Sora language

Region India
Ethnicity Sora
Native speakers
250,000 (2001 census)[1]
Sora Sompeng, Latin, Telugu
Language codes
ISO 639-3 srb
Glottolog sora1254[2]

Sora, or Savara (also Saora, Saonras, Shabari, Sabar, Saura, Sawaria, Swara, Sabara), is a Munda language of India, spoken by some 288,000 native speakers (1997) in South Odisha in eastern India. Sora is written in the Latin and Telugu scripts, as well as the Sorang Sompeng script devised for the language in 1936. Many Sora people have the family name or surname Savara.

A supposed Dravidian language with the same name is evidently spurious.[3][4]

Juray is considered by some to be a dialect of Sora.[5]


Speakers are concentrated mainly in Ganjam District, Gajapati District (central Gumma Hills region (Gumma Block), etc.[5]), and Rayagada District, but are also found in adjacent areas such as Koraput and Phulbani districts; other communities exist in northern Andhra Pradesh (Vizianagaram District and Srikakulam District), Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the Plains Division of Assam.


Sora has 18 consonants. Obstruents may be pre-glottalized, i.e. [ʔm], [ʔb], but this awaits further analysis in Sora.[5]

  Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stops voiceless p t   c k ʔ
voiced b d   ɟ ɡ  
Fricatives   s      
Nasals m n   ɲ ŋ  
Flap     ɽ r    
Lateral   l        
Glides       j    


Sora has 8 vowels that can each be stressed, with the exception of [ə] which cannot be stressed. Vowel length is not phonemic in Sora, although vowel length varies lexically and based on stress or expressiveness.[5]

  Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid-high     ʊ
Mid e ə o
Low   a  

Media coverage

Sora was one of the subjects of Ironbound Films' 2008 American documentary film The Linguists, in which two linguists attempted to document several moribund languages.[6]

Further reading


  1. Sora at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Sora". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "Glottolog".
  4. 1 2 3 4 Anderson, Gregory D.S (ed). 2008. The Munda languages. Routledge Language Family Series 3.New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32890-X.
  5. Honeycutt, Kirk (18 January 2008). "The Linguists". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
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