Walmiki and Malhar, 2 languages unknown to linguists, discovered by Hyderabad U…

The University of Hyderabad on Friday said two languages “which were lying hidden from linguists” have been discovered by a professor of linguistics in the institution.

As a part of the activity of the Centre for Endangered Languages and Mother Tongue Studies, Prof Panchanan Mohanty discovered two languages recently, which were “lying hidden from linguists”, a university release said.

One of them is calledWalmiki and is spoken in the district of Koraput of Odishaand on the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh, it said.

The professor collected some data and did a preliminary analysis and published a paper in the proceedings of the XX Annual Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, UK, it said.

The analysis showed that the language is an “isolate”, and does not belonged to a particular family of languages, the release said.

The name of the language, Walmiki, “is also interesting and indicative because the speech community claims descent from the great Indian saint-poet Valmiki”, it said.

The second language “Malhar” is spoken in a remote and isolated hamlet about 165 km away from Bhubaneswar.

The community consists of about 75 speakers including children, it said.

The preliminary data shows that Malhar belonged to the “North Dravidian subgroup of the Dravidian family of languages” and that it has close affinities with the other North Dravidian languages like Malto and Kurux spoken in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, it said.