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The Garhwali are a people of the hilly Garhwal Divisionmarker of Uttarakhandmarker, Indiamarker. The Garhwali language belongs to the Pahari (Northern) subgroup of Indo-Aryan.

Garhwali is a hilly dialect originated from medieval Hindi. In the middle period of the course of development of Hindi, there were many "apbhransh" (dialects) of Hindi. Of these, the most popular "apbhransh" of western India was "Saurseni". Saurseni gave birth to three sub-language those were Western-Hindi (in the region around Mathuramarker, Meerutmarker and Delhimarker), Rajasthani (in Rajasthanmarker) and Pahari (west-sub Himalayan region).

The Pahari sub language is the mother of the Garhwali dialect along with Kumauni (spoken in the Kumaun region of Uttrakhandmarker) and Himanchali (spoken in Himachal Pradeshmarker). The closest language is Kumauni (or Kumaoni) to its immediate east, in the Central subgroup of the Pahari chain of dialects stretching from Himachal Pradeshmarker to Nepalmarker. Garhwali, like Kumauni, has many regional dialects spoken in different places in Uttarakhandmarker. The script used for Garhwali is Devanagari.

The Bangani dialect of Garhwali played a role in Indo-European studies in the 1980s, when Claus-Peter Zoller announced the discovery of apparent traces of a centum language in it. However, George van Driem and Suhnu Sharma later went there to do further fieldwork [142141], and claim that it is in fact a satem language, and that Zoller's data were flawed. Zoller does not accept this [142142][142143], and claims that it was their data that was flawed.


  • Pahari
    • Tehri/Sailani (Gangapariya) - spoken in Tehrimarker Garhwalmarker.
    • Jaunsari - spoken in Jaunsar-Babar area (strongly related to neighbouring Himachali dialects), only limited mutual intelligibility with the other dialects.
    • Srinagari - classical Garhwali spoken in erstwhile royal capital, similar to Pauri.
    • Badhani
    • Dessaulya
    • Lohbya
    • Majh-Kumaiya
    • Bhattiani
    • Nagpuriya
    • Rathi
    • Salani (Pauri)
    • Ravai
    • Bangani
    • Parvati - reportedly not mutually intelligible with other dialects.
    • Jaunpuri
    • Gangadi (Uttarkashi)
    • Chandpuri
    • Jadhi - Spoken in parts of Uttarkashimarker.

(Linguistically unrelated but geographically neighboring languages include: the Tibeto-Burman language Marchi/Bhotia - spoken by Marchas, neighbouring Tibet.)

Garhwali is a dialect spoken by four million Garhwali people, mostly living in the Garhwali region of a north Indian state Uttarakhand. Almost all people who can speak and understand Garhwali can speak and understand Hindi also. This is one of the dialects which is shrinking very rapidly and becoming out of fashion. Most of the educated people who live in cities hardly speak Garhwali and in most cases parents still speak and understand Garhwali but their children cannot. Although it is easy to write Garhwali in Hindi (Devnagri) script, there is hardly any literature available in Garhwali.

In the last few decades there have been many singers like Narendra Singh Negi who have made people interested in Garhwali by their popular songs and videos. On an average there is one movie in four or five years in Garhwali. If you are planning to visit tourist places of this Middle Himalayan Region (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Uttarkashi, Joshimath etc.), your knowledge of Garhwali can be useful.


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