Canarese, Kannada, Ka, Tulu, Nigeria, Egypt, Nile, Migration, Traders.

For long I have been pondering about the nature of the words: Kannada, Karu nadu, Karnataka… and the Greek word for this language Canarese. Also the fact that Brahui, lone dravidian language out there was bothering me for some time… Although it is now considered a recent migration…

I sought to start with Canarese, break it up into parts…
Canara-ese: language spoken in Canara
Canara: Ca + nara

Then I sought the meaning for the words Ka and Nara..
Ka means water. It has several other more prominent meanings.. curiously, the meaning for it in Egyptian and Sanskrit has interesting parallels.

Coming back.. Ka means water.
Nara could mean “a region” or “humans”…

They do say Canara refers to the coastal region along Maharashtra-Karnataka.

But there strongly seems to be some Egypt connection. Yes they did have strong trade going on.. but I suspect something more.

Tulu is one of the early separated languages from dravidian family.. And their population is along the coasts only..Which makes me suspect that the rest of the dravidian settlements were later migrations from the coast inwards… Tulu too means “language of the waters”.

The Egypt – Nigeria Connection:
The curious thing is: There is a river named “Ka” in Nigeria. And a people speaking a language called Kanuri there. In Egypt, there is a very famous and very ancient place “Karnak” along Nile. Some walls on this Karnak temples commemorate victories over “Sea People”.


Tulu people have a famous saying: “If it’s tough at home; run away and survive”.  Tamil literature makes reference to migration from another sunken island “Kumari Khandam”, which was believed to be south of Kanya Kumari. The Meru clans near Mount Kenya, say a similar migration story. And during the long and constant battles among the “Sea People” and Egyptian kings, there was constant displacement and migration of people..

Many of the words seen in North Eastern Africa would sound like Dravidian words.. Very hard to ignore ones are: Meru, Hatti, Eshuwara, many words with “esh” suffix, apiru (habiru), etc.,

Curious to see if anyone has drawn comparisons between Nilo-Saharan and Dravidian Languages, a search returned this book, which suggests these links.

Over all, it has been crazy exploring and I realize not that scholarly…

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24 Responses to “Canarese, Kannada, Ka, Tulu, Nigeria, Egypt, Nile, Migration, Traders.”

  1. Lalu says:

    Gud analysis. sounds interesting. Do you have any idea, why Kannada is written an Canara or why Saadi is written as Saree? Or for that matter Dharwad as Dharwar, Chandigardh as Chandigarh?

  2. Gubbi says:

    Thats an interesting angle. Hadn’t occurred to me. I’m sure a proper linguist would have an answer to this. Also, the usage of “da”, “ra” isn’t consistent. A southerner would say: Kannada, Dharwad, Saari, Chandigarh. The “da” and “ra” are mixed.

  3. Bert says:

    There are two possible explanations of the usage of ‘r’ in English words for the ‘d’s in Indian languages.

    1. The English (and usually the European) ‘d’ is from the front of the mouth. The tip of the tongue touches the area just above the front palate, almost immediately about the teeth. There is no equivalent sound in Indian languages. The Indian ‘d’ is prodcued by the tongue touching the middle of the palate.
    Hence, the English writers of Indian words could not possibly use the ‘d’ of English to denote the Indian ‘d’.

    2. Bengali babus would have been the main Indian translaters for the English writers. Bengalis usually use the sound ‘r’ for Indian words having ‘d’.

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