Kuvi language

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Native to India
Region Orissa, Andhra Pradesh
Ethnicity Khonds
Native speakers
160,000 (2001 census)[1]
  • South-Central
    • Gondi–Kui
      • Kuvi–Kui
        • Kuvi
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kxv
Glottolog kuvi1243[2]

Kuvi language is native to India and is a Dravidian language spoken by the Khonds. Some other names for Kuvi are Kuwi, Kuvinga, Kuvi Kond, Kond, Khondi, Khondh, and Jatapu.[3] There are 160,000 native speakers of the Kuvi language known today from a 2001 census. It is an endangered language which is going extinct due to several reasons. It is mostly spoken in Orissa. The orthography is Oriya script.The grammatical structure of this language is comparable to other similar languages such as Kui, Kui-Kuvi, Manda-Kui, etc. which all fall under the classification of a Dravidian language. The Kuvi language is one of many important endangered languages and its significance needs to be stressed.

Background Information

According to a study regarding Population structure of tribal populations in central India, information was collected from Koraput about the Kuvi Khonds. There is a total population of 325,144 people in the district according to the 1971 census. The Kuvi Khonds are from the Dravidian language family, and of these people, 100 were studied. The Kuvi Khond are agriculturalists, and their physical appearance is similar to other Khond groups.[4]


Within a study done by A.G. Fitzgerald and F. V. P. Schulze, they spent some time interrogating Kuvi speakers in Araku in Andhra Pradesh. Their information came from a village called Sunkarametta. They also went to Gudari to study the Kuttiya dialect of Kui, and found a Kuvi speaker. It was found that the speakers location influenced their speech. The Kuvi speaker described himself as a Parja Kandh, so some of his dialect is abbreviated by P, while the dialect studied at Araku was indicated by Su. The following vowels and consonants are necessary for the language.

Vowels: a â i î u û e ê o ô Consonants: k g n c j t d n ț ḑ ņ p b m y r ŗ l v s h[5]

All Central Dravidian languages are unified in gender and number distinctions. There is the distinction of masculine vs non-masculine (or feminine and non human) both in singular and plural. There is a simplex negative tense consisting of verb base + negative suffix + personal ending present in all Dravidian languages.[6]

Kuvi English
va:ha having come
hi:ha having given
to:sea having shown

Kuvi language also contains a past negative tense with the structure- verb base + negative suffix + past suffix + personal ending.

Kuvi English
hi: -?a-t-e? I did not give.


Past tense [7]

Past Tense Examples
English Kuvi
I was nānu mazzee
You were nīnu mazzi
He was evasi mazzesi
She was ēdi mazze
We were mambu mazzomi
You were mīmbu mazzeri
They were evari mazzeri

Present tense [7]

Past Tense Examples
English Kuvi
I am nānu mai
You are nīnu manzi
He is evasi mannesi
We are mambu mannomi
You are mimbu manzeri
They are evari manneri


  1. ^ Kuvi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kuvi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ "Kuvi". The Endangered Languages Project. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  4. ^ DAS, K., MALHOTRA, K., MUKHERJEE, B., WALTER, H., MAJUMDER, P., & PAPIHA, S. (1996). Population Structure and Genetic Differentiation among 16 Tribal Populations of Central India. Human Biology, 68(5), 679-705.
  5. ^ BURROW, T., & BHATTACHARYA, S. (1963). NOTES ON KUVI WITH A SHORT VOCABULARY. Indo-Iranian Journal, 6(3/4), 231-289.
  6. ^ Krishnamurti, B. (2005). M. B. Emeneau, 1904-2005. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 125(4), 481-497.
  7. ^ a b Schulze, F. V. P. (1911). A grammar of the Kuvi language: with copious examples. University of California Libraries. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-333-47162-0 – via Archive.org. 

Further reading

  • Burrow, T. (1943). Dravidian Studies III. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 11(1), 122-139. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/609208
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