An Indonesian I met this summer told me the word for "no" is /tiTa/ I
haven't checked it out but the way she said it the second
(capitalised) /t/ sounded definitely retroflex.
Also some Kenyan/Zimbabwean cricketer's names (beg pardon for the non-
academic nature of my sources) I've noticed have decidedly retroflex
stops. So I guess good ole mom Africa is not lacking in this
As for lack of fricatives (I believe you're not counting the
ubiquitous /v/), not only Dravidian but most Nothern Indian languages
severely lack them. The only exception perhaps being Urdu (including
the 'dakhni' dialect spoken down south in the Deccan, differing only
in its lack of aspirations [pun intended]) which has borrowed vastly
from arabic, persian and turkish. Btw, there are flavours of
dravidian languages (like my native dialect of telugu) where
fricatives have creeped in through a centuries of persian and turkish
domination before the Raj.
Oh and while we're on the topic, let me use my indemnity of being
Indian to declare this: it is typical of us Indians to go about
claiming that 'we're the only ones' to do this or have that. This
half-baked jingoism is not to be taken too seriously.
--- In phoNet@y..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@i...> wrote:
> Here's an interesting working paper on Warlpiri phonology from the
University of Queensland:
> You can see (cf. the "Warlpiri Consonants" link) that the language
is typologically close to Dravidian (a long row of oral and nasal
stops: bilabial, alveolar, retroflex, palatal [palatoalveolar],
velar), no fricatives at all, and a large collection of liquids,
including no fewer than three phonemes classifiable as rhotics. This
of course doesn't mean that Warlpiri is genetically related to
Dravidian -- a typological affinity may result from a combination of
pure chance and various implicational universals.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: liberty@p...
> To: phoNet@y...
> Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 11:02 PM
> Subject: [phoNet] Re: Retroflex Stops
> Thanks so much Piotr. I hate to have put you out looking for
> other examples. There was a question on the IndianCivilization
> list as to whether the Indic languages were unique in this aspect.
> Off hand it didn't seem likely to me but I wasn't sure and so I
> wanted to see what my "guru-ji" had to say :-)