|Region||Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh parts of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu.|
|73 million (2007)|
|Devanagari script (Marathi alphabet)
Official language in
|India: Maharashtra, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
|Regulated by||Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad & various other institutions|
mar – Modern Marathi
omr – Old Marathi
|omr Old Marathi|
Marathi (English pronunciation: i//; मराठी Marāṭhī [məˈɾaʈʰi]) is an Indo-Aryan language. It is the official language of Maharashtra state of India and is one of the 23 official languages of India. There were 73 million speakers in 2001; Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India. The major dialects of Marathi are called Standard Marathi and Warhadi Marathi. There are a few other sub-dialects like Ahirani, Dangi, Vadvali, Samavedi, Khandeshi, and Malwani. Standard Marathi is the official language of the State of Maharashtra.
Marathi is primarily spoken in Maharashtra and parts of neighbouring states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh,Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, union-territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The formerly Maratha ruled cities outside Maharashtra such as Baroda, Indore, Gwalior, and Tanjore each have sizable Marathi-speaking communities. Belgaum in the border region of Maharashtra and Karnataka, Surat, and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Adoni in Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad in Telengana have significant number of Marathi Speakers. Marathi is also spoken by Maharashtrian emigrants worldwide, especially in the United States, Israel, Mauritius, and Canada.
Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra and co-official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In Goa, Konkani is the sole official language; however, Marathi may also be used for all official purposes. The Constitution of India recognizes Marathi as one of India's twenty-two official languages.
In addition to all universities in Maharashtra, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in Vadodara, Osmania University in Hyderabad, Karnataka University in Dharwar, Gulbarga University in Gulbarga, Devi Ahilya University in Indore and Goa University in Goa have special departments for higher studies in Marathi linguistics. Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) has announced plans to establish a special department for Marathi.
Marathi is one of several languages that descend from Maharashtri Prakrit. Further change led to apabhraṃśa languages like Marathi, which may be described as being a re-Sanskritised, developed form of Maharashtri Apabhraṃśa.
Marathi literature began and grew owing 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) are a few examples.
The oldest book in prose form in Marathi, Vivekasindhu (विवेकसिंधु), 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.
Notable examples of Marathi prose are "Līḷācarītra" (लीळाचरीत्र), 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.
The Mahanubhav sect was followed by the Warkari saint-poet Eknath (1528–1599). Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayana brought the message of the Bhagvat cult[clarification needed] to the people. Mukteswar translated the epic Mahabharata into Marathi. Saint-poet Tukaram transformed Marathi into a rich literary language. Saint Tukaram’s (1608–49) poetry contained his inspirations. Tukaram wrote over 3000 Abhangas. He was followed by Ramadas. Writers of the Mahanubhav sect contributed to Marathi prose while the saint-poets of Varkari 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.
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 Delhi, eastwards to Odisha, and southwards to Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. 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.Sant Dyaneshwar wrote largest treaty of the initial time A D 1290 titled Dyaneshwari. later, Saint Tukaram made important contributions to Marathi poetic literature in Warkari Pantha. Saints like Samartha Ramdas (Dasboth), Sant Namdev (his marathi couplets were even taken to Punjab), Moropant (creator of 'Aryas") and many others created famous literary works in Marathi. There are lot of Bakharis written in Marathi and Modi lipi (shorthand marathi) from this period. But by the late 18th century, the Maratha Empire's influence over a large part of the country was on the decline.
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 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..
The British colonial period (also known as the Modern Period) saw standardization of Marathi grammar through the efforts of the Christian missionary William Carey. Carey's dictionary had fewer entries and Marathi words were in Modi script. The most comprehensive Marathi-English dictionaries was compiled by Captain James Thomas Molesworth in 1831. The book is still in print nearly two centuries after its publication.
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 English prose, 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 Sangeet 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.
The first half of the 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, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's nationalist literature 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 Maharashtra. P.L.Deshpande(PuLa), P.K.Atre & Prabodhankar Thakrey, were also known for their writings in Marathi in the field of Drama, Samaj Prabodhan. After Indian independence, Marathi was accorded the status of a scheduled language on the national level.
By 1 May 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.
Standard Marathi is based on dialects used by academics and the print media.
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.
Jhadi Boli or Jhadiboli is spoken in Jhadipranta (Forest rich region) of far eastern Maharashtra or eastern Vidarbha or western-central Gondvana comprising Gondia, Bhandara, Chandrpur, Gadchiroli and some parts of Nagpur and Wardha districts of Maharashtra.
Zadi Boli Sahitya Mandal and many literary are working for the conservation of this important and distinct dialect of Marathi.
Thanjavur Marathi, Namdev shimpi Marathi and Bhavsar Marathi are spoken by many Maharashtrians in Southern India. This dialect is stuck in the 17th century and is old Marathi - it did not change from the time the Marathas conquered Thanjavur and Bangalore in southern India. It has speakers in parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Varhadi (Varhādi), or Vaidarbhi, is spoken in the Western Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. In Marathi, the retroflex lateral approximant ḷ [ɭ] 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
Older aspirated *tsʰ, dzʱ have lost their onset, with *tsʰ merging with /s/ and *dzʱ being typically realized as an aspirated fricative, [zʱ]. This /ts, dz, zʱ/ series is not distinguished in writing from /tʃ, tʃʰ, dʒ, dʒʱ/.
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 अॅ and ऑ. The IPA signs for these are [æ] and [ɒ], respectively. Marathi retains the original Sanskrit pronunciation of certain letters such as the anusvāra (for instance, saṃhar, compared to sanhar in Hindi). Moreover, Marathi preserves certain Sanskrit patterns of pronunciation, as in the words purṇa and rāma compared to purṇ and rām in Hindi.
Written Marathi first appeared during the 11th century in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. The Marathi Devanagari alphabet are similar to the Hindi Devanagari alphabet. From the 13th century until the mid-20th century, Marathi was written in the Modi script. Since 1950 it has been written in Devanagari.
Marathi is usually written in the Devanagari script, an abugida consisting of 36 consonant letters and 16 initial-vowel letters. It is written from left to right. The Devanagari alphabet used to write Marathi is slightly different from the Devanagari alphabets of Hindi and other languages: there are a couple of additional letters in the Marathi alphabet, and Western punctuation is used. This Marathi Devanagari alphabet is called Balbodh (बाळबोध).
From the thirteenth century until 1950, Marathi was written in Modi script — a cursive script designed for minimising the lifting of pen from paper while writing. Currently, due to the availability of Modi fonts and the enthusiasm of the younger speakers, the script is far from disappearing. (See Reference Links).
Since Devanagri was difficult to type on Latin keyboards and Devanagri does not display properly on old computers without the proper fonts, the general public used to type Marathi in Latin on social networking sites like Facebook and in online chats. Since it was a new trend there was no standardisation of phonetic and spelling rules. This trend seems to have saturated and is on the decline due to widespread support of Unicode and the availability of easy to use Devanagari transliteration on modern computers.
In Marathi, the consonants by default come with a schwa. Therefore, तयाचे will be 'təyāche', not 'tyāche'. To form 'tyāche', you will have to add त् + याचे, giving त्याचे.
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:
Marathi has a few consonant clusters that are rarely seen in the world's languages, including the so-called "nasal aspirates" (ṇh, nh, and mh) and liquid aspirates (rh, ṟh, lh, and vh). Some examples are given below.
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 Carey. 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.[clarification needed]
The primary word order of Marathi is SOV (subject–object–verb) 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.
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 Marathi organisations are given below:
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, Apabhraṃśa and Sanskrit is understandable. At least 50% of the words in Marathi are either taken or derived from Sanskrit.
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 linguistics.
Noted freedom fighter and revolutionary, social emanicipator and Hindutva Ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, has contributed immensely to the language, by coining new marathi equivalents for words from other languages, mostly English. Prior to these marathi equivalents, words from other languages were used commonly which was unacceptable to Savarkar. He opined that intrusion of foreign words, polluted the marathi language, while also rendering the original marathi words, of the same meanings, obsolete. Following are some of the words coined and popularized by him for safeguarding cultural integrity:
School: शाळा, College: महाविद्यालय, Academy: प्रबोधिका, Headmaster: मुख्याध्यापक, Superintendent of highschool: आचार्य, Principal: प्राचार्य, Professor: प्राध्यापक, Dispensary: औषधालय, Consulting room: चिकित्सालय, Vakil(an Urdu word): विधिज्ञ, Fauj, Lashkar(Urdu): सेना, सैन्य, Skirmish: चकमक, Camp: शिबीर, छावणी, Submarine: पाणबुडी, Telephone: दूरध्वनी, Television: दूरदर्शन, Circular: परिपत्रक, Report: अहवाल, प्रतिवृत्त, इतिवृत्त, Jindabad: की जय, जय हो, अमर हो, Legislature: विधी मंडळ, Parliamentarian: संसदपटू, Ahmedabad: कर्णावती, Arabian sea: पश्चिम समुद्र, सिंधुसागर, Hyderabad(south): भाग्यनगर, Cinema hall:चित्रपटगृह, Cinema: चित्रपट, Film: चित्रावली, चित्रपट्टिका, Interval: मध्यंतर, Studio: कलागृह, कलामंदिर, Shooting: चित्रण, Three dimension: त्रिमितीपट, Green groom: नेपथ्य, Photograph: छायाचित्र, Camera: छायिक, Portrait: व्यक्तिचित्र, Tape recorder: ध्वनिमुद्रा, Scenario: पटकथा, चित्रकथा, Trailer: परिचयपट, Music director: संगीत नियोजक, Director: दिग्दर्शक, Editor: संकलक,
Day-to-day spoken Marathi retains a noticeably higher number of Sanskrit-derived (tatsam) words compared to sister North-Indian languages like Hindi, and many of these words are more or less unchanged versions of their original Sanskrit counterparts. Examples of such words used more or less daily by Marathi speakers include nantar (from nantaram or after), purṇa (purṇam or complete, full, or full measure of something), ola (olam or damp), karaṇ (karaṇam or cause), puṣkaḷ (puṣkalam or much, many), satat (satatam or always), vichitra (vichitram or strange), svatah (svatah or himself/herself), prayatna (prayatnam or effort, attempt), bhīti (from bhīti, or fear) and bhāṇḍa (bhāṇḍam or vessel for cooking or storing food). Others such as dār (dwāram or door), ghar (gṛham or house), vāgh (vyāghram or tiger), paḷaṇe (palāyate or to run away), kiti (kati or how many) have undergone more modification.
Examples of words borrowed from other Indian and foreign languages include:
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 lekhaṇii), "shirt" (sadaraa).
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.
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"), ashṭa-bhujaa ("eight-hands", name of a Hindu goddess), and so on. There are different names given to each type of samaas.
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 1⁄4, 1⁄2, and 3⁄4. They are paava, ardhaa, and pauṇa, respectively. For most fractions greater than 1, the prefixes savvaa-, saaḍe-, paavaṇe- are used. There are special names for 3⁄2 (diiḍ) and 5⁄2 (aḍich).
The powers of ten are as follows:
|Number power to 10||Marathi Number name|
|10^3||Hazaara (Sahasra, Ayut)|
|10^4||Daha Hazaara (dash-sahasra)|
|10^9||Abja (Arbud, Arab)|
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 written as 12,34,567 and read as 12 laakha 34 hazaara 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/एकोणतीस (एक-उणे-तीस)(Thirty minus one). Two digit numbers used before hazaara, etc. are written in the same way.
Shrilipi, Shivaji, kothare 2,4,6, Kiran fonts KF-Kiran and many more (about 48) based on ASCII code were used prior to the introduction of Unicode standard for Devanagari script. Fonts (Tanka) in ASCII code are in vogue on PCs even today since most of the computers in use are working with English Keyboard. Even today a large number of printed publications of books, newspapers and magazines are prepared using these ASCII based fonts. However, ASCII based fonts cannot be used on internet since those did not have unicode compatibility.
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. Various Marathi typing software is widely used and display interface packages are now available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Many Marathi websites, including Marathi newspapers, have become popular especially with Maharashtrians outside India. Online projects such as the Marathi language Wikipedia, with 36,000+ articles, the Marathi blogroll and Marathi blogs have gained immense popularity.
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