transcription: rhoticity ⟨◌˞⟩ indicates half-retroflexion; doubled ⟨◌˞˞⟩ it indicates full retroflexion.

Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɳ
Stop voiceless p t ʈ c k
voiced b d ɖ ɟ g
Fricative v s
Approximant l ɻ j
Trill r

Writing systemEdit

Several attempts have been made at constructing an orthography based on English, Kannada and Tamil. The earliest printed book using Kannada script was a Christian work, "Anga Kartagibba Yesu Kristana Olleya Suddiya Pustaka" by Basel Mission Press of Mangaluru in 1890.[6]

Use of vowels and consonants of Tamil-Kannada script to create Badaga script
Use of Tamil-Kannada script to create Badaga script

Badaga can also be written in the Kannada script and Tamil script.


Badaga is well studied and several Badaga-English Dictionaries have been produced since the latter part of the nineteenth century.[7]


  1. ^ Badaga at Ethnologue (24th ed., 2021)
  2. ^ Hockings, Paul (2004), "Badaga", in Ember, Carol R.; Ember, Melvin (eds.), Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World’s Cultures Volume I: Topics Volume II: Cultures, Boston, MA: Springer US, pp. 572–578, doi:10.1007/0-387-29905-x_57, ISBN 978-0-387-29905-1
  3. ^ Emenau (1931) reports no tokens of /i˞˞/, but suggests this is an accidental gap.
  4. ^ "Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Word List for Badaga". UCLA Phonetics Lab. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  6. ^[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ Paul Hockings, Christiane Pilot-Raichoor (1992). A Badaga-English Dictionary (Reprint ed.). Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110126778. Retrieved 6 February 2013.

External linksEdit