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Marathi ( ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central Indiamarker. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtramarker. There are 90 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi is the 4th most spoken language in India and the 15th most spoken language in the world. Marathi is the oldest of the regional literatures in Indo-Aryan languages, dating from about AD 1000.

Marathi is estimated to be more than 1300 years old, evolving from Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. Its grammar and syntax derive from Pali and Prakrit. In ancient times, Marathi was called Maharashtri, Marhatti, Mahratti etc.

Peculiar features of Marathi linguistic culture include Marathi drama, with its unique flavour of 'Sangeet Natak' (musical dramas), scholarly discourses called 'Vasant Vyakhyanmala' (Lectures in Spring), Marathi folk dance called 'Lavani', and special editions of magazines for Diwali called 'Diwali anka'.

Geographic distribution

Marathi is spoken in India, Mauritius and Israel.
Marathi is also spoken by emigrant Maharashtrians worldwide, especially in the U.S. and Europe.
Marathi is primarily spoken in Maharashtramarker and parts of neighboring states of Gujaratmarker, Madhya Pradeshmarker, Goamarker, Karnatakamarker, Chattisgarhmarker and Andhra Pradeshmarker, union-territories of Daman-diumarker and Dadra Nagar Havelimarker. The cities of Baroda, Surat, Ahmedabad and Belgaum (Karnataka), Indore, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Tanjore (Tamil Nadu) each have sizable Marathi-speaking communities. Marathi is also spoken by Maharashtrian émigrés worldwide, in the United Statesmarker, UAEmarker, South Africa, Singaporemarker, Germanymarker, UKmarker, Australia, Japanmarker and New Zealandmarker. The Ethnologue states that Marathi is spoken in Israelmarker and Mauritiusmarker.

Official status

Marathi is an official language of the Indian state of Maharashtramarker, and a co-official language or used for official purposes in Goamarker, union territory of Daman and Diumarker and Dadra Nagar haveli. The Constitution of India recognizes Marathi as one of India's 22 official languages.

In addition to all universities in Maharashtra, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Barodamarker (Gujarat), Osmania University (Andhra Pradesh), Gulbargamarker university (Karnataka), Devi Ahilya University of Indoremarker and Goa University (Panajimarker) all have special departments for higher studies in Marathi linguistics. Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) has announced plans to establish a special department for Marathi.

History

The Prakrit vernacular languages, including Maharashtri Prakrit, were originally derived from Vedic Sanskrit. Further change led to apabhraṃśa languages like Marathi, which may be described as being a re-Sanskritised, developed form of Maharashtri Apabhraṃśa. However it is believed that Marathi is actually a language combining the old Dravidian vernacular of the region which would have been close to Kannada and Telugu and the actual Maharashtri Prakrit and Sanskrit. The more recent influence of Persian, Arabic or Urdu has also made this language seem close to mainstream Hindi.

Maharashtri Prakrit was commonly spoken until 875 AD and was the official language of the Sātavāhana empire. It had risen to a high literary level, and works like Karpurmanjari and Saptashati (150 BC) were written in it. Maharashtri Prakrit was the most widely used Prakrit language in western and southern India, spoken from Malwa and Rajputana in the north to Krishna and Tungabhadramarker in the south. Today's Marathi- and Kannada- speaking parts spoke Maharashtri Prakrit for centuries.

Maharashtri Apabhraṃśa remained in use for several hundred years until at least 500 AD. Apabhraṃśa was used widely in Jain literature and formed an important link in the evolution of Marathi. This form of Apabhraṃśa was re-Sanskritised and eventually became Marathi.

According to the written forms and historical attestations and evidences, Marathi is said to date to the 8th century.

Pre-13th century

Earliest forms

The first written attestation of Marathi, a document found in Karnatakamarker, dates from 700 AD. The earliest known written form is on the copperplate of Vijayaditya found in Sataramarker, dated 739 AD.

The stone inscription at the feet of Shravanabelagolamarker Gomateshwar in South Karnatakamarker, whose first line reads as "Chavundarajen Karaviyalen" ( , meaning Built by Chavundaraja, the son of Gangaraja), is another old specimen, constructed in 983 AD.

Also, an interesting couplet is found in the Jain monk Udyotan Suri's Kuvalayamala in the 8th century, referring to a bazaar where the Marhattes speak Didhale (Dile - given), Gahille (Ghetale - taken). The Marathi translation of Panchatantra is also considered very old.

By 983, therefore, Marathi was one of the distinctly different current languages widely used by the people of the area from North Maharashtra to South Karnatakamarker. Six extant inscriptions dating from 979 to 1270 and placed in distant parts like Mysoremarker, Khandesh and Mumbaimarker are an index of the large area over which Marathi was spoken.

It is because the language was spoken so widely that the deeds of charitable gifts like the one at Patanmarker recording the maintenance grants given by King Soidev to Changdev's University and the imperial mandates expected to be obeyed by all, like the Edict of King Aparaditya (1183), were inscribed in Marathi. The Pandharpurmarker inscription (1273) of the days of Raja Shiromani Ramdev Rao is in flawless Marathi. Marathi was now spoken by all classes and castes.

12th century to 1905

Yadava

Marathi literature began and grew thanks to the rise of both the Yadava dynasty of Devgiri (who adopted Marathi as the court language and patronized Marathi scholars) and two religious sects - Mahanubhav Panth and Warkari Panth, who adopted Marathi as the medium for preaching their doctrines of devotion. Marathi had attained a venerable place in court life by the time of the Yadava kings. During the reign of the last three Yadava kings, a great deal of literature in verse and prose, on astrology, medicine, Puranas, Vedanta, kings and courtiers were created. Nalopakhyan, Rukmini swayamvar and Shripati's Jyotishratnamala (1039 AD) are a few examples.

The oldest book in prose form in Marathi, Vivekasindhu ( ), was written by Mukundaraj, a yogi of Natha Pantha and arch-poet of Marathi. Mukundaraj bases his exposition of the basic tenets of the Hindu philosophy and Yoga Marga on the utterances or teachings of Shankaracharya. Mukundaraj's other work, Paramamrita, is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vedanta in the Marathi language. One of the famous saints of this period is Sant Dnyaneshwar (1275–1296) who wrote Bhavarthadeepika, popularly known as Dnyaneshwari (1290), and Amritanubhava. He also composed devotional songs called abhangas. Dnyaneshwar gave a higher status to Marathi by bringing the sacred Bhagavad Gita from Sanskrit to Marathi.

Mahanubhav sect

Notable examples of Marathi prose are " " ( ), events and anecdotes from the miracle filled life of Chakradhar Swami of the Mahanubhav sect compiled by his close disciple, Mahimabhatta, in 1238. The Mahanubhav sect made Marathi a vehicle for the propagation of religion and culture.

Warkari sect

The Mahanubhav sect were followed by the Warkari saint-poet Eknath (1528–1599). Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayana brought the message of the Bhagvat cult to the people. Mukteswar translated the epic Mahabharata into Marathi. Social reformers like saint-poet Tukaram transformed Marathi into a rich literary language. Saint Tukaram’s (1608-49) poetry contained his inspirations. He was a radical reformer. Tukaram wrote over 3000 Abhangas. He was followed by Ramadas. Writers of the Mahanubhav sect contributed to Marathi prose while the saint-poets of Warkari sect composed Marathi poetry. However, the latter group is regarded as the pioneers and founders of Marathi literature. Jainism too enriched Marathi during Bahamani period.

Modern period

Since 1630, Marathi regained prominence with the rise of the Maratha empire beginning with the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji (1627–1680). Subsequent rulers extended the empire northwards to Delhimarker, eastwards to Orissamarker, and southwards to Thanjavurmarker in Tamil Nadumarker. These excursions by the Marathas helped to spread Marathi over broader geographical regions. This period also saw the use of Marathi in transactions involving land and other business. Documents from this period, therefore, give a better picture of life of common people - who spoke the language - than the documents in Persian which was used previously but understood only by the elites of the Islamic rulers. At the time, Saint Tukaram made important contributions to Marathi poetic literature in Warkari Pantha. But by the late 18th century, the Maratha Empire's influence over a large part of the country was on the decline.

18th century

In the 18th century, some well-known works such as Yatharthadeepika by Vaman Pandit, Naladamayanti Swayamvara by Raghunath Pandit, Pandava Pratap, Harivijay, Ramvijay by Shridhar Pandit and Mahabharata by Moropanta were produced. Krishnadayarnava and Sridhar were the leading poets during the Peshwa period. New literary forms were successfully experimented with during the period and classical styles were revived, especially the Mahakavya and Prabandha forms.

After 1800 to 20th century

The British colonial period (also known as the Modern Period) saw standardization of Marathi grammar through the efforts of the Christian missionary William Carey. Christian missionaries played an important role in the production of scientific dictionaries and grammars.

The late 19th century in Maharashtra was a period of colonial modernity. Like the corresponding periods in other Indian languages, this was the period dominated by English-educated intellectuals. It was the age of prose and reason. It was the period of reformist activism and a great intellectual ferment.

The first Marathi translation of an English book was published in 1817, and the first Marathi newspaper was started in 1835. Newspapers provided a platform for sharing literary views, and many books on social reforms were written. The Marathi language flourished as Marathi drama gained popularity. Musicals known as 'Sangit Natak' also evolved. Keshavasut, the father of modern Marathi poetry published his first poem in 1885. First Marathi periodical Dirghadarshan was started in 1840 while first Marathi newspaper Durpan was started by Balshastri Jambhekar in 1832.

A few popular Marathi newspapers
The first half of 20th century was marked by new enthusiasm in literary pursuits, and socio-political activism helped achieve major milestones in Marathi literature, drama, music and film. Modern Marathi prose flourished through various new literary forms like the essay, the biographies, the novels, prose, drama etc. Chiplunkar's Nibandhmala (essays), N.C.Kelkar's biographical writings, novels of Hari Narayan Apte, Narayan Sitaram Phadke and V.S.Khandekar, and plays of Mama Varerkar and Kirloskar's are particularly worth noting. Similarly Khandekar's Yayati which has won for him, the Jnanpith Award is a very noteworthy novel. Vijay Tendulkar's plays in Marathi have earned him a reputation beyond Maharashtramarker.

After Indian independence, Marathi was accorded the status of a scheduled language on the national level.

By May 1, 1960, Maharashtra emerged re-organised on linguistic lines adding Vidarbha and Marathwada region in its fold and bringing major chunks of Marathi population socio-politically together. With state and cultural protection, Marathi made great strides by the 1990s.

A literary event called Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan (All-India Marathi Literature Meet) is held every year. In addition, the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan (All-India Marathi Theatre Meet) is also held annually. Both events are very popular amongst Maharashtrians.

Dialects

Marathi language edition of Wikipedia
Standard Marathi is based on dialects used by academics and the print media, and is influenced by the educated élite of the Punemarker region. Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad (MSP) is the apex guiding body for literary institutions of Marathi language. From time to time, MSP helps out in discourses on various aspects of Marathi and in laying down precedents by framing rules whenever required.

Indic scholars distinguish 42 dialects of spoken Marathi. Dialects bordering other major language areas have many properties in common with those languages, further differentiating them from standard spoken Marathi. The bulk of the variation within these dialects is primarily lexical and phonological (e.g. accent placement and pronunciation). Although the number of dialects is considerable, the degree of intelligibility within these dialects is relatively high. Historically, the major dialect divisions have been Ahirani, Khandeshi, Varhadi, Wadvali, Samavedi and Are Marathi.

Ahirani

Ahirani is spoken in the west Khandesh North Maharashtra region.

Ahirani is a language today spoken in the western and southern parts of Jalgaonmarker (Chalisgaon, Bhadgaon, Pachora, Erandol, Dharangaon, Parola, Amalner talukas), Nandurbarmarker (Shahada, Maharashtramarker, Taloda, Navapur), Dhulemarker and eastern Nashikmarker (Baglan, Malegaon and Kalwan talukas) districts of Maharashtramarker. It is further divided into dialects, such as the Chalisgaon, Malegaon and Dhule groups. Amalnermarker is considered the cultural capital of Khandesh. Amalner has witnessed Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.

Adapting and bending the words from Hindi and Gujarati, Ahirani has created its own words which are not found in these languages. Ahirani is a colloquial form and uses the Modi script for its writing.

Dr. D.G. Borase, Dr. Ramesh Suryawanshi, Dr. Vijaya Chitnis have studed Ahirani with linguistic point of view. Ahirani Bhasha Vadnyanic Ahyas, Mhani Kosha and Ahirani Shabdkosha (First dictionary of Ahirani language Pub.1997), Khandeshatil Krushak jivan Sachitra Kosha (Pictorial Dictionary Pub-2000) of Dr. Ramesh Suryawanshi are basic books on Ahirani language.Dilemma of Ahirani & KhandeshiViews of Dr. Ramesh Sitaram Suryawanshi on Ahirani and Khandeshi are explained in detail in his linguistic study of Ahirani. His books published on linguistic study of Ahirani dialect are 1) “Ahirani Bhasha Vaidnynik Abhyasa” which is linguistic study of Ahirani. It explains the grammar formation of words, formation of sentences of Ahirani. Another book named “Ahirani- shabdkosh” . It is first dictionary of Ahirani dialect which contains near about ten thousand words which lexicographically arranged. Third book on Ahirani is “Aharani Mhani Ani Wakprachar” mean sayings and proverbs in Ahirani dialect. It contains one thousand sayings and four thousand proverbs with the illustration of their meaning. All these books were published by Akshaya Prakashan, Pune in 1997. His fourth book is “ Khandeshatil Krishak Jivan Sachitra Kosha” mean a pictorial dictionary of words used by the farmers in Khandesh. It is book with pictures of the tools used by the farmers. All tools and it’s parts are labeled with local names – in Ahirani dialect. It is published by Maharashtra State Governments Sahitya Ani Sanskriti Mandal, Mumbai, in 2000. It is uploaded on net by digital library of India under the barcode 999999901412000. Dr. Ramesh suryawanshi explains Ahirani and Khandeshi in detail. His explanation is elaborated in this article.Ahirani or Khandeshi is spoken in Khandesh. Khandesh is old name of area which covers todays Jalgaon, Dhulia ,Nandurbar and part of Nasik and Aurangabad districts. Originally Ahirani is spoken by the Ahiras. Ahiras are shepherds. They were with their cows, sheep’s, goats and bedfellows in the grassy land of Khandesh as previously it was named as Khandav Van. Khandesh was old district of Bombay Presidency. Kahan mean dry grass or grass land. Khan mean pure. Khan mean large ditch. Khandesh is area in surrounded by of Satpuda, Ajanta, Chandwad ranges, and Waghur river. This big basin, ditch, was grass land, useful for cattle. It is basin of Tapi and Narbada rivers. Ahirani is cast based name of the dialect and Khandeshi is region based name of the dialect.
When Ahiras arrived in Khandesh with their cattle they settled in Khandesh. They were large in number. Mean while they indulged in various social roles. People around them tried to imitate their dialect, while speaking with them. Lewa, Wani, Bhill, Pardeshi all these castes have their own dialect yet they started speaking mixed Ahirani ( Ahirani affected by their dialect). Such process was in Khandesh territory. People speak the dialect in Khandesh was known by others as Khandeshi. In Khandesh the dialect spoken by the Ahiras was known as Ahirani. Ahirani is caste based name. And Khandeshi is region based name . Khandeshi is large concept which merges Ahirani in its stomach. Socially Khandeshi is classified in Ahirani,  Bhilli, Pardeshi, Lewa –Patidar, in such sub dialects.
 Chalisgaon, Dhulia is hypocenter of Ahirani. Chandwadi is spoken around Chandwad hills, Nandubari is spoken around Nandurbar , Jamnerior Tawadi is spoken around Jamner tehsil, Taptangi is spoken by the side of Tapi, Tapti river. Dongarangi is spoken by the side of forest Ajanta hills. All these are region based names for Khandeshi sub dialects. All are regional categories. Ahirani, Gujari, Bhilau, Maharau, Lewa, Purbhi all are social ( cast based ) categories of Khandeshi. Some say Bhanabai poetess is not Ahirani but she is Lewa . But Lewa and Ahirani are wrapped in Khandeshi. So Khandeshi is the term or concept that merges all disputes. It is wide concept. Region based concept.


Khandeshi

Khandesh was an old district of Bombay presidency. Later it was divided into East and West Khandesh. East Khandesh is now known as Jalgaon District and West Khandesh is now known as Dhule district. Ahirani was the languages of Ahir's who lived in Khandesh.

Khandeshi has social and territorial dailects. Taptayngi, Varlyangi, Khallyangi, Baglani, Nandurbari, Ghatoi, Dhakani, Jamneri are territorial dailects of Khandeshi.Ahirani, Bhilli, Rajputi, Pardeshi, Ladsikkiwani, Tavadi, Levapatidari and Gujari are social dailects of Khandeshi.Dilemma of Ahirani & KhandeshiViews of Dr. Ramesh Sitaram Suryawanshi on Ahirani and Khandeshi are explained in detail in his linguistic study of Ahirani. His books published on linguistic study of Ahirani dialect are 1) “Ahirani Bhasha Vaidnynik Abhyasa” which is linguistic study of Ahirani. It explains the grammar formation of words, formation of sentences of Ahirani. Another book named “Ahirani- shabdkosh” . It is first dictionary of Ahirani dialect which contains near about ten thousand words which lexicographically arranged. Third book on Ahirani is “Aharani Mhani Ani Wakprachar” mean sayings and proverbs in Ahirani dialect. It contains one thousand sayings and four thousand proverbs with the illustration of their meaning. All these books were published by Akshaya Prakashan, Pune in 1997. His fourth book is “ Khandeshatil Krishak Jivan Sachitra Kosha” mean a pictorial dictionary of words used by the farmers in Khandesh. It is book with pictures of the tools used by the farmers. All tools and it’s parts are labeled with local names – in Ahirani dialect. It is published by Maharashtra State Governments Sahitya Ani Sanskriti Mandal, Mumbai, in 2000. It is uploaded on net by digital library of India under the barcode 999999901412000. Dr. Ramesh suryawanshi explains Ahirani and Khandeshi in detail. His explanation is elaborated in this article.Ahirani or Khandeshi is spoken in Khandesh. Khandesh is old name of area which covers todays Jalgaon, Dhulia ,Nandurbar and part of Nasik and Aurangabad districts. Originally Ahirani is spoken by the Ahiras. Ahiras are shepherds. They were with their cows, sheep’s, goats and bedfellows in the grassy land of Khandesh as previously it was named as Khandav Van. Khandesh was old district of Bombay Presidency. Kahan mean dry grass or grass land. Khan mean pure. Khan mean large ditch. Khandesh is area in surrounded by of Satpuda, Ajanta, Chandwad ranges, and Waghur river. This big basin, ditch, was grass land, useful for cattle. It is basin of Tapi and Narbada rivers. Ahirani is cast based name of the dialect and Khandeshi is region based name of the dialect.
When Ahiras arrived in Khandesh with their cattle they settled in Khandesh. They were large in number. Mean while they indulged in various social roles. People around them tried to imitate their dialect, while speaking with them. Lewa, Wani, Bhill, Pardeshi all these castes have their own dialect yet they started speaking mixed Ahirani ( Ahirani affected by their dialect). Such process was in Khandesh territory. People speak the dialect in Khandesh was known by others as Khandeshi. In Khandesh the dialect spoken by the Ahiras was known as Ahirani. Ahirani is caste based name. And Khandeshi is region based name . Khandeshi is large concept which merges Ahirani in its stomach. Socially Khandeshi is classified in Ahirani,  Bhilli, Pardeshi, Lewa –Patidar, in such sub dialects.
 Chalisgaon, Dhulia is hypocenter of Ahirani. Chandwadi is spoken around Chandwad hills, Nandubari is spoken around Nandurbar , Jamnerior Tawadi is spoken around Jamner tehsil, Taptangi is spoken by the side of Tapi, Tapti river. Dongarangi is spoken by the side of forest Ajanta hills. All these are region based names for Khandeshi sub dialects. All are regional categories. Ahirani, Gujari, Bhilau, Maharau, Lewa, Purbhi all are social ( cast based ) categories of Khandeshi. Some say Bhanabai poetess is not Ahirani but she is Lewa . But Lewa and Ahirani are wrapped in Khandeshi. So Khandeshi is the term or concept that merges all disputes. It is wide concept. Region based concept.


Khandeshi language has six vowel sounds and 34 consonantal sounds. Out of 34 consonants 14 are voiced. There are three genders and eight cases. Verbs are of both type transitive and intranstive, they are formed according to tense, person, gender and number

Varhadi

Varhadi, Varhādi or Vaidarbhi is spoken in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

In Marathi, the retroflex lateral approximant ( ) is common, while in the Varhadii dialect, it corresponds to the palatal approximant y (IPA: [j]), making this dialect quite distinct. Such phonetic shifts are common in spoken Marathi, and as such, the spoken dialects vary from one region of Maharashtra to another.

Konkani

Konkani refers to the collection of dialects of Marathi language spoken in the Konkan region. It is often mistakenly extended to cover Goan Konkani which is an independent language. Grierson has referred to this dialect as the Konkan Standard of Marathi in order to differentiate it from Konkani language. The sub-dialects of Konkani gradually merge from standard Marathi into Goan Konkani from north to south Konkan. The various sub dialects are: Parabhi, Koli, Kiristanv, Kunbi, Agari, Dhangari, Thakri, Karadhi, Sangameshwari, Bankoti and Maoli.

Wadvali

This dialect may not necessarily be named thus. It was primarily spoken by Wadvals, which basically means agricultural plot owners, of the Naigaon, Vasaimarker to Dahanumarker region. Somavamshi Kshatriyas speak this dialect. This language is preserved mostly by the Roman Catholics native to this region, since they are a closely knit community here and have very few relatives outside this region. It was also widely spoken among the Hindus native to this region, but due to external influences, ordinary Marathi is now more popular among the Hindus. There are many songs in this language. Recently a book was published by Nutan Patil containing around 70 songs. The songs are about marriage, pachvi etc. The dialect of the Kolis (fisherfolk) of Vasai and neighbouring Mumbai resembles this dialect closely, though they speak with a heavier accent.There is a village in Vasai called Chulna, which was predominantly Roman Catholic (now cosmopolitan).The striking feature of the dialect here contrasting it with Wadvali, is the preference of pronouncing the thinner 'l' and 'n' ('ल' and 'न') instead of the thicker 'l' and 'n' ('ळ' and 'ण'), which is retained even in the current generation of speakers even for conversing normal Marathi.

Samavedi

Samavedi is spoken in the interiors of the Nala Sopara and Virarmarker regions to the north of Mumbaimarker in the Vasaimarker Taluka, Thane District of Maharashtramarker. The name of this language correctly suggests that its origins lie with the Samavedi Brahmins native to this region. This language, too, finds more speakers among the Roman Catholic converts native to the region (who are known as East Indians), but nevertheless is popular among the Samavedi Brahmins. This dialect is very different from the other Marathi dialects spoken in other regions of Maharashtra, but resembles Wadvali very closely. Both Wadvali and Samavedi have relatively high proportions of words imported from Portuguese as compared to ordinary Marathi, because of direct influence of the Portuguese who colonized this region till 1739.

Are Marathi

Are Marathi, written in Devanagari script as , is another dialect spoken mostly in Andhra Pradeshmarker.

Thanjavur Marathi and Namdev Marathi

Thanjavur Marathi, Namdev Marathi and Bhavsar Marathi are spoken by many Southern Indians. This dialect evolved from the time of occupation of the Marathas in Thanjavurmarker in southern Tamil Nadumarker. It has speakers in parts of Tamil Nadumarker, Andhra Pradeshmarker and Karnatakamarker.

Others

  • Thakri (Spoken in Raigad....Maharashtra)
The Thakri language spoken by one of the Adivasi community found in District- Raigad (Maharashtra). This language is just like Marathi with some deviations in pronunciations.

Other dialects of Marathi include Warli of Thane District, Dakshini (Marathwada), Deshi (Eastern Konkan Ghats), Deccan, Nagpuri, Ikrani and Gowlan.

Other languages having considerable Marathi influence



Sounds

The phoneme inventory of Marathi is similar to that of many other Indo-Aryan languages, especially that of the Konkani language. An chart of all contrastive sounds in Marathi is provided below.

Consonants
  Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Alveopalatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless
stops




 





 
Voiced
stops




 





 
Voiceless
fricatives
       
Nasals



 

 
Liquids

 

   


Vowels
  Front Central Back
High  
Mid
Low    


Vowels

Like other abugidas, Devanagari writes out syllables by adding vowel diacritics to consonant bases. The table below includes all the vowel symbols used in Marathi, along with a transliteration of each sound into the Roman alphabet and .

There are two more vowels in Marathi to denote the pronunciations of English words such as of a in act and a in all. These are written as and . The IPA signs for these are and , respectively.

Consonants

The table below includes all the consonant bases onto which vowel diacritics are placed. The lack of a vowel diacritic can either indicate the lack of a vowel, or the existence of the default, or "inherent", vowel, which in the case of Marathi is the schwa.

Writing

Modi script was used to write Marathi


Written Marathi first appeared during the 11th century in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. From the 13th century until the mid 20th century, it was written with the Modi alphabet. Since 1950 it has been written with the Devanāgarī alphabet.

Devanagari script

Marathi is written in the Devanagari script, an alphasyllabary or abugida consisting of 16 vowel letters and 36 consonant letters making a total of 52 letters. It is written from left to right. Devnagari used to write Marathi is slightly different than that of Hindi or other languages. Marathi Devnagari script is called Balbodh ( ) script.

Modi script

Marathi was written in Modi script — a cursive script designed for minimising the lifting of pen from paper while writing. Most writings of the Maratha empire are in Modi script. However, Persian-based scripts were also used for court documentation. With the advent of large-scale printing, Modi script fell into disuse, as it proved very difficult for type-setting. Currently, due to the availability of Modi fonts and the enthusiasm of the younger speakers, the script is far from disappearing. (See Reference Links).

Consonant clusters

In Marathi, the consonants by default come with a schwa. Therefore, will be 'təyāce', not 'tyāce'. To form 'tyāce', you will have to add + , giving .

When two or more consecutive consonants are followed by a vowel then a jodakshar (consonant cluster) is formed. Some examples of consonant clusters are shown below:
  • - tyāce - "his"
  • - prastāv-"proposal"
  • - vidyā - "knowledge"
  • - myān "Sword Cover"
  • - tvarā "immediate/Quick"
  • - mahattva - "importance"
  • - "only"
  • - "dolls"


Marathi has a few consonant clusters that are rarely seen in the world's languages, including the so-called "nasal aspirates" ( , nh, and mh) and liquid aspirates (rh, , lh, and vh). Some examples are given below.

  • - - "a shrub known for flowers"
  • - - "bath"
  • - - "because"
  • - - "different way of behaving"
  • - kolhā - "fox"
  • - "when"


Grammar

Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha was established by Government of Maharashtra
Marathi grammar shares similarities with other modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, etc. The first modern book exclusively concerning Marathi Grammar was printed in 1805 by William Kerry. Sanskrit Grammar used to be referred more till late stages of Marathi Language.

The contemporary grammatical rules described by Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad and endorsed by the Government of Maharashtra are supposed to take precedence in standard written Marathi. Traditions of Marathi Linguistics and the above mentioned rules give special status to 'Tatsam' (Without Change) words adapted from the Sanskrit language. This special status expects the rules for 'Tatsam' words to be followed as in Sanskrit grammar. While this supports Marathi Language with a larger treasure of Sanskrit words to cope with demands of new technical words whenever needed; maintains influence over Marathi.

An unusual feature of Marathi, as compared to other Indo-European languages, is that it displays the inclusive and exclusive we feature, common to the Austronesian languages, Dravidian languages, Rajasthani, and Gujarati.

Unlike its related languages, Marathi preserves all three grammatical genders (Linga) from Sanskrit, masculine, feminine and neuter. Marathi contains three grammatical voices (prayog) i.e. Kartari, Karmani and Bhave. Detailed analysis of grammatical aspects of Marathi language are covered in Marathi grammar.

Marathi organisations

Many government and semi-government organisations exist which work for the regulation, promotion and enrichment of the Marathi language. These are either initiated or funded by Government of Maharashtra. Few prominent Marathi organisations are given below:

Outside Maharashtra state

  • Gomantak Marathi academy
  • Madhya Pradesh Sahitya Parishad, Jabalpur
  • Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Paraishad, Hyderabad
  • Marathi Sahitya Parishad, Karnataka


Vocabulary

Sharing of linguistic resources with other languages

Over a period of many centuries the Marathi language and people came into contact with many other languages and dialects. The primary influence of Prakrit, Maharashtri, Apbhramsha and Sanskrit is understandable.

Day-to-day Marathi includes a higher number of Sanskrit-derived (tatsam) words than sister languages like Hindi. Some Sanskrit words that are common in day-to-day spoken Marathi include nantar (from nantaram or after), ( or complete, full, or full measure of something), anna (annam or food), ( or cause), kadāchit (kadāchit or perhaps), satat (satatam or always), abhyās (abhyāsam or study), vichitra (vichitram or strange), svatah (svatah or himself/herself), prayatna (prayatnam or effort), bhiti (from bhiti, or fear) and vishesh (vishesham or special), amongst others.

Marathi has also shared directions, vocabulary and grammar with languages such as Indian Dravidian languages, and a few foreign languages like Persian, Arabic, English and a little from Portuguese.

While recent genome studies suggest some amount of political and trade relations between the Indian subcontinent and East Africa, Middle East, Central Asia over a millennium, these studies are still not conclusive about the exact effect on linguistcs.

Influence of foreign languages

  • Usage of punctuation marks was one of the major contributions to Indic script by foreign languages. Previously, due to Sanskritised poetry, textual punctuation requirements of many texts may have been less.


Word formation and origin

Marathi has taken words from and given words to Sanskrit, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, and Portuguese.At least 50% of the words in Marathi are either taken or derived from Sanskrit.

  • Adakitta "nutcracker" directly borrowed from Kannada
  • Khurchii "chair" is derived from Arabic kursi
  • Jaahiraat "advertisement" is derived from Persian zaahiraat See Note 1
  • Shiphaaras "recommendation" is derived from Persian sifarish
  • Marjii "wish" is derived from Persian "marzi"
  • Batataa "potato", is derived from Portuguese
  • Ananas "pineapple", is derived from Portuguese See Note 2
  • Niga "looking after" is derived from Persian nîgâh "sight-vision"
  • Hajeri Attendance from Hajiri Urdu


A lot of English words are commonly used in conversation, and are considered to be totally assimilated into the Marathi vocabulary. These include "pen" (native Marathi ), "shirt" (sadaraa).

Forming complex words

Marathi uses many morphological processes to join words together, forming complex words. These processes are traditionally referred to as sandhi (from Sanskrit, "combination"). For example, ati + uttam gives the word atyuttam.

Another method of combining words is referred to as samaas (from Sanskrit, "margin"). There are no reliable rules to follow to make a samaas. When the second word starts with a consonant, a sandhi can not be formed, but a samaas can be formed. For example, miith-bhaakar ("salt-bread"), udyog-patii ("businessman"), ("eight-hands", name of a Hindu goddess), and so on. There are different names given to each type of samaas.

Counting

Like many other languages, Marathi uses distinct names for the numbers 1 to 20 and each multiple of 10, and composite ones for those greater than 20.

As with other Indic languages, there are distinct names for the fractions , , and . They are paava, ardhaa, and , respectively. For most fractions greater than 1, the prefixes savvaa-, , are used. There are special names for and .

The powers of ten are as follows:
  • 100: shambhar (also constructed with number prefix and "-she" suffix)
  • 1,000: hazaar (or sahasra, a word close to the Sanskrit version)
  • 100,000: laakh (or laksha)
  • 10,000,000: koti
  • 1,000,000,000: abja
  • 10,000,000,000: kharva
  • 100,000,000,000: nikharva
  • 100,000,000,000,000,000: parardha


A positive integer is read by breaking it up from the tens digit leftwards, into parts each containing two digits, the only exception being the hundreds place containing only one digit instead of two. For example, 1,234,567 is read as 12 laakh 34 hazaar 5 she 67.Every two-digit number after 18 (11 to 18 are predefined) is read backwards. For example, 21 is read एक-वीस (1-twenty). Also, a two digit number that ends with a 9 is considered to be the next tens place minus one. For example, 29 is एकुणतीस (Thirty minus one). Two digit numbers used before hazaar, etc. are written in the same way.

Example short phrases

Words/phrases Transliteration Meaning
Namaskār. Hi/Hello.
Tumhī kase āhāt? How do you do?
Tū kasā āhes? How are you? (to a male)
Tū kaśī āhes? How are you? (to a female)
How are you? (formal)
. Pleased to meet you.
Goodbye. (Lit.: "We will meet again.")
Dhanyavād. Thank you.
Ho. Yes.
Nāhī. No.
Nako. No, thank you.
Kitī? How much?/How many?
Kuthe? Where?
Kase? How?
Kevha? When?
Kon? Who?
Kaay? What?
Śhubh Ratri. Good night.


Marathi on computers and the Internet

Earlier Marathi suffered from weak support by computer operating systems and Internet services, as have other Indian languages. But recently, with the introduction of language localisation projects and new technologies, various software and Internet applications have been introduced. Shrilipi, Shivaji and Kiran fonts were used prior to the introduction of Unicode standard for Devanagari script. Various Marathi typing software is widely used and display interface packages are now available on Windows, Linux and MacOS. Many Marathi websites, including prominent Marathi newspapers, have become popular especially with Maharashtrians outside India. Online projects such as the Marathi language Wikipedia, the Marathi blogroll and Marathi blogs have gained immense popularity.

Voyager Golden Record

The Voyager Golden Record carries greetings from earth to the Universe in 55 different languages including Marathi. The message in Marathi is "Namaskar! Hya prithvitil lok tumhala tyanche shubhavichar pathavitat, ani tyanchi iccha ahe ki tumhi hya janmi dhanya vha".

See also





References

  1. Abstract of Language Strength in India: 2001 Census
  2. arts, South Asian." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite.
  3. The Goa, Daman and Diu Official Language Act, 1987 makes Konkani the sole official language, but provides that Marathi may also be used for "for all or any of the official purposes". The Government also has a policy of replying in Marathi to correspondence received in Marathi. Commissioner Linguistic Minorities, 42nd report: July 2003 - June 2004, pp. para 11.3
  4. Marathi is an official language of Dadra and Nagar Haveli Administration's profile.
  5. Official Languages Resolution, 1968, para.2
  6. Dept. of Marathi, M.S. University of Baroda
  7. Dept. of Marathi, Osmania University, Hyderabad
  8. Dept. of Marathi, Gulbarga University
  9. LIST OF STATUTES (Devi Ahilya University of Indore
  10. Dept.of Marathi, Goa University
  11. Jawaharlal Nehru University
  12. 1994, Kolarkar
  13. C.V. Vaidya, History of medieval Hindu India (Being a history of Indian from 600 to 1200 AD), Vol. I, p. 317
  14. Khodade, 2004
  15. Marathyancha Itihaas by Dr. Kolarkar (pg.3)
  16. 1966, Deshpande
  17. Dnyaneshwari
  18. Konkani Detailed Description —
  19. Konkani Detailed Description —
  20. Marathi language, alphabet and pronunciation
  21. Modi lipi
  22. Maharashtra times article
  23. Encyclopaedia of Indian literature Volume I, Published by Sahitya Akademi ISBN 8126018038
  24. http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/languages/marathi.html


  • Marathi: The Language and its Linguistic Traditions - Prabhakar Machwe, Indian and Foreign Review, 15 March 1985.
  • 'Atyavashyak Marathi Vyakaran' (Essential Marathi Grammar) - Dr. V. L. Vardhe
  • 'Marathi Vyakaran' (Marathi Grammar) - Moreshvar Sakharam More.
  • 'Marathi Vishwakosh, Khand 12 (Marathi World Encyclopedia, Volume 12), Maharashtra Rajya Vishwakosh Nirmiti Mandal, Mumbai
  • 'Marathyancha Itihaas' by Dr. Kolarkar, Shrimangesh Publishers, Nagpur
  • 'History of Medieval Hindu India from 600AD to 1200 AD, by C. V. Vaidya
  • Marathi Sahitya (Review of the Marathi Literature up to I960) by Kusumavati Deshpande, Maharashtra Information Centre, New Delhi


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