Madhusmita Pattanaik

Orissa, India




Word formation in Didayi


In India, many tribal languages are in the process of extinction. It is either because of their shifting from the original language to another more opportunistic languages due to developmental network or diminishing population to the extent that the language is in danger of dying.

'Gta?' language of 'Didayi' a primitive tribe having population of 6545 (Male – 3064 & Female – 3481) mainly concentrated in 37 villages and hamlets within 4 G.Ps in 2 blocks in the district of Malkanagiri of Orissa is one such dying language . Now a days approximately 90% of the native speakers have shifted to 'Desiya', the lingua franca of Koraput District.

'Gta?' is an expressive language, and word formation shows some remarkable characteristics. The 'Gta?' broadly designates thing, manner, quality or action of a general nature in relation to the specific idea of the base word.

For Example : 'Kesu' is meant for 'wrapper', a piece of thick cloth of a particular size and texture, used for protection of the body from cold. But 'kasa' similar to 'kesu' in form and function is meant for 'any kind of cloth equivalent to kesu in size and texture. Similarly 'kisi' is 'a small or thin piece of cloth distinguished from 'kesu' by echo-forms.

The present paper “Word formation in Didayi” focuses on the process of word construction in this language.


Sources :

(1) Didayi- Tribal Language Study Series – Volume:I

(2) A Man Without Mask – edited by Prof. N.K.Behura