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Sam Mohan Lal
There are a number of minor languages or dialects in the Dravidain family which are yet to be studied and described in detail. Urali was such a dialect until Mr. Sam Mohan Lal chose to study it and present a detailed description of the Urali speech for his Ph.D in linguistics from the university of Mysore. Mr Sam Mohan Lal registered for his Ph.D under my guidance in 1976, submitted his dessertation in 1981 and was awarded the Ph.D degree in 1982. Before he submitted his synopsis for Ph.D registration, we wrote to several scholors in dravidian linguistics to ascertain weather any detailed work has been done on this minor language/dialect. We found out that unfortunately until then no linguistic description of Urali speech, a very significant relative or component of Irula Phylum, has been made. There have been references in ethnographic publications that Urali is somewhat related to Irula group. In order to arrive at a comprehensive view of Urali speech in relation to Irula group, we decieded that a detailed ethnographic description should precede the detailed linguistic description in the dissertation.
This decision turned out to be a very useful one, for which we have now not only a first hand detailed and comprehensive linguistic description but also an elaborate ethnographic description of Urali tribe by the way of an introductory chapter in the dessertation. This chapter, inneed places the Urali sppech in its social and cultural milieu and has been appreciated by the examiners and other scholars who read the thesis. I am glad to note that Dr.Sam Mohan Lal has inneed taken afurther step forward in this monograph Urali An Ethonographic Study which is now in press
My teacher, a great intellectual and a Jambavaan in linguistics, Professor Sukumaran Sen, Told me, that day in january 1967 when i submitted my Ph.D thesis, that completion and submission of a Ph.D thesis is just the beginning of once research career and not an end to his or her research pursuits. I am glad and grateful that Dr.Sam Moham Lal has listened to and acted upto this voice of wisdom. The world of Urali also offers oppurtunities for us to test our world view and research hypothesis. I believe that A Descriptive Analysis of Urali and Urali An Ethnographic study will further increase our knowledge of the dravidian tribal languages and motivate our concern for the speakers of these languages





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