First book of Letters
Publications by Anvita Abbi
Fieldwork and elicitation of data
Her study of the Andamanese languages (2003-04) established the distinctness of Great Andamanese from the other two accessible languages of the Island, such as Jarawa and Onge and established the possibility of the Sixth language family of India. Latest genetic research (Science 2005) confirmed her findings by identifying two independent haplogroups M31 and M32 in the region. Recent data from her field work (2006-07) pertaining to the lexicon and morpho-syntactic complexities of the three endangered languages of the Andaman Islands provided further evidence that Great Andamanese is typologically divergent and linguistically a distinct language family from the one that Onge and Jarawa belong to. Her findings indicate establishment of the sixth language family of India. Please refer to Is Great Andamanese genealogically and typologically distinct from Onge and Jarawa? by Anvita Abbi in Language Sciences.
Other significant publications in the area are:
Abbi, A. 2003. Vanishing Voices of the Languages of the Andaman Islands, June 13, 2003. Paper presented at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig.
Abbi, A. 2004. The Great Experience: A Linguistic Fieldtrip to the Andaman Islands,2001-2002. http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/originals/Abbi/art-abbi.htmv#visit
Abbi, A. 2006. Is Great Andamanese Language Genealogically and Typologically Distinct from Onge and Jarawa? The paper was read at the EMBO International workshop on Human Evolution and Disease, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India. December 6-9, 2006.
A language that only Great Andamanese speak News in Down to Earth magazine http://www.downtoearth.org.in/full6.asp?foldername=20080615&filename=sci&sec_id=12&sid=4
Her findings have bearings on the human migration theory in general and in the Andaman Islands in specific. Considering the linguistic structures and the antiquity of these structures she posits two migrations in the Islands and not one as the Geneticists maintain. Great Andamanese came first in the Andaman Islands and then came the Jarawa and Onge, the Angan group. This may imply that Great Andamanese habited the Islands very early in the human civilization and, as confirmed by the geneticists, migrated from Africa. The second migration of the Angan group could have been from the South East Asia or elsewhere. The latter phenomenon could be probed into in future.
Her latest analysis of the names of the birds in the Great Andamanese language has led to one of its first kind of research in the field of Ethnobiology. She has collaborated with Dr. Satish Pande, a noted ornithologist of the country to decipher the taxonomy of the bird classification and semiotics of the bird names given by the Great Andamanese people. Please refer to the sample pages of the forthcoming book on the subject. Insert link to Sample pages of the Bird Book. and to Names of Birds in Great Andamanese in IPA Orthography, in English, and in Latin.
It has been found that the language is a mixed language. Present Great Andamanese structure, though is a mixed one, appears to be closest in lexicon to Aka-Kede, the extinct language and Aka-Cari which is represented in the speech of one of the speakers who lives in the Strait Island. The current language is highly influenced by Jero grammar but lexicon is drawn from Khora, Bo and Sare and Jero.