(Last Updated on : 10/02/2010)
Kuvi is a tribal language that is spoken in the state of Orissa. Kuvi language belongs to the Dravidian language
family. Interestingly, this language was not recognized and identified as one of the languages in the reports of Census until the year 1971. However, Khond/Kondh and Kui are enumerated separately as two different mother tongues in the Census reports of the years of 1951, 1961 and 1971. Reports say that the numerical strength of Kui speakers has always been higher than that of Kuvi tribal language.
Kuvi language is identified as a dialect of the Kui language. In Census report of the year 1971, Kuvi is indicated as an alternate name for Khond/Kondh. Thus, Kuvi Kondh (Kuvi language speaking tribe) can evidently be identified with Kuvi. Apparently Kuvi speaking Konds prefer to return their tribal name as their mother tongue, even though the speakers of the other languages like Kui, Manda, etc. are also designated as Khonds by their neighbouring Oriyas. Kuvi tribal language is spoken mainly in the Koraput district
and also in the adjoining districts, such as Kalahandi, Ganjam and Phulbani of the state of Orissa
and in the border of the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh
Due to extensive bilingualism and constant interaction the carryover of certain linguistic features which are not indigenous to Dravidian has taken place into Kuvi language from the contact languages. These features of convergence have been noticed at the phonological, structural and lexical levels. The direction of the convergence in a minor language like Kuvi is largely towards the dominant language. However, in Kuvi certain convergent features have been observed towards the direction of other minority languages also. A number of features from the dominant Oriya language
have been embedded into Kuvi language at various levels. Like for instance, Dravidian languages do not have voiced stops in die indigenous phonemic structure. Due to extensive borrowing of vocabulary from, and convergence towards Oriya language, Kuvi has developed some voicing.
The phonemic system of the Kuvi language is converged with that of Oriya by the adoption of a binary opposition of stops, like voiceless vs. voiced. There is a resemblance between Kuvi language and Oriya in the formation of a class of nouns. This is originally an Indo-Aryan feature which has been embedded into the Kuvi language structure. A type of compound formed by the fusion of the two members adopting the system of 'sandhi' in Indo-Aryan languages
is also found in Kuvi. Thus, in this language, the system of compound-formation and 'sandhi' formation is due to the convergence towards the dominant Oriya language.