Culture and Ethno-linguistic Aspects of Koyas

Author: Devanpalli Srikanth Kumar (University of Mysore, Mysuru)
Speaker: Devanpalli Srikanth Kumar
Topic: Ethnographical language work
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The paper discusses the ethno-linguistic aspects of Koyas. Since this was a pilot study only some of the cultural aspects have been looked into like Marriage System, Hunting, Shamanism, Festivals etc. This suggests strategies to study cultural aspects of the Koya community through Koya language and their culture. This study will concentrate how the culture is reflected in the language, culture expressed through language and relating its words. Koyas are one of the largest ancient tribal communities covering parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh borders of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra States. Its population is 51,127. Koyas population is 568,019 (11.3%), in total ST population according to the census of 2001. This tribe has got some similarities in social structure of Gonds. After having a preliminary survey on the Koyas, it can be stated that no ethno-linguistic study has been done so far. However, there are works on other aspects like grammars, dictionaries of Koya language.

A very important ceremony in tribal is Marriage. They do marriage between the different clans only but not with the same clan. Generally, marriage happens in four way, by love & elopement, by capture, by service and by negotiations (arranged marriage). Koyas practice shamanism. Shamans are called vedʒu which means ‘cure’. They cure all types of general diseases like severe fever, chickenpox, cough & cold, -aches etc. They also perform to set free from ghost as they do believe in.

This study is purely based on the fieldwork conducted in Kummuru and Thummala the villages of Chinturu mandal East Godavari district in December, 2017. where the number of native speakers are concentrated more. The Methodology used for this interview method, conversation, direct observation and also audio-visual documentation. interaction with the community. For recording the ethno-linguistic aspects modern electronic devices like digital sound recorder, digital camera, laptop etc. are used.


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Keywords: Ethnolinguistics, Shamanism, Koya Language