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Awadhi language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

अवधी (avdhī) • 𑂃𑂫𑂡𑂲
Word Awadhi.png
'Awadhi' written in Kaithi (top) and Devanagari (bottom) scripts.
Native toIndia and Nepal
RegionAwadh (India)
Terai (Nepal)
Native speakers
3.85 million (India, 2011)[1]
501,752 (Nepal, 2011)[2]
  • Pardesi
  • Mirzapuri
  • Gangapari
  • Uttari
  • Caribbean Hindustani
     · Trinidadian Hindustani
    (Plantation Hindustani,
    Gaon ke Bolee)
     · Guyanese Hindustani
    (Aili Gaili)
     · Sarnami Hindoestani
  • Fiji Hindi
  • Mauritian Hindustani
  • South African Hindustani (Naitali)
Devanagari, Kaithi, Perso-Arabic
Official status
Official language in
 Fiji (as the Fiji Hindi dialect)
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2awa
ISO 639-3awa
Awadhi bhasha.png
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Awadhi (IPA: [əʋ.d̪ʱiː]; अवधी; 𑂃𑂫𑂡𑂲) is an Eastern Hindi language of the Indo-Aryan branch spoken in northern India.[4][5] It is primarily spoken in the Awadh region of present-day Uttar Pradesh, India.[4] The name Awadh is connected to Ayodhya, the ancient town, which is regarded as the homeland of Śrī Rāma. It was, along with Braj Bhasha, used widely as a literary vehicle before being displaced by Hindustani in the 19th century.[6]

From a linguistic point of view, Awadhi is a distinct language that has its own grammar. In sociopolitical contexts, however, Awadhi is viewed simply as a style or spoken variety of Hindi, and is not used as a medium of instruction in any institution, though its literary heritage is included as a part of Hindi literature. Awadhi is generally viewed as a rural tongue, yet people in urban areas tend to speak a mixed form of Awadhi with Standard Hindi.

Alternative names of Awadhi include Baiswāri (after the subregion of Baiswara),[7] as well as the sometimes ambiguous Pūrbī, literally meaning "eastern", and Kōsalī (named after the ancient Kosala Kingdom).[8]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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    1 158
  • ✪ 3.1 अवधी भाषा; अवधी की विशेषताएं; अवधी का विकास; Awadhi; Awadhi language; Optional Hindi For UPSC
  • ✪ Promotional Comedy Video of Improved Cooking Stove in Awadhi Language



Geographic distribution

In India

Awadhi is predominantly spoken in the Awadh region encompassing central Uttar Pradesh, along with the lower portion of the Ganga-Yamuna doab.[9][10] In the west, it is bounded by Western Hindi, specifically Kannauji and Bundeli, while in the east there is the Bihari dialect Bhojpuri. In the north, it is bounded by the country of Nepal and in the south by Bagheli, which shares a great resemblance with Awadhi.[11]

The districts of Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Lucknow, Unnao, and Fatehpur form the western portions of the Awadhi speaking area. The central districts include Barabanki, Rae Bareli, Amethi, and Baharich. The eastern parts include districts of Faizabad, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Gonda, Basti, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, and Pratapgarh. It is also spoken in some parts of Mirzapur and Jaunpur districts.[10]

Awadhi speaking districts in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Awadhi speaking districts in Uttar Pradesh, India.

In Nepal

Awadhi is spoken in these parts of Nepal: Bheri zone: Banke and Bardia districts; Lumbini zone: Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi, and Rupandehi districts; Mahakali zone: Kanchanpur district; Rapti zone: Dang district; Seti zone: Kailali district.[12]

Outside South Asia

A language influenced by Awadhi (as well as other languages) is also spoken as a lingua franca for Indians in Fiji, referred as Fiji Hindi. According to Ethnologue, it is a type of Awadhi influenced by Bhojpuri and is also classified as Eastern-Hindi. [13] Another language influenced by Awadhi (and Bhojpuri) is Caribbean Hindustani, spoken by Indians in the Caribbean countries of Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana. The Hindustani that is spoken in South Africa and Mauritius is also partially influenced by Awadhi. These forms of Awadhi are also spoken by the diaspora in North America, Europe, and Oceania.


Linguistic classification of Awadhi language.
Linguistic classification of Awadhi language.

Awadhi is an Indo-European language and belongs to the Indo-Aryan sub-group of Indo-Iranian language family. Within the Indo-Aryan dialect continuum, it falls under East-Central zone of languages and often recognised as Eastern-Hindi. It’s generally believed that an older form of Ardhamagadhi, which agreed partly with Sauraseni and partly with Magadhi Prakrit, could be the basis of Awadhi.[14]

The closest relative of Awadhi is the Bagheli language as genealogically both descend from the same 'Half-Magadhi'. Most of the early Indian linguists regarded Bagheli merely as 'the southern form of Awadhi' but recent studies accept Bagheli as a separate dialect at par with Awadhi and not merely a sub-dialect of it.[15]


Awadhi has many features that separates it from the neighbouring Western Hindi and Bihari vernaculars. In Awadhi, nouns are generally both short and long whereas Western Hindi has generally short while Bihari generally employs longer and long forms. The gender is rigorously maintained in Western Hindi, Awadhi is little loose yet largely preserved while Bihari is highly attenuated. In regards to postpositions, Awadhi is distinguished from Western Hindi by the absence of agentive postposition in the former agreeing with Bihari dialects. The accusative-dative postposition in Awadhi is /kaː/ or /kə/ while Western Hindi has /koː/ or /kɔː/ and Bihari has /keː/. The locative postposition in both Bihari and Western Hindi is /mẽː/ while Awadhi has /maː/. The pronouns in Awadhi have /toːɾ-/, /moːɾ-/ as personal genitives while /teːɾ-/, /meːɾ-/ in Western Hindi. The oblique of /ɦəmaːɾ/ is /ɦəmɾeː/ in Awadhi while /ɦəmaːɾeː/ in Western Hindi whereas /ɦəmrən'kæ/ in Bihari.[16]

Another defining characteristic of Awadhi is the affix /-ɪs/ as in /dɪɦɪs/, /maːɾɪs/ etc. The neighbouring Bhojpuri has the distinctive (i) /laː/ enclitic in present tense (ii) /-l/ in past tense (iii) dative postposition /-laː/ which separates it from Awadhi language.[14]


In medieval and early-modern India

In this period, Awadhi became the vehicle for epic poetry in northern India. [17]

Its literature is mainly divided into: bhaktīkāvya (devotional poetry) and premākhyān (romantic tales). The most important work, probably in any modern Indo-Aryan language, came from the poet-saint Tulsidas in the form of Ramcharitmanas (1575 C.E.) written in doha-chaupai metre. Although the plot is mostly borrowed one, either from Valmiki Ramayana or from the Adhyātma Rāmāyana both of which are in Sanskrit, the poetic genius exhibited in his work stands unrivalled in Indian literature.[18]

His compositions Hanumān Cālīsā [19][20][21], Pārvatī Maṅgala and Jānakī Maṅgala are also written in Awadhi.[22]

अंडकोस प्रति प्रति निज रूपा।
देखेउँ जिनस अनेक अनूपा॥
अवधपुरी प्रति भुअन निनारी।
सरजू भिन्न भिन्न नर नारी॥

In each universe I saw my own self,
As well as many an object beyond compare;
Each universe had its own Ayodhya,
With its own Saryu and its own men and women.

Tulsidas, 7.81.3 chaupai, Ramcharitmanas —Translation by R.C Prasad[23]

सिंधु तीर एक भूधर सुंदर।
कौतुक कूदि चढ़ेउ ता-ऊपर॥
बार-बार रघुबीर सँभारी।
तरकेउ पवनतनय बल भारी॥

On the sea-shore there was a mountain lovely,
He hopped to its peak sportively;
Over and again, the Lord he did recall
And the Son of Wind darted with energy no small.

Tulsidas, 5.1.3 chaupai, Ramcharitmanas —Translation [24]
Illustration from the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1532–1623) Jodhpur, c. 1775.
Illustration from the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1532–1623) Jodhpur, c. 1775.

The first Hindi vernacular adaptation of the 'Dasam Skandha' of the Bhagavata Purana, the “Haricharit” by Lalachdas, who hailed from Hastigram (present-day Hathgaon near Rae Bareilly) was concluded in 1530 C.E. It circulated widely for a long time and scores of manuscript copies of his text have been found as far as eastern U.P and Bihar, Malwa and Gujarat, all written in the Kaithi script. [25]

Satyavatī (ca. 1501) of Ishvaradas (of Delhi) under the reign of Sikander Lodi and Avadhabilāsa (1700 C.E.) of Laladas were also written in Awadhi.

Awadhi also emerged as the favorite literary language of the Eastern Sufis: from the last quarter of the 14th century downwards. It became the language of premākhyāns, romantic tales built on the pattern of Persian masnavi, steeped in Sufi mysticism but set in purely Indian background, with a large number of motifs directly borrowed from Indian lore. The first of such premākhyān in the Awadhi language was Candāyan (1379 C.E.) of Maulana Da'ud.[26] The tradition was carried forward by Jayasi, whose masterpiece, the Padmāvat (1540 C.E.) was composed under the reign of the famous ruler Sher Shah. The Padmavat was the most celebrated work of Jayasi which we know travelled far and wide, from Arakan to the Deccan, and was eagerly copied and retold in Persian and other languages.[27]

The mystical romance Mirigāvatī (ca.1503) or "The Magic Doe" is the work of Shaikh 'Qutban' Suhravardi, who was an expert and storyteller attached to the court-in-exile of Sultan Hussain Shah Sharqi of Jaunpur.[28][29] Another romance named Madhumālatī or "Night Flowering Jasmine" by poet Sayyid Manjhan Rajgiri was written in 1545 C.E.[30]

Queen Nagamati talks to her parrot, Padmavat, 1750 C.E
Queen Nagamati talks to her parrot, Padmavat, 1750 C.E
Lovers shoot at a tiger in the jungle. Illustration to the mystical Sufi text Madhumalati
Lovers shoot at a tiger in the jungle. Illustration to the mystical Sufi text Madhumalati

Popular culture


The 1961 film, Gunga Jumna had featured Awadhi being spoken by the characters in a neutralised form. In the 2001 film Lagaan, a neutralised form of Awadhi language was used to make it understandable to the masses.[31][32] The 2009 film Dev.D featured an Awadhi song 'Paayaliya' composed by Amit Trivedi.[33] In the television series Yudh, Amitabh Bachchan spoke parts of his dialogue in Awadhi which received critical acclaim from the Hindustan Times.[34]. Awadhi is also spoken by the residents of Ayodhya and other minor characters in the 1986 Ramanand Sagar's television series Ramayan.


The genres of folklore sung in Awadh include Sohar, Sariya, Byaah, Suhag, Gaari, Nakta, Banraa (Banna-Banni), Alha, Sawan, Jhula,Hori and Kajri.[35]

In a popular folk genre 'Barahmasa', the characteristics of the seasons work as the catalyst in affecting the psyche of the woman protagonist, and towards associating herself with nature, she translates her anxiety, separation and the good past days spent in union with the lover (of course, husband) through the rhymes of Baramasa, a folk and oral tradition where the year is analysed in 'bara' or twelve months. Awadhi 'Barahmasa' in comparison with other Bramasa traditions in Hindi folklore is more intense and comprehensive.[36]

An excerpt of Barahmasa:

sāvan āvā manbhāvan
piv kī yād satāvē
tevaras sāl lage rahē bālam
manvā huā̃ ãṭ jāvē
barkhā hōytai kāhē jāiti...
dhartī pyāsī badrā khātir
nīr ā̃khī sē jhar-jhar barsai
piyā mōr pardēs sidhārē
piyā mōr pardēs sidhārē

Beautiful month of 'sawan' arrived
the remembrances of my man are on.
He was here with me, the previous year
my senses recall the same!
Had it rained well, would he move so far...
The earth is longing for the rain
And, just see it,
the showers from eyes come forth!
my lover has gone far away

Sample phrases

The Awadhi language comes with its own dialectal variations. For instance, in western regions the auxiliary /hʌiː/ is used while in central and eastern parts /ʌhʌiː/ is used.

The following examples are taken from Baburam Saxena's Evolution of Awadhi, and alternative versions are also provided to exhibit dialectal variations.

English Awadhi (IPA) Awadhi (Devanagari)
Who were there? ɦʊãː koː or kəʊn ɾəɦəĩ हुआँ को (कउन) रहें?
alt. ɦʊãː keː or kəʊn ɾəɦəin alt. हुआँ के/कउन रहेन?
This boy is fine in seeing and hearing. ɪʊ lʌɾɪkaː d̪eːkʰʌiː sʊnʌiː mə ʈʰiːk hʌiː इउ लरिका देखई सुनई म ठीक है।
alt. ɪ lʌɾɪkaː d̪eːkʰʌiː sʊnʌiː mə ʈʰiːk ʌhʌiː alt. इ लरिका देखई सुनई म ठीक अहै।
(She) said, let (me) eat a little and give a little to this one too. kʌɦɪn laːoː t̪ʰoːɽaː kʰaːɪ leːiː t̪ʰoːɽaː jʌhu kɘ d̪ʌɪ d̪eːiː कहिन, लाओ थोड़ा खाई लेई, थोड़ा यहु का दै देई।
alt. kʌɦɪn lyaːvː t̪ʰoːɽaː kʰaːɪ leːiː raːçi keː jʌnhu kɘ d̪ʌɪ d̪eːiː alt. कहिन, ल्याव थोड़ा खाई लेई, रचि के एन्हुं के दै देई।
Those who go will be beaten. d͡ʒoː d͡ʒʌɪɦʌĩ soː maːrʊ̥ kʰʌɪɦʌĩ जो जइहैं सो मारउ खइहैं।
alt. d͡ʒèː d͡ʒʌɪɦʌĩ soː maːr kʰʌɪɦʌĩ alt. जे जइहैं सो मार खइहैं।
Do not shoot at the birds. cɪɾʌɪjʌn pʌɾ chʌrːaː nə cʌlaːoː चिरइयन पर छर्रा न चलाओ।
alt. cɪɾʌɪjʌn peː chʌrːaː jin cʌlaːwː alt. चिरइयन पे छर्रा जिन चलाव।

See also


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Awadhi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). p. 1.
  5. ^ Linguistic Survery Of India Specimens Of The Eastern Hindi Language Vol.6. p. 1.
  6. ^ Evolution Of Awadhi. p. 6.
  7. ^ Linguistic Survery Of India Specimens Of The Eastern Hindi Language Vol.6. p. 10.
  8. ^ Saksena 1937, p. 1.
  9. ^ Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). pp. 1–2.
  10. ^ a b Linguistic Survey Of India Vol. 6. pp. 9–10.
  11. ^ Saxena, Baburam. Evolution of Awadhi. pp. 2–5.
  12. ^ "Awadhi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Fiji Hindi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b Grierson (1904:2)
  15. ^ Mandal, R. B. (1990). Patterns of Regional Geography: Indian perspective. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 127–129. ISBN 978-81-7022-291-0.
  16. ^ Saxena (1971:6)
  17. ^ Grierson (1904:13)
  18. ^ Saxena (1971:11-12)
  19. ^ Padam, Sandeep (21 March 2018). Hanuman Chalisa: Verse by Verse Description (in Hindi). Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-64249-611-6.
  20. ^ Shamim, Dr Rupali Saran Mirza Dr and Amna (14 November 2016). Lucknow Poetica. Idea Publishing. p. 42.
  21. ^ Vishwananda, Paramahamsa Sri Swami (13 March 2018). Sri Hanuman Chalisa: Commentary on the Praises to the Eternal Servant. BoD – Books on Demand. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-96343-015-2.
  22. ^ Saxena (1971:12)
  23. ^ Tulasīdāsa (1999). Sri Ramacaritamanasa. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 747. ISBN 978-81-208-0762-4.
  24. ^ Rao, I. Panduranga (1998). "Review of The Beautiful Verses (Ram-Charit Manas, "Sunder-Kand" and Hanuman Chalisa of Goswami Tulsidas rendered into English verse)". Indian Literature. 41 (1 (183)): 240–241. ISSN 0019-5804. JSTOR 23341337.
  25. ^ Orsini (2014:200)—"That Brahmin kathavachaks were not the only tellers of the story is proved by the first Hindi vernacular adaptation of the Dasam Skandha, the Haricharit in chaupai doha by Lalach Kavi, a Kayastha from “Hastigram” (present-day Hathgaon) near Rae Bareilly, concluded in 1530 (VS1587)."
  26. ^ Vaudeville (1990:263)
  27. ^ Orsini (2014:213)
  28. ^ Kutban (2012:9)
  29. ^ Saxena (1971:15)
  30. ^ Manjhan (2001:xi) —"Manjhan's birth place Rajgir is in the present day state of Bihar, not far away from Patna in northern India, and the poem itself is written in Awadhi or eastern Hindavi".
  31. ^ ", Movies: Exclusive!!! Aamir Khan on the sets of Lagaan". Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  32. ^ "'Lagaan: Just perfect' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Making music, from Aamir to Dev D". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Yudh review: Amitabh Bachchan's show limps back to sluggish pace - Hindustan Times". 2 August 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  35. ^ Pandey (2011:31)
  36. ^ Singh (2019:27-29)


Further readings

1. Behl, Aditya; Doniger, Wendy, eds. (29 November 2012). Love's Subtle Magic: An Indian Islamic Literary Tradition, 1379-1545. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514670-7.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 December 2019, at 13:00
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