Few examples of Balochi and Brahui Morphological Similarities

23 Jun

Prof Dr. Abdul Razzaq Sabir

Prof Dr .Abdul Razzaq Sabir


Balochi a language from Northwestern Iranian language group of Indo European languages and Brahui a Proto Dravidian language and member of the northern group of Dravidian languages, spoken in a common region, despite having relation with different language groups have various linguistic similarities. The verbal system, like that of the Iranian languages, is based on the two stems present and past. Present stems are based on the imperative, present indicative, present subjunctive, agent nouns and present participle. In both languages the past stems are used in the preterit indicative, in the compound tenses, such as past indicative, past subjunctive, past perfect, perfect participle, pluperfect and infinitives.


In Balochi the infinitive is to be made from (imp+ag): kan+ag=kanag (to do), war+ag=warag (to eat), jan+ag=janag (to beat), di+ag=diag (to give). On the same pattern the Brahui infinitive is also made from (imp+ing) i.e. at+ing=ating (to bring), khall+ing=khalling (to beat), paach+ing=paaching (to skin), taf+ing=tafing (to tie), chikk+ing=chikking (to catch) etc1.


One of the most characteristic features of Brahui and Balochi languages is the formation of compound verbs i.e. nouns, adjectives and adverbs plus colorless verbs like kanag/kanning (to do), daiag/tinning (to give), booag/manning (to be come), janag/khalling (to beat).The following are examples of the compound verbs:
Brahui Balochi Meaning
kanning/kanag(to do)
Tawaar kanning tawaar kanag (to call)
Bahaa kaning Bahaa kanag (to sell)
jor kanning jor kanag (to make)
Hit kanning habar kanag (to speak)
Manning/beyag(to be come)
deer manning aap beyag (to became water)
khurt manning hurt beyag (to become grind)
Tinning/daig(to give)
dikka tinning dikka deag (to push)
hail tinning hail deag (to learn)
Doo tinning dast deag (to shake hand, to stop)
mon tinning dem deag (to send)
Du khalling dast janag (to touch)
Chakk khalling chakk janag (to turn and see back)
Sar khalling sar janag (to search dissolute)
Kan khalling Cham janag (to inform one by eye)
agent nouns
Agent nouns in both languages are formed by adding of /ok/ to the
present stem, e.g.
Brahui Balochi Meaning
Karok Kanok (doer)
Kunok Warok (eater)
Pulok Pulok (catcher)
Khalok Janok (beater)


Adjectives in Brahui commonly take suffix of /un/ and Balochi takes /en/ and precede the noun. Some common adjectives in Balochi are draajen (long), mazanan (big), sohren (red), kohnen (old), noken (new) while the main common adjectives in Brahui with the suffix of /un/ i.e. balloon (big), murgun (long), paalun (wet), peeun (white), kharrun (green), baasun (hot). In Brahui an adding of /ingaa/ is used after adjectives i.e. baasun /baasningaa/, paalun /paaluninga/ etc2.


The attributive adjective mazan in Balochi means (big) and for the abstract noun the prefix of mazan is commonly used in all the dialects of Balochi. The same morphological construction is used in Brahui with a minor phonetic change by deleting the ending consonant of /n/, and remaining maza is used for the purpose before the noun for example3:
Balochi Brahui Meaning
mazan ponz. maza baamus. (the person having a big nose)
mazan pad. maza paacha. (the person having big legs)
mazan sar. maza sara. (the person having a big head)
mazan dil. maza ust. (the person having big heart)Brave
mazan shaan. maza shaan. (the person having big dignity)


The Baloch and Brahui both languages distinguish two numbers singular and plural by the endings in Balochi /aan/ like:
gis (house) gisaan (houses)
chuk (child) chukaan (children)
kitab (book) kitabaan (books)
In Brahui the main number ending is /aak/ like:
uraa (house) uraak (houses)
chunaa (child) chunaak (children)
kitaab (book) kitaabaak (books)

Apart from the common main number ending in Brahui, there are two other ways are:
a)kaaffi:- In this formation the number ending is only /k/ like, doo (hand), dook (hands), khan (eye), khank (eyes), khaf (ear), khafk (ears).
b)gaaki:- The singular words ending with /a/ have /gaak/ added to them in order to make plural e.g, bala (grandmother), balaghaak (grandmothers), ghala (wheat), ghalaghaak (wheat, many), doosha (snake), dooshaghak (snakes) etc.


Balochi and Brahui both have no distinction of grammatical gender, in case of Brahui, all other Dravidian languages, except Toda and Brahui have kept the old gender system. About this construction in Brahui M.B. Emenue says that “this loss of gender system in Brahui is to be ascribed to Balochi influence on Brahui” 4. Both languages have common use of different words to distinguish between male and female.
piruk (grandfather), baluk (grandmother)
pis (father), maas (mother)
Braas (brother), gwaar (sister)
bachak (boy), jinik (girl or daughter)
Pira (grandfather), balla (grandmother)
Ilum (brother), ir (sister)
baava (father), lumma (mother)
maar (son), masir (girl or daughter)

Some male and female are distinguished by the use of additional words, such as, nar (male) and maadag (female) in Balochi, and naringaa (male) and maadaingaa (female) in Brahui such as:
nar shinik (male lamb), maadagen shinik (female lamb)
nar mazaar (lion), maadagen mazaar (lioness)
Nar tolag (male jackal), maadagen tolag (female jackal)
Nar maar (male snake), maadagen maar (female snake)

naringaa dusha (male snake), maadaingaa dusha (female snake)
naringaa sor (male lamb), maadaingaa sor (female lamb)
naringaa khakho (male crow), maadaingaa khaakho (female crow)
naringaa sher (lion), maadaingaa sher (lioness)


Baloch and Brahui both have three case system, direct, genitive, oblique, both in singular and plural, with the following case endings.
Direct Genitive Oblique
Singular unmarked -na e
Plural unmarked -ta te
Singular unmarked -ay a
Plural unmarked -i a


The case suffix /a/ in common in both languages. J. Elfenben a eminent linguist points out an other this case suffix of -a common in Balochi and Brahui languages. Balochi and Brahui both have a case suffix of /a/ and some times in Brahui /ga/ after a noun e.g.5
Balochi: man mastunga rain (i go to Mastung)
man gisa rain (I go to home)
Brahui: Ee mastungaa kaaava (i go to Mastung)
Ee uraghaa kaava (i go to home)


The echo words in both languages are formed either by changing the initial consonant of the word into the consonant /m/ or by adding /m/ to a word beginning with a vowel e.g. 6
Naan (bread) maan
Log (house or home) mog
Aap (water) map
Chuk (child) muk
Kaagad (paper) maagad
Iragh (bread) miragh
Uraa (house) muraa
Deer (water) meer
Chunaa (child) munaa
Kaaghaz (paper) maaghaz

In the other Iranian languages like Pashto has the same construction, and echo sign in Pashto also has the suffix of /m/ like:
Dodai (bread) modai
Kor (house) mor
Uba (water) Muba

In Balochi and Brahui the initial consonant of the followed by /m/ do not change:
Brahui Balochi
mom, mom (wax) mages, magas (fly)
malakh, malakh (locust) malakh, malakh (locust)
maee, maee (buffalo) maee, maee (buffalo)

Balochi and Brahui both languages some times have echo words in the sense of plural also.
Brahui Balochi
uraa, muraa gis, mis (some houses)
ulee, mulee usp, masp (some horses)
deer, meer aap, map (some water)
chunaa, munaa chuk, muk (some children)


The most common vocative interjections in Balochi and Brahui are e, o, eh, ya, oh and also va, eh, are, urc, pah, toba, ah etc.

USE OF kah.

In Dravidian languages neither the word ki nor the construction is found. It is said that Brahui has borrowed this either from Indo-Aryan or Iranian languages. According to J. Elfenbein “Iranian is by far most likely source for it in Brahui, since its use in the Indo-Aryan languages most likely to have influenced Brahui is much too restricted to account for the large variety of different functions it possesses in Brahui”7.
In Balochi and Brahui both “ki” (if) is used in the following forms:
a)In the meaning of /if/ likely
Brahui: ee ki makhaat oh hum makhaar.
Balochi: man ki handitun a hum handitant
(when I laughed they also laughed)
b)”ki nava”
Brahui: huris ki navaa tamos
Balochi: chon ma bi ki bikapai
(mind your steps)
c)taanki (unless/until) The both languages have borrowed this construction from Persian “ta an ki”.
Brahui: taanki o batane he inpara.(until he/she doesn’t come I will not go)


Other than first three numbers in Brahui asit (one), irut (two) and musit (three) all other numerals in both languages are same. The musit (three) has also become from si (three) of Persian. The numbers from ten to twenty are formed by the appropriate unit da (ten) with certain common phonetic changes:
yaanzda (eleven) dwaanzda (twelve)
Senzda (thirteen) Chaanrda (fourteen)
paanzda (fifteen)
In other instance, in both languages the addition of a unit with tens, hundreds, thousands is brought by means of the suffixial conjunction /o/ , with the large number placed in the first position followed by smaller number e.g.

Balochi Brahui
beest o hapt beest o haft (twenty seven)
chil o char chil o char (forty four)
shast o panch shast o panch (sixty five)
haptaad o sai haftad o sai (seventy three)
chaar sad o navad Chaar sad o navad (four hundred and ninety)
The ordinal numerals are formed from cardinals with the adding of the suffix /mi/ in Balochi and /miko/ in Brahui e.g.8
Brahui Balochi
Chaarmiko Chaarmi (4th)
Beestmiko Beestmi (20th)
See o shash miko See o shash mi (36th)
Chil o do miko chil o do dumi (42nd)
shast o panch miko Shat o panch mi (65th)


Some of the conjunctions used in Balochi and Brahui are same and some of them are of Persian and Arabic origin. Important Brahui/Balochi common conjunctions are under:
Brahui Balochi
Maga Maga (but)
Hum Hum (too, also)
Nai Na (neither…nor…)
wakhtas ki Wahde ki (when)
Aga Aga (if)
Gwaraa Gwaraa (with, near)
Padaa Padaa (behind)
Some other miscellaneous common conjunction in both languages are /ki/ (that) /o/ (and) ,/ya/ (or) etc.


Balochi and Brahui both languages have same sentence structure: minor sentences, major sentences, nominal, verbal and interrogative and compound sentences are to be seen with common structure.


1. Sabir, Abdul Razzak “Some Morphological and structural similarities of Brahui and Balochi languages” Proceedings of the International Symposium on “Linguistic contacts in Balochistan ancient and modern time” published by Department of Iranian Studies, Uppsala University Sweden.2004.pp-151-60.
2. –do—
3. –do—
4. Emeneau, M.B, “languages and linguistic area” edited by Anwar S. Dil essays Murrey, M.B Emeneau, Stanford University Press Stanford California 1980.Page 319.

5. Elfenbein. J “Notes on the Balochi Brahui linguistic commonality” Phiologica Society, Council 1981-82, Oxford pp-77-99. Page 85.

6. Sabir, Abdul Razzak ”Morphological similarities in Brahui and Balochi languages” IJDL, ISDL, Therivenanthapuram, Kerala S.India 1995.

7. Elfenbein. J “Notes on the Balochi Brahui linguistic commonality” Phiologica Society, Council 1981-82, Oxford pp-77-99.

8. Sabir, Abdul Razzaq” Balochi aur Brahui zubanoon ki rawabit” Ph.D dissertation submitted to University of Balochistan, 1994 p.218.


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