Awadhi language

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Native to India, Nepal, Fiji (as Fijian Hindustani)[1]
Region Awadh and Lower Doab regions in Uttar Pradesh and Nepal and adjacent areas of neighboring states
Ethnicity Awadhis
Native speakers
3.85 million[2] (2011 census)[1]
501,752 in Nepal (2011 census)[3] Census results conflate most speakers with Hindi.[4]
Devanagari, Kaithi, Perso-Arabic
Official status
Official language in
 Fiji (as Fiji Hindi)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 awa
ISO 639-3 awa
Glottolog awad1243[5]

Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी) is a major dialect of Eastern Hindi branch of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern India. [6][7] It is primarily spoken in the Awadh (Avadh) region of present day Uttar Pradesh, India. [6] The name Awadh is connected to Ayodhya, the ancient town, which is regarded as the homeland of Śrī Rāma in the Hindu epic Ramayana.

It was, along with Braj Bhasha, used widely as a literary vehicle before being ousted by Hindustani is the 19th century. [8]

The dialect is also referred as Pūrbī literally meaning eastern, as well as Baiswāri.[6][9]


In early Prakrit era, Awadhi speaking region was surrounded by Sauraseni spoken on its west and Magadhi on its east. This led to emergence of a Prakrit partly taking character of Sauraseni and partly that of Magadhi giving rise to Ardhamagadhi Prakrit or 'Half-Magadhi. Awadhi descends from the same Ardhamagadhi Prakrit.[10][11]


Quite a few important literary works were composed in the language[12][13], namely: 

  • Chandayan by Da’ud. (1373-1375 A.D.)[14][15]

Geographical Distribution

In India

Awadhi is predominantly spoken in the Awadh region (except Hardoi district) encompassing central Uttar Pradesh along with lower portion of Ganga-Yamuna doab.[16][17] The districts include:

In Nepal

It's spoken mainly in Province No. 5 where Awadhi is an official language alongside Nepali.

Outside South Asia

A form of Awadhi is also spoken as a lingua franca for Indians in Fiji. Fiji Hindi is an older Awadhi dialect that was influenced by other Indian dialects, but retains most grammatical features of Awadhi.[18] Another form of Awadhi, known as Caribbean Hindustani is spoken in countries like Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and other countries in the Caribbean. It is a mix of Bhojpuri, Awadhi, and other Indian dialects.

Popular culture

In 2001 Bollywood movie Lagaan, a neutralised form of Awadhi language was used to make it understandable to the masses.[19][20] The 2009 Bollywood movie Dev.D featured an Awadhi song 'Paayaliya' composed by Amit Trivedi.[21] In the television series Yudh, Amitabh Bachchan spoke parts of his dialogue in Awadhi which received critical acclaim from Hindustan times.[22]

Sample Phrases

Here are some sample phrases:

Awadhi English Translation Modern Standard Hindi
IPA: ɦʊãː koː or kəʊn ɾəɦəĩ

Devanagari: हुआँ को/कउन रहैं?

Who were there? वहाँ कौन थे?
IPA: ɪʊ lʌɾɪkaː d̪eːkʰʌiː sʊnʌiː mə ʈʰiːk hʌiː

Devanagari: इउ लरिका देखई सुनई म ठीक है।

This boy is fine in seeing and hearing. यह लड़का देखने सुनने में ठीक है।
IPA: soː haːɾ hʌm eːk ɔːrət̪ kə d̪eː d̪iːnɦ

Devanagari: सो हार, हम एक औरत का दे दीन्ह।

That necklace, I gave away to a woman. वह हार, मैंने एक औरत को दिया।
IPA: eːku̥ jʌnaː aːwaː hʌɪ

Devanagari: एकउ जना आवा है।

One person has arrived. एक व्यक्ति आ गया है।
IPA: d͡ʒoː d͡ʒʌɪɦʌĩ soː maːrʊ̥ kʰʌɪɦʌĩ

Devanagri: जो जइहैं सो मारउ खइहैं।

Those who will go will be beaten. जो जाएंगे उन्हें पीटा जाएगा।
IPA: kʌɦɪn laːoː t̪ʰoːɽaː kʰaːɪ leːiː t̪ʰoːɽaː jʌhu kɘ d̪ʌɪ d̪eːiː

Devangari: कहिन, लाओ थोड़ा खाई लेई, थोड़ा यहु का  दै देई।

(She) said, let (me) eat a little and give a little to this one too. (उसने) कहा, चल (मुझे) थोड़ा खाने दे और इसे भी थोड़ा-सा दे।
IPA: cɪɾʌɪjʌn pʌɾ chʌrːaː nə cʌlaːoː

Devanagari: चिरइयन पर छर्रा न चलाओ।

Do not fire shot at the birds. पक्षियों पर छर्रा ना चला।

See also


  1. ^ a b Awadhi at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Census of India: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues –2001". Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Awadhi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  6. ^ a b c Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). p. 1. 
  7. ^ Linguistic Survery Of India Specimens Of The Eastern Hindi Language Vol.6. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Evolution Of Awadhi. p. 11. 
  9. ^ Linguistic Survery Of India Specimens Of The Eastern Hindi Language Vol.6. p. 10. 
  10. ^ Linguistic Survery Of India Specimens Of The Eastern Hindi Language Vol.6. p. 2. 
  11. ^ Patterns of Regional Geography: Indian perspective. p. 127. 
  12. ^ Saxena, Baburam. Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). pp. 11–12. 
  13. ^ Grierson. Indo-Aryan Family. Mediate Group. Specimens of the Eastern Hindī Language. pp. 12–13. 
  14. ^ "Historical dictionary of Medieval India". 
  15. ^ "Columbia University". 
  16. ^ Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). pp. 1–2. 
  17. ^ Linguistic Survey Of India Vol. 6. p. 10. 
  18. ^ "Fiji Hindi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  19. ^ ", Movies: Exclusive!!! Aamir Khan on the sets of Lagaan". Retrieved 2018-09-16. 
  20. ^ "'Lagaan: Just perfect' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-09-16. 
  21. ^ "Making music, from Aamir to Dev D". Retrieved 2018-09-05. 
  22. ^ "Yudh review: Amitabh Bachchan's show limps back to sluggish pace - Hindustan Times". 2014-08-02. Retrieved 2018-09-16. 

External links

  • Entry for Awadhi at SIL International
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