Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 2 : 6 September 2002

Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Associate Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Dissertation

A Contrastive Analysis of Hindi and Malayalam

V. Geethakumary, Ph.D.

© V. Geethakumary 2002. Ph.D. in Linguistics, Awarded by the University of Kerala, 1997. Guide: Dr.G.K.Panikkar. Click HOME PAGE of Language in India for the current issue articles. Click BACK ISSUES for previous issues.


The thesis entitled ‘Contrastive Analysis of Hindi and Malayalam’ mainly deals with the similarities and dissimilarities of the two languages, Malayalam and Hindi, in the phonological, morphological and syntactical levels. In the introductory chapter, some remarks are given about the Contrastive analysis, Malayalam and Hindi languages. In the second chapter, comparison of the segmental and suprasegmental features of the sounds of Malayalam and Hindi has been made and similarities and dissimilarities between the two languages are brought out. In Chapter three, comparisons has been made for nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs and adverbs of the two languages at morphological level. Chapter four, deals with the comparison of different kinds of sentences and clause structures. The concluding remarks of the above contrastive studies have are outlined in chapter five. This study is helpful for L2 learners in the process of language acquisition and also for the descriptive study of the languages.

My grateful thanks are due to Professor G. K. Panikkar who diligently superivised my thesis work and offered me several suggestions regarding the content and format of the thesis, as well as the analysis of the materials. I am immensely grateful to Dr. B. A. Sharada, one of the Associate Editors of Language in India, who formatted the entire thesis for its presentation in the online journal. My thanks are due also to Dr. B. Mallikarjun who helped me and encouraged me to publish my dissertation.

V. Geethakumary



1.0 Introduction
1.1 1.1 Contrastive Analysis
1.2 Need for contrastive Analysis in India
1.3 Malayalam language
1.4 Hindi language
1.5 The present study
1.5.1 Data for the Analysis

0. Introduction

Contrastive Analysis

A systematic comparative study analyzing component wise the differences and similarities among languages was clearly recognized towards the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, especially in Europe (Grandgent, 1928; Vietor, 1894 and 1903; Passy, 1912; Mathesius, 1928 and 1936). The term `Contrastive linguistics’ was suggested by Whorf (1941), for comparative study which is giving emphasis on linguistic differences. Meanwhile contrastive linguistics has been redefined as `a subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the comparison of two or more languages or subsystems of languages in order to determine both the differences and similarities between them'(Fisiak, 1981: 1).

The Publication of Robert Lados Book `Linguistics across cultures’ in 1957 marks the real beginning of modern applied contrastive linguistics. In later studies, as an alternative for contrastive linguistics, the term `Contrastive analysis’ is used (Ramaswamy 1988: 7). Contrastive Analysis is the method of analyzing the structure of any two languages with a view to estimate the differential aspects of their systems, irrespective or their genetic affinity or level of development. Contrastive analysis of two languages become useful when it is adequately describing the sound structure and grammatical structure of two languages, with comparative statements, giving due emphasis to the compatible items in the two systems. It is assumed that learing of second languege is faicilitated whenever there are similarities between that language and mother tongue. Learning may be interfered with when there are marked contrasts between mother tongue and second language (Nickel, 1971:).

The contrastive analysis emphasises the influence of the mother tongue in learning a second language in phonological, morphological and syntactic levels. Examination of the differences between the first and second languages help to predict the possible errors that can be made by L2 learners (Krishnaswamy, Verma, Nagarajan 1992). Contrastive analysis is not merely relevant for second language teaching but it can also make useful contributions to machine translatin and linguistic typology. It is relevant to the designing of teaching material for use in all age groups. Chaturvedi (1973) suggests the following guiding principles for contrastive study:

(i) To analyse the mother tongue and the target language independently and completely. (ii) To compare the two languages item-wise-item at all levels of their structure. (iii) To arrive at the categories of a) similar featrues b) partially similar features. c) dissimilar features - for the target language. (iv) To arrive at principles of text preparation, test framing and target language teaching in general.

This type of study will provide an objective and scientific base for second language teaching. While learning a second language if the mother tongue of the learner and the target language both have significantly similar linguistic features on all the levels of their structures there will not be much difficulty in learing the new language in a limited time. For knowing the significantly similar structures in both languages the first step to be adopted is that both languages should be analysed independently. After the independent analysis, to sort out the different features of the two languages, comparison of the two languages is necessary. From this analysis it is easy to make out that at different levels of structures of these two languages there are some features quite similar and some quite dissimilar.

According to the popular assumptions of the contrastive analysis, the structural similarities will lead to facilitation and differences will cause interferences in the context of second/foreign language learning situations. This is however only a prediction and a partial understanding of the problems and prospects of a second/foreign language situation. The learner's problems are not always constrained to the predictions of a contrastive study. Teachers' competence, motivation and attitude of learners, teaching methods and instructional materials are the other variables that can significantly influence second/foreign language teaching. However, a contrastive grammer is highly useful for a motivated teacher and a learner for a more effective process of teaching and learning.

1.2 Need for contastive analysis in India

India is a multilingual country and each linguistic community has some peculiar problems of its own. All the cultivated languages of India (whether Indo-aryan or Dravidian) are surprisingly similar as far as their vocabulary and syntactial order are concerned. Phonologically also, these languages have many common or similar features. Yet all these languages are independent languages, having their own independent structure. From the very beginning of their school education the children start learning the standard language or official language of their respective states.

Keeping in view the multiplicity of languages and the need to foster national integration, learning of one or two Indian languages other than one's own mother tongue has become very important. It is only in this context the Government of India has envisaged the three languages Formula in the Indian educational system. According to the formula, learning of Hindi in the South Indian states and learning of one of the modern languages in the Hindi speaking states have been emphasized in addition to the study of English for both the groups. For a proper implementation of the scheme contrastive studies between different Indian languages especially between Hindi and other Indian languages have become a desideratum.

1.3 Malayalam language

Malayalam belongs to the Dravidian family of languages and is one of the four major languages of this family with a rich literary tradtion. According to the 1981 census it is spoken by over 25,952,966 people, primarily in the state of Kerala. The majority of Malayalam speakers lives in the Kerala state and in the union territory of Lakshadweep. Large and small groups of Malayalam speakers from Kerala are found throught India and even abroad. The origin of Malayalam as a distinct language may be traced to the last quarter of 9th Century A.D. (Ramaswamy Iyer., 1936). Throughout its gradual evolution Malayalam has been influenced by the various circumstances prevailed on different periods. The important influences among these is the influence of Sanskrit and Prakrit brought into Kerala by Brahmins. After the 11th century a unique mixture of the native languages of Kerala and Sanskrit known as `Manipravalam’ served as the medium of literary expression (Ramaswamy Iyer., 1936). In modern Malayalam also a good part of vocabulary is of Sanskritic origin. Influence of Sanskrit is evident in the alphabet, phonology and vocabualry and to a lesser extent in morphology also. There are different spoken forms in Malayalam even though the literary dialect throughtout Kerala is almost uniform. The first major dialect survey of Malayalam, started in the second half of 1965 by the Department of Linguistics University of Kerala, was completed in 1968. The report of this survey (Subramoniam, V.I., 1974) points out twelve major dialect areas on the basis of the speech of the Ezhavas/Tiyas residing throughtout Kerala.

The formation of the State Institute of Languages in 1968 was a step for the adoption of Malayalam as the official language of Kerala state. The institute is trying to change the medium of instruction into Malayalam by preparing glossaries and university level text books in Malayalam. To translate all acts and rules applicable in Kerala into Malayalam and to prepare a glossary, an official language commission was set up by the governemnt in 1968. To facilitate legislation in Malayalam the Kerala official language Act was passed in 1969. It was presumed that by the end of 1978-1979 Malayalam was to be the official language in all government offices, government undertakings and the courts up to the taluk level, though the desired goal is not yet achieved.

'liilaatilakam’ is the first account of Malayalam grammar appeared in the fourteenth century treaties on literary theory (Ilamkulam Kunjan Pillai). The authorship of `liilaatilakam’ is anonymous. It is written in Sanskrit about `manipravala’ (combination of Sanskrit and Malayalam). Two of the important traditional grammars published in Malayalam are Gundert’s ‘malayalabhasha vyakaranam’and Raja Raja Varma’s ‘keralapanainiyam’. Gundert’s grammer was published, first a shortened version, in 1851, and later the full text in 1968. `keralapaniniyam’ was first published in 1896, and the revised and enlarged edition in 1917. The native scholars also prepared grammar for Malayalam during this period. George Mathan (1863) `malayalamyuTevyakaranam’, Paachu Mottatu (1876) `kerala bhasayuTe vyakaraNam’, Kovunni Nedungadi (1878) `kerala kaumudi’, Seshagiri prabhu (1919) `vyakaranamitram’ are notable works.

The advancement of modern structural linguistics has led to a systematic, scientific and methodological study of comparative Dravidian in general especially with reference to phonology. A series of articles by Burrow was published in BSOAS during 1937-1947, dealing with a number of phonological problems raised in Caldwell’s time. During this period Emeneau also had his studies in Dravidian especially the the non- literary language of South Dravidian. His works were mainly descriptive and were about the cultural aspects of these tribal tongues. Burrow and Emeneau’s ‘Dravidian Etymological Dictionary’ also belongs to this century. L.V Ramaswamy Iyer’s contribution to Dravidian Linguistics especially Malayalam and Tulu, during this period is noteworthy. From 1925 to the year of independence he wrote all aspects of Malayalam linguistics - comparative phonology, morphology and etymology. ‘Grammar of liilatilakam’ and `Evolution of Malayalam Morphology' written by L.V.R. should be specially mentioned. K..Ramakrishanayya’s work `Dravidian cognates’ is yet another work on comparative Dravidian. `Kerala Bhasha Vijnaniyam’ by K.Godavarma whcih is first published in 1951 is an important contribution in the history of Malayalam linguistics. A.C.Shekar’s (1963) `Evaluation of Malayalam’ deals with descriptive grammar of the language of early inscriptions of Malayalam from the 10th to the 13th centuries. The current trend of historical and comparative linguistics studies in Malayalam is more leaned towards the exploration of dialects. (Sreedevi 1991: 6-8).

1.4 Hindi Language

Hindi belongs to Indo -Aryan family of languages which is a subgroup of Indo-European. According to 1981 census, Hindi is spoken natively by 264, 189,057 speakers whcih is the largest number of speakers of any languages in India (Koul, 1994).

The source of modern Hindi is Khariboli, whcih is direct descendant of sauraseni, but having many other influences. Apart from the various Apabhramsas, Persian and Arabic have also influenced Kahriboli as early as the 13th - 14th centuries A.D. as certified by the verses of Amir Khusro. The growth of Urdu by the side of native Hindi resulted in mutual penetration, especially in the field of voabulary. Many Urdu words found their way in the common spoken style of Hindi, but the grammatical core did not admit much change. With the establishment of British rule in India and the spread of English on a vast scale, Hindi was also influenced by English. On the other hand, with the renaissance movement all through the country in the last quarter of the 19th century,when Hindi got a new life, it began to draw words from sanskrit. During the period of the freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi, with an idea of evolving a widely acceptable common medium, advocated the development of a simple style of the language,which would absorb simlple and commonly used elements of both Urdu and Sanskrit but avoid highly leterary words. This was called Hindustani, while the style with Sanskrit leaning was continued to be called Hindi. As the vehicle of analytical thought, the elite language has a predominantly sanskritic vocabulary. Not only Sanskrit words find abundant use in this style to the exclusion of Persion, Arabic and even native Hindi words, but also the derivational and morphophonemic changes are effected to a large extent on the basis of Sanskrit grammar.

The modern Hindi, the language of formal communication, has been taken up for analysis and description here. From olden days pilgrims from North India used to visit important piligrim centres in Kerala. They were provided boarding facilities free of charge by the Government of Travancore and Cochin. To help the pilgrims to communicate with the natives the services of translators were also provided. They had to know both Hindi and Malayalam. For this purpose many natives who wished to work as translators began to study Hindi, and those who were attracted by this language also tried to practice the language.

The rulers of Travancore were genrally interested in education especially Swati Tirunal Ramavarma. He knew many languages and wrote forty padams in Vrja bhasha and this is an excellent work in Hindi.

In olden days the military of Kerala included Maratha and Rajput regiments. They knew Hindi-Hindustani. According to an aggreement reached by the king of Mysore and Cochin, the members of the Cochin royal family were made to study Urdu, for whcih Urdu maulavi was appointed in 1930. In 1931 he was replaced by a Hindi instructor.

In the vicinity of the harbours of Kiozhikode, Cannanore, Cochin and Kollam there lived many merchants from North India, who spoke Marvadi, Gujarathi and Arabic, all of whom knew Hindustani. To transact with them freely the natives had to study Hindi. In this way due to historical, realigious and commercial reasons, the study of Hindi began to gain memntum in Kerala.

In 1922, Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachara Sabha, Madras Deputed K.M. Damodaran Unni for popularising Hindi in Kerala. He stayed in North India and studied both Sanskrit and Hindi. He toured many places in Keala for months teaching Hindi. In those centres he entrusted to the best student, the duty of teaching Hindi to the other aspirants. Thus each centre became self-sufficient and helped in spreading Hindi. Thus K.M. Domodaran Unni was considered to be the first `Hindi Pracharak’ in Kerala.

Till 1925 Dakshin Hindi Prachar Sabha sent several `pracharakas’ to spread Hindi Education in Kerala, of them the names of K.Kesavan Nayar and Swami Sankarananda deserve special mentioning. They opened a good number of new centers from which many students were sent to Dakshin Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras where they studied for a few years and returned to Kerala to spread Hindi among the Keralites. The spread of Hindi language gained momentum with the freedom struggle.

In 1932, Dakshin Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras started a local branch at Ernakulam. Shri. M.Chandrahasan was appointed as the `Saghamantri'. As a result of his hard work another branch was opened in Travancore. Shri. Davadut Vidyarthi was appointed as `Saghamantri' of their branch. He began to manage the task of spreading Hindi in Travancore and Malabar. From 1932-36 many Hindi instutitions were successfully opened and many important persons such as M.Vasubhainan, P.K. Narayanan Nayar, C.G. Gopal Krishnan, Smt. Kuttimalu Amma, P.Govind Nayar, K.Kelappan came into contact with the Hindi Prachar Sabha. Owing to the close association of these eminent men with Hindi Prachar Sabha the learning of Hindi began to gain such an unprecedented importance that the common man felt the necessity of learning the language.

In 1935 Travncore assembly passed a resolution to introduce Hindi as an additional langauge in schools. By 1936 in many of the schools in Malabar Hindi had already been introduced. To Hindi girls schools were opened in Cochin and Travancore. The students were awarded scholarships by the Prachara Sabha. From 1950 the Travancore-Cochin state made Hindi a compulsory subject in schools. From 1936 colleges of Kerala started to teach Hindi.

In 1936 Kerala provincial sabha was started in Ernakulam after closing the branch in Thiruvananthapuram. Through celebrations of Hindi week, conferences and discussions of teachers and students Hindi became popular among the people.

To impart better training to the instructors Hindi Mahavidyalayas were started in 1947. Many successful candidates came out from these institutions after passing different Hindi examinations.

In 1934, K. Vasudevan Pillai started Kerala Hindi Prachar Sabha, Thiruvananthapuram, to train pupils for examinations conducted by Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras. This he continued upto 1948. From there it functions as an independent organisation for the promotion of Hindi in Kerala. Thus due to the efforts of the organisations like Hindi Prachar Sabha and through the coaching from schools and colleges good section of the Kerala population knows how to read and write Hindi. But it may be noted that as for the speaking ability further progress is to be achieved. (Gangasaran Singh, 1982).

1.5 The Present Study

The present study has been undertaken keeping in view the growing demands of learning Hindi in Kerala and Malayalam in the Hindi speaking states. Malayalam and Hindi structures have been systematically compared in this study at different linguistic levels namely, phonological, morphological and syntactic. In Chapter 2, which immediately follows this chapter, comparison of the segmental and suprasegmental features of the sounds of Malayalam and Hindi has been made and the similarities and dissimilarities between the two languages are brought out. In Chapter 3, comparison has been made for nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs and adverbs of the two languages at morphological level. Chapter 4 deals with the comparison of different kinds of sentences and clause structures. The concluding remarks of the above contrastive studies have been outlined in Chapter 5.

1.5.1 Data for the Analysis

Data for the present analysis of standard Malayalam and Hindi languages were collected from newspapers. For this purpose daily newspapers from both the languages were selected and indexed for ready reference. For getting Malayalam data the daily ‘Malayala Manorama’ and for Hindi ‘Navbharat Times’ of the same date i.e., from 12th June - 16th June 1990 were selected. From these papers all news items, except those from sports, film and advertisement pages, were indexed. For further analysis of phonology, morphology and syntax standard works were referred. Hindi pronunciation is also checked with the pronunciation of Faruq Ansari who is a native speaker of Hindi from Uttar Pradesh.

*** *** ***