Languages of Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh in central India, formerly an integral part of Madhya Pradesh, was carved out of Madhya Pradesh on 1st November 2000. The languages of Chhattisgarh are unique and distinct. Hindi is widely spoken in the state. Especially in the urban areas of the state, Hindi is spoken to a great extent. It is perhaps considered an influence of Madhya Pradesh, the state which Chhattisgarh was once a part of. But the singular linguistic aspect of Chhattisgarh is the Chhattisgarhi language.

Chhattisgarhi is spoken by a whooping number of 11.5 million people, who are primarily from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Some speakers of this language also hail from Orissa and Bihar. Chhattisgarhi is spoken in the rural areas and hilly tribal districts of the state. The language has 93 dialects and is read and written in the Devanagari script. The language is closely related to Bagheli and Awadhi. It is referred to as Khaltahi in the hilly areas and is called Lariya in Orissa. The language is considered an eastern dialect of Hindi, although many linguists regard it to be a language quite distinct from Hindi.

Chhattisgarhi has 93 dialects and has its roots in three language families: Indo-European language family, Dravidian language family and the Munda language family. The above three language families influence the languages of Chhattisgarh to a great extent. Korku, Kharia and Korba are the important munda dialects used in Chhattisgarh. Till some years, Korku was the most important Munda dialect with around 200,000 speakers. Several dialects of the Dravidian language family are widely spoken in southern Chhattisgarh, especially in the areas of Bastar and around.

The Indo-European dialects are also predominant in the languages of Chhattisgarh. Of the 93 dialects of Chhattisgarhi, 70 belong to the Indo-European language family. Sadri is an important Indo-European language dialect, used by several tribal groups. All three language dialects are widely spoken in the northern Chhattisgarh. Dravidian and Indo-European dialects are widely used in the southern portion of the state. However, only the Indo-European dialects are in use in the central portion of the state.