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Gondi language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gondi (Koytor)
गोंडी (खौइ़तौल़ु)
Native toIndia
Ethnicity13.3 million Gonds
Native speakers
2.98 million; 1.95 million of Northern Gondi, 150,000 of Aheri Gondi, 300,000 of Adilabad Gondi (2011 census)[1]
Gunjala Gondi Lipi
Gondi script
Devanagari, Telugu script (used in conjunction)
Language codes
ISO 639-2gon
ISO 639-3gon – inclusive code
Individual codes:
gno – Northern Gondi
esg – Aheri Gondi
wsg – Adilabad Gondi
Glottologsout2711  Southern Gondi[2]
nort2702  Northern Gondi[3]

Gondi (Gōndi) is a South-Central Dravidian language, spoken by about two million Gōnd people,[4] chiefly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and in various adjoining areas of neighbouring states. Although it is the language of the Gond people, only one fifth of Gonds can speak the language, making it vulnerable to extinction. Gondi has a rich folk literature, examples of which are marriage songs and narrations.

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Gondi has a two-gender system, substantives being either masculine or nonmasculine. Gondi departed from the parent Proto-Dravidian language by developing initial voiced stops (g, j, , d, b) and aspirated stops (gh, jh, ḍh, dh, bh).


Most of the Gondi dialects are still inadequately recorded and described. The more important dialects are Dorla, Koya, Madiya, Muria, and Raj Gond. Some basic phonologic features separate the northwestern dialects from the southeastern. One is the treatment of the original initial s, which is preserved in northern and western Gondi, while farther to the south and east it has been changed to h; in some other dialects it has been lost completely. Other dialectal variations in the Gondi language are the alteration of initial r with initial l and a change of e and o to a.


Gondi writing can be split into two categories: that using non-native scripts and that using native scripts.

Traditionally, for lack of a widespread native script, Gondi has been written in Devanagari and Telugu script, which encompass the non-native scripts that have been used to write Gondi.

Efforts have been undertaken to create a native script for Gondi. In 1928, Munshi Mangal Singh Masaram designed a native script based on Brahmi characters and in the same format of an Indian alphasyllabary.[5] However, this script did not become widely used, and most Gonds remain illiterate.

According to Maharashtra Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre of India, a dozen manuscripts were found in this script. Programs to create awareness and promotion of this script among the Gondi people are in development stage.


  1. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Southern Gondi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Northern Gondi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Beine, David K. 1994. A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Gondi-speaking Communities of Central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. chpt. 1
  5. ^ "Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Gondi Script in the UCS" (PDF).

Further reading

  • Beine, David K. 1994. A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Gondi-speaking Communities of Central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. 516 p.
  • Chenevix Trench, Charles. Grammar of Gondi: As Spoken in the Betul District, Central Provinces, India; with Vocabulary, Folk-Tales, Stories and Songs of the Gonds / Volume 1 - Grammar. Madras: Government Press, 1919.
  • Hivale, Shamrao, and Verrier Elwin. Songs of the Forest; The Folk Poetry of the Gonds. London: G. Allen & Unwin, ltd, 1935.
  • Moss, Clement F. An Introduction to the Grammar of the Gondi Language. [Jubbalpore?]: Literature Committee of the Evangelical National Missionary Society of Sweden, 1950.
  • Pagdi, Setumadhava Rao. A Grammar of the Gondi Language. [Hyderabad-Dn: s.n, 1954.
  • Subrahmanyam, P. S. Descriptive Grammar of Gondi Annamalainagar: Annamalai University, 1968.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 July 2019, at 18:09
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