Kuwi, Kuvinga, Kond, Khondi, Jatapu
କୁଭି, କୁୱି
Native toIndia
RegionOdisha, Andhra Pradesh
Ethnicity1,627,486 Khonds (2011 census)
Native speakers
155,548 (2011 census)[1]
  • South-Central
    • Gondi–Kui
      • Kuvi–Kui
        • Kuvi
Language codes
ISO 639-3kxv

Kuvi is a South-Central Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Odisha. The language is one of two spoken by the Kandhas, with the other being the closely related and more dominant Kui language. According to the 2011 Indian census, there are around 155,000 speakers. The orthography is the Odia script. The grammatical structure of this language is comparable to other similar languages such as Kui which all fall under the classification of a Dravidian language.

Background information

According to a study regarding population structure of tribal populations in central India, information was collected from the Koraput district of Odisha about the Kuvi Kandhas. There were 325,144 people in the district according to the 1971 census. The Kuvi Kandhas are agriculturalists, and their physical appearance is similar to other Kandha groups.[2]


Within a study done by A.G. Fitzgerald and F. V. P. Schulze, they spent some time interrogating Kuvi speakers in Araku in Andhra Pradesh. Their information came from a village called Sunkarametta. They also went to Gudari to study the Kuttiya dialect of Kui, and found a Kuvi speaker. It was found that the speakers location influenced their speech. The Kuvi speaker described himself as a Parja Kandha, so some of his dialect is abbreviated by P, while the dialect studied at Araku was indicated by Su. The following vowels and consonants are necessary for the language.[3]

Front Central Back
short long short long short long
High i u
Mid e o
Low a
Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal/
Velar Glottal
Nasal m ɳ ŋ
voiceless p ʈ t͡ʃ k ʔ
voiced b ɖ d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative s h
Approximant ʋ l j
Rhotic r ɽ


All Central Dravidian languages are unified in gender and number distinctions. There is the distinction of masculine vs non-masculine (or feminine and non human) both in singular and plural. There is a simplex negative tense consisting of verb base + negative suffix + personal ending present in all Dravidian languages.[6]

Kuvi English
va:ha having come
hi:ha having given
to:sea having shown

Kuvi language also contains a past negative tense with the structure- verb base + negative suffix + past suffix + personal ending.

Kuvi English
hi: -?a-t-e? I did not give.

Past tense

Past Tense Examples
English Kuvi
I was nānu mazzee
You were nīnu mazzi
He was evasi mazzesi
She was ēdi mazze
We were mambu mazzomi
You were mīmbu mazzeri
They were evari mazzeri

Present tense

Present Tense Examples
English Kuvi
I am nānu mai
You are nīnu manzi
He is evasi mannesi
We are mambu mannomi
You are mimbu manzeri
They are evari manneri

See also


  1. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". www.censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  2. ^ DAS, K., MALHOTRA, K., MUKHERJEE, B., WALTER, H., MAJUMDER, P., & PAPIHA, S. (1996). Population Structure and Genetic Differentiation among 16 Tribal Populations of Central India. Human Biology, 68(5), 679-705.
  3. ^ BURROW, T., & BHATTACHARYA, S. (1963). NOTES ON KUVI WITH A SHORT VOCABULARY. Indo-Iranian Journal, 6(3/4), 231-289.
  4. ^ Krishnamurti (2003), pp. 72
  5. ^ Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian languages (null ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-511-06037-3.
  6. ^ Krishnamurti, B. (2005). M. B. Emeneau, 1904-2005. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 125(4), 481-497.
  7. ^ a b Schulze, F. V. P. (1911). A grammar of the Kuvi language, with copious examples. Madras. p. 12 – via archive.org. ((cite book)): External link in |via= (help)CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

Further reading