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Encyclopedia > Nihali language
Nihali
Spoken in: India 
Region: Maharashtra
Total speakers: 2,000 (1991)
Language family: language isolate
 Nihali
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: mis
ISO 639-3: nll

Nihali is a language isolate of India. It is spoken by some 2,000 people (1991) in the Buldana District of Maharashtra. Speakers are bilingual in Korku, Hindi or Marathi, and the language shows strong lexical convergence with Korku and Dravidian (60% to 70% of vocabulary items). Nihali is assumed to be the last surviving member of a language family formerly spoken more widely and marginalized by a prehistoric expansion of the Munda and Dravidian families. , Maharashtra (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र , IPA:  , English: ) is Indias third largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population after Uttar Pradesh. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families A language family is a group of related languages said to have descended from a common proto-language. ... A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or genetic) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is in process of development as an international standard for language codes. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone meaning sound, voice) is the study of the sounds of human speech. ... Unicode is an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all of the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. ... A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or genetic) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. ... Buldhana District has an area of 9,680 km² and is located in Amravati Division of Maharashtra, located in central India. ... , Maharashtra (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र , IPA:  , English: ) is Indias third largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population after Uttar Pradesh. ... Korku is a little known tribe of Madhya Pradesh in India. ... Hindi (Devanagari: or , IAST: , IPA: ), an Indo-European language spoken mainly in northern and central India, is one of the official languages of the Union government of India. ... Marathi is one of the widely spoken languages of India, and has a long literary history. ...


Nihali was formerly conflated with, but is not to be confused with the Indo-Aryan Nahali language. Kalto or Nahali is a language isolate spoken in west-central India (in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) by around 5,000 people. ...


Kuiper (1962) conjectured that it is unrelated to any other Indian language but, even if that is so, its vocabulary has over the millennia been heavily influenced, in turn by Munda, Dravidian and Indo-Aryan.


Nihali is possibly related to another near-extinct remnant of the Indian linguistic substratum, namely Kusunda, spoken in central Nepal. Some scholars, including Michael Witzel of Harvard suggest, quoting Shafer and Kuiper, a possible relationship to Ainu. In linguistics, a substratum (lat. ... The Kusunda are a tribe of people ethnically and linguistically related to the Chepang, but unlike the Chepang who dwell in mud houses, the few hundred Kusundas dwell in the forest. ... Michael E. J. Witzel (born 1943) is Wales Professor of Sanskrit and Chair of the Committee on South Asian Studies at Harvard University. ... The Ainu language (Ainu: , aynu itak; Japanese: ainu-go) is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of Honshū, and the southern half of Sakhalin. ...


References

  • Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition 2005 (online version).
  • Kuiper, F. B. J. (1962) "Nahali: A Comparative Study". Noord-Hollandshe. Amsterdam.

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