Kurukh language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kurux, Oraon
Native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan
Region Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal
Ethnicity Kurukh people
Native speakers
1,994,104, 52% of ethnic population (2001 census)
  • Northern Dravidian
    • Kurukh–Malto
      • Some Dravidulu Brahmins and Kshatriya
        • Kurukh
Tolong Siki, Devanagari, Malayalam
Language codes
ISO 639-2 kru
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kru – Kurukh
kxl – Nepali Kurux (Dhangar)
xis – Kisan
Glottolog kuru1301[1]

Kurukh /ˈkʊrʊx/[2] (also Kurux and Oraon or Uranw;[3] Devanagari: कुड़ुख़) is a Dravidian language spoken by nearly two million Oraon and Kisan tribal peoples of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal, as well as by 65,000 in northern Bangladesh, 28,600 a dialect called Dhangar in Nepal, and about 5,000 in Bhutan. Some Kurukh speakers are in South India. It is most closely related to Brahui and Malto (Paharia). The language grew in the number of speakers from 1971-2001 by almost 41% in India.[4] Despite this growth, the language is marked as being in a "vulnerable" state in UNESCO's list of endangered languages.[5] The Kisan dialect, with 141,000 speakers in 2001, is endangered, with a decline rate of around 12.1%.


Kurukh belongs to the Northern Dravidian group of the Dravidian family of languages,[6] and is closely related to Sauria Paharia and Kumarbhag Paharia, which are often together referred to as Malto.[7]

Kurukh is written in Devanagari, a script also used to write Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and other Indo-Aryan languages. Narayan Oraon, a doctor, invented the Tolong Siki script specifically for Kurukh. Many books and magazines have been published in Tolong Siki script. The Kurukh Literary Society of India has been instrumental in spreading the Tolong Siki script for Kurukh literature.


It is spoken by 2,053,000 people from the Oraon and Kisan tribes, with 1,834,000 and 219,000 speakers respectively. The literacy rate is 23% in Oraon and 17% in Kisan. Despite the large number of speakers, the language is considered to be endangered.[8] The governments of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have introduced the Kurukh language in schools with majority Kurukhar students.

Alternative names and dialects

Kurukh has a number of alternative names such as Uraon, Kurux, Kunrukh, Kunna, Urang, Morva, and Birhor. Two dialects, Oraon and Kisan, have 73% intelligibility between them. Oraon but not Kisan is currently being standardised. Kisan is currently endangered, with a decline rate of 12.3% from 1991-2001.[4]



Kurukh has five cardinal vowels. Each vowel has long, short nasalized and long nasalized counterparts.[9]

Kurukh simple vowels
Front Back
High /i/ /u/
Mid /e/ /o/
Low /a/


The table below illustrates the articulation of the consonants.[9]

Kurukh consonants
Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless /p/ /t/ /ʈ/ /c/ /k/ /ʔ/
Voiceless aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /ʈʰ/ /cʰ/ /kʰ/
Voiced /b/ /d/ /ɖ/ /j/ /g/
Voiced aspirated /bʰ/ /dʰ/ /ɖʰ/ /jʰ/ /gʰ/
Fricative /s/ (ʃ) /x/ /h/
Nasal /m/ /n/ (ɳ) /ɲ/ /ŋ/
Liquid /l/ /r/ /ɽ/ /ɽʰ/
Glide /w/ /y/


Kurukh languages is taught as a subject in the schools of Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam.[10]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kurux". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ "Kurukh". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ http://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/nepa1253
  4. ^ a b ORGI. "Census of India: Growth of Non-Scheduled Languages-1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001". www.censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2017-10-15. 
  5. ^ Evans, Lisa. "Endangered Languages: The Full List". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Stassen, Leon (1997). Intransitive Predication. Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory. Oxford University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0199258932. 
  7. ^ PS Subrahmanyam, "Kurukh", in ELL2. Ethnologue assigns Nepali Kurux a separate iso code, kxl.
  8. ^ Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine. Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Page 9.
  9. ^ a b Kobayashi, Masato and Tirkey, Bablu (2017). The Kurux Language: Grammar, Texts and Lexicon. Brill. pp. 23-38.
  10. ^ Revitalising a language - The Hindu

External links

  • Ferdinand Hahn (1903). Kuruḵh̲ (Orā̃ō)-English dictionary. Bengal Secretariat Press. pp. 126–. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  • Ferdinand Hahn (1900). Kuruḵẖ grammar. Bengal Secretariat Press. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  • Kuruk̲h̲ folk-lore: in the original. The Bengal Secretariat Book Depot. 1905. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  • Kurukh basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
  • Omniglot's page on Tolong Siki

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kurukh_language&oldid=825962426"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurukh_language
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Kurukh language"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA