Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bandicoot

One of the families of language spoken in the Indian Subcontinent, is called Dravidian. About 170 million people speak one or other of the Dravidian languages.  Within the family of Dravidian languages there is a language called Telugu, and it's from Telugu that the Bandicoot gets its name. And it's interesting to me because I always thought that the Bandicoot got its name from Australia.  Amongst speakers of the Telugu language, I am told, their Bandicoot is called a  'Bantikoku.' And here 'banti' means ball and 'kokku' means long beak.

A Bantikoku is an aggressive rat which lives in houses in the southern part of the Indian Subcontinent. Its head and body measure about ten inches and if you add the tail you could easily be looking at twenty inches. Nor, from its picture, does it look very much like a ball and a long beak.  But the Australian marsupial Bandicoot does kind of look like a ball and a long beak.  If you imagine an Ant Eater, a little bit of Kanagroo and a big mouse. And then you add a ball with a long beak to your mental picture, you've got yourself a pretty good representation of the Australian Bandicoot.

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