Northern Dravidian
North Dravidian
Balochistan and Eastern India
Linguistic classificationDravidian
  • Northern Dravidian
Proto-languageProto-Northern Dravidian

The Northern Dravidian languages are a branch (Zvelebil 1990:56) of the Dravidian languages that includes Brahui, Kurukh and Malto. (There have been slight differences in the way the Dravidian languages are grouped by various Dravidian linguists: See Subrahmanyam 1983, Zvelebil 1990, Krishnamurthi 2003). It is further divided into Kurukh–Malto and Brahui.

Phonological features

Northern Dravidian is characterized by the retraction of Proto Dravidian *k to /q/ before vowels other than /i(:)/ and later spirantizing in Brahui and Kurukh, in return the *c also retracted to /k/ in the same environment.[1]

Initial *w's became b likely due to influence from eastern Indo Aryan languages. Brahui also has a voiceless lateral which formed after the merge of *ḷ to *l as there are words from both of them but the conditions of the split are not clear.[1]



  • Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages. Cambridge Language Surveys (1 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-77111-5.
  • Kobayashi, Masato (2017). The Kurux Language: Grammar, Texts and Lexicon. BRILL. ISBN 9789004347663.