A CASE STUDY BASED ON PARAYAS’ SECRET LANGUAGE
Dept. of Linguistics
University of Kerala
•Paraya is one of the communities among scheduled caste in Kerala
•It is believed that Paraya community has been existing since Dravidian age
•The name Parya is delivered from the Tamil word ‘parai’
•Parayas are also referred by the name Sambava
•They find the name Sambava more honorific and acceptable
•In the former times parayas were slaves and occupied a low status in the society.
•The concept of untouchability has manifested itself in so many ways.
•Present generation has improved from the old.•Not only that, they were characteristically different from other
scheduled castes in Kerala, for instance they
showed great dexterity in martial arts.
• Traditionally they were engaged in producing baskets from
• Even now they are following that traditional job
• Nevertheless parayas are also engaged in agricultural labor,
• Their religious faith was on the basis of ancestral belief and customs.
• Now they have been completely absorbed in to the Hindu
• Earlier, many Parayas had converted in Christianity but
now a days they have begun reconverting to the Hindu fold
Language is the medium or tool for communication but secret language also comes under this definition. A secret language is used by a special group to preserve its identity and to exclude outsiders. Thus the term refers rather to the social function of a speech from than to any property of its structure. Occasionally, the Toda language in India, a quite distinct language was serve the function of secrecy. Most so-called secret languages are grammatically the same as the surrounding community, but consist in systematic substitutions for individual words. In this case it is difficult to distinguish clearly between secret language in a strict sense and argot, slang which used ephemeral substitutions and cast, class, technical occupational dialects
•To examine the structure of Parayas secret language
•The language variety is used among the Parayas for their special purpose
•Parayas keep this language variety as their own and never allow others learn or use it
•They keep it in their own families.
•Paraya dialect has been commonly used in relation to the paddy cultivation. It was also used as code language to escape themselves from the attacks of dominant classes
•It is little known to public, other than person who know that they have such a dialect still practiced among them
•It kept using secretly
•There is a mythical belief that this language is disinterred from the
time of ‘Paakkanaar’
• The name of this language is different in different region
• In some place this language is known as ‘vaaplanc’
• In some other place is referred as ‘paRappeecc’.
• One important feature of this language is that its unique vocabulary
• The code has a special vocabulary of its own which is very
much different from Malayalam
• The most important feature of this language is that it has no script
AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
•To examine the structure of Parayas secret language
•To analyze the surroundings which lead to the development and usage of the secret language
•To bring out the dialect variation of the language
•To compare all the above with Malayalam
The methodology used for this study was field study method. For the progress of the work direct contact with the speakers was done. People belonging to different age groups and who were educated and non educated status were selected for this study. The areas which I have selected for this study belong to Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala.
ANALYSIS OF THE DATA
Dialect variation is common to all the languages in the world. Each language varies according to the regional differentiation. For instance two different regions use separate word to represent same meaning, but they would understand the differences in the usage. Likewise this Paraya script also has regional variation in the word usage.
kumita house viit
koonta house viit
navaatt, speak paRayuka
meRRappa tt, speak paRayuka
anump alcohol madhyam
tul,ump alcohol madhyam
taamaR police police
kuuRump police police
kelali face mukham
mohamaaR face mukham
Comparative analysis with Malayalam
As compared with the Malayalam this language use several Malayalam words, but it differ in their meaning when applied in the secret language.•
mayakkuka to come
unnu - is present tense markers
meekk unnu to drink
cerRakk unnu to kill
i, u - is the past tense Marker
meekk i drank
ceRacc u killed
um -is the future tense marker
meekk um will drink
ceRakk um will kill
/e/, /oot /, / u /, / il / these are the case markers in the Malayalam
‘pikkin e’ him (accusative)
‘pikkin oot,’ with him (sociative)
‘pikkan u’ to him (dative)
‘pikkan il’ in him (locative)
Gender/ an /, / atti /- are the masculine, feminine gender markers in Malayalam
Paal,,uv an Paraya man
Kalinnׂan Pulaya man
Paluv atti Paraya women
Kalinn atti Pulaya women
Another important resemblance between these two languages are in the numerals. The number system both ordinal and cardinals are almost same as the Malayalam numerals.
The basic sentence structure of this language is same that of Malayalam, it follows the S O V order.
raaman raavanane ceraccu (raaman raavanane konnu)
(Rama Ravana killed)
Rama killed Ravana
raaman anump meekkum (raaman kallu kudikkum)
(Rama alcohol will drink)
Rama will drink alcohol
minnippaat ilunna (kaasu illa)
The present situation of this language:-
This language is in the way to extinction. Their communities are not willing to teach this language to other communities or person. Their narrow minded men lead this language to extinction. Another reason for this condition is the youngsters in Paraya community are not initiated to study or use this language. So it is vanishing from the adversity at parayas. Perhaps educated people among them hesitate to use this dialect in public because it brings to them social inferiority in front of others.
This topic tries to analyze the secret language used by the Paraya community. This language verity is being used among the Parayas for special proposes .They hardly revile the structure of the code nor give the details about the vocabulary or the secret behind the use and development of variety. The basic structure of the language is Malayalam. The Phonology, Morphology, and the Syntactic structure of the language variety are almost same as that of the language of the state. As this study could collect data from only fifteen informants, it could not claim that this is the detailed study of the variety. A detailed analysis collecting more data and their socio-linguistics feature may give a flamboyant picture of the verity. Of course this study stresses that clear documentation of the code is a must for the knowledge world