Irula

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A language of India

Alternate Names
Erukala, Irava, Irulan, Irular, Irular Mozhi, Irulavan, Iruliga, Iruligar, Kad Chensu, Korava
Population

200,000 (2003 E. Udayakumar).

Location

Tamil Nadu, Nilgiri, Coimbatore, Periyar districts; Karnataka; Kerala, Palakkad district, Attapady and Walayar panchayats; Andhra Pradesh.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Attapady Irula, Irula Urali, Mele Nadu Irula (Malanadu, Southern Irula), Northern Irula (Kasaba, Kasava, Kasuba), Vette Kada Irula (Irula Pallar, Vettakada), Walayar Irula (Urali Irula). Dialects: Vette Kada 73% intelligibility of Mele Nadu; Northern Irula 83% of Mele Nadu; no intelligibility of Tamil [tam] (1993 Irula survey); Vette Kada 94% of Attapady; Walayar 84% of Attapady. (2004 Palakkad survey). Lexical similarity: 78%–86% between Mele Nadu dialect varieties, 67%–70% with Northern Irula, 64%–66% with Vette Kada, 47%–50% with Tamil [tam]. Attapady has 73%–75% with Mele Nadu and 85%–89% with Vette Kada. Walayar has 74%–79% with Attapady, 76% with Vette Kada, and 69% with Mele Nadu.

Typology

SOV; postpositions; nontonal.

Language Use

All domains. Positive attitudes. Also use Badaga [bfq], Kannada [kan], Malayalam [mal], Tamil [tam]. Used as L2 by Attapady Kurumba [pkr].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 20% among adults, 50% among younger generation. Grammar. Bible portions: 2001–2013.
Writing

Malayalam script [Mlym], used in Kerala. Tamil script [Taml], used in Tamil Nadu.

Other Comments

A Scheduled Tribe. Some people called Irula speak Tamil [tam] as mother tongue. Urali Irula (Periyar) is separate from both Betta Kurumba Urali [xub] and Urali [url] in Idukki District, Kerala. Two Urali Irula dialects in Periyar and Palakkad. Traditional religion, Christian.