Marathi (मराठी Marāṭhī) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of what is considered western India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are 90 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi is the 4th most spoken language in India and the 15th most spoken language in world. Along with Bengali, Marathi is the oldest of the regional literatures in Indo-Aryan languages, dating from about AD 1000.
Marathi is estimated to be over 1300 years old, and it is evolved from Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. Its grammar and syntax derive from Pali and Prakrit. In ancient times, Marathi was called Maharashtri, Marhatti, Mahratti etc.
Peculiar features of Marathi linguistic culture include Marathi drama, with its unique flavour of 'Sangeet Natak' (musical dramas), scholarly discourses called 'Vasant Vyakhyanmala' (Lectures in Spring), Marathi folk dance called 'Lavani', and special editions of magazines for Diwali called 'Diwali anka'.
Marathi is primarily spoken in Maharashtra and parts of neighboring states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, union-territories of Daman-diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli. The cities of Baroda, Surat, Ahmedabad and entire South Gujarat, particularly the Dang district, Belgaum, Hubli, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Bhalki, Bidar (Karnataka) Indore, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Tanjore (Tamil Nadu) each have sizable Marathi-speaking communities. Marathi is also spoken by Maharashtrian émigrés worldwide, in USA, UAE, South Africa, Singapore, Germany, UK, Australia & New Zealand. The Ethnologue states that Marathi is spoken in Israel and Mauritius.
In addition to all universities in Maharashtra, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Gujarat), Osmania University (Andhra Pradesh), Gulbarga university (Karnataka), Devi Ahilya University of Indore and Goa University (Panaji) all have special departments for higher studies in Marathi linguistics. Recently Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) has announced to start a special department for Marathi.
Four Prakrit vernacular languages were originally derived from Vedic Sanskrit. Further change in the Prakrits led to the Apabhramsha languages. Marathi evolved from Sanskrit through Maharashtri Prakrit and then Maharashtri Apabhramsha. Marathi may thus be described as being a re-Sanskritised, developed form of Maharashtri Apabhramsha.
Maharashtri Prakrit was commonly spoken until 875 A.D. and was the official language of the Satavahana empire. It had risen to a high literary level and works like Karpurmanjari and Saptashati (150 BC) were written in it. Maharashtri Prakrit was most popular among the Prakrit languages and widely spoken in western and southern India. It was spoken from Malwa and Rajputana in north to Krishna and Tungabhadrain south. Today's Marathi and Kannada speaking parts have spoken Maharashtri for centuries.
Maharashtri Apabhramsha (also known as Jain Apabhramsha) came into use about 200 years later and remained in use (by about A.D. 400) for more than a century. Apabhrmasha was used widely in Jain literature and formed an important link in evolution of Marathi. This form of Apabhramsha was re-Sanskritised and eventually became Marathi.
According to the written forms and historical attestations and evidences, Marathi is said to date to the 8th century.
The stone inscription at the feet of Shravanabelagola Gomateshwar in South Karnataka, whose first line reads as "Chavundarajen Karaviyalen" (श्रीचावुण्डराजे करवियले, श्रीगंगराजे सुत्ताले करवियले, meaning Built by Chavundaraja, the son of Gangaraja), is another old specimen, constructed in A.D.983.
Also, an interesting couplet is found in the Jain monk Udyotan Suri's 'Kuvalayamala' in the 8th century, referring to a bazaar where the Marhattes speak Didhale (Dile - given), Gahille (Ghetale - taken). The Marathi translation of Panchatantra is also considered very old.
It is obvious that at 983 A.D, Marathi was one of the distinctly different current languages, widely used by the people of area from North Maharashtra till South Karnataka. The six inscriptions now available dating between A.D. 979—1270 and placed in distant parts like Mysore, Khandesh and Mumbai are an index of the large area over which Marathi was spoken.
It is because the language was spoken so widely that the deeds of charitable gifts like the one at Patan recording the maintenance grants given by King Soidev to Changdev's University and the imperial mandates expected to be obeyed by all, like the Edict of King Aparaditya, of A.D. 1183, were inscribed in Marathi. The Pandharpur inscription (A.D. 1273) of the days of Raja Shiromani Ramdevrao is in flawless Marathi. Marathi was now spoken by all classes and castes.
Marathi literature began and grew thanks to the rise of the Yadava dynasty of Devgiri, who adopted Marathi as the court language and patronized Marathi learned men, and the rise of two religious sects - Mahanubhav Panth and Warkari Panth. 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 AD) are few examples.
The oldest book in prose form in Marathi, Vivekasindhu (विवेकसिंधु) is 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 another work Paramamrita considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vendantic principles in Marathi language. One of the famous saints of this period is Sant Dnyaneshwar (1275–1296) who wrote Bhavarthadeepika, popularly known as Dnyaneshwari (A.D 1290) and Amritanubhava. He also composed devotional songs called abhangas. Dnyaneshwar gave a higher status to Marathi by bringing the sacred Geeta from Sanskrit to Marathi. Mahanubhav panth and Warkari panth adopted Marathi as the medium for preaching their doctrines of devotion.
Notable examples of Marathi prose are "" (लीळाचरीत्र), events and anecdotes from miracle filled life of Chakradhar Swami of the Mahanubhav sect compiled by his close disciple, Mahimabhatta, in 1238. Mahanubhav sect made Marathi a vehicle for the propagation of religion and culture.
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 Orissa, and southwards to Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. These excursions by the Marathas helped the spread of 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. At the time, saint Tukaram made important contributions to Marathi poetic literature in Warkari Pantha, He was also 'Guru'(mentor) of 'Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj'. But by the late 18th century, the Maratha Empire's influence on a large part of the country was on the decline.
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 prose and reason. It was the period of 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 'Sangit 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 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, Phadke and V.S.Khandekar, 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 and C.T.Dhanolkar have written and produced a good number of plays which have earned a reputation beyond the border of Maharashtra during the last quarter of a century.
After the Indian independence, Marathi was accorded the status of a scheduled language on the national level.
By May 1, 1960, Maharashtra State 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.
But, while literature is still being written, the importance of English has been underscored by Indian strides after 1990 in the global IT market, rapid techno-educational growth and widening economic opportunities. Therefore, the Government of Maharashtra decided that English should be taught as a second language from the first standard (first grade) in schools where the medium of teaching was Marathi. This decision has been controversial and has caused many Marathi people to worry about the fate of their language, a concern which is compounded by the Marathi middle class's increasing preference for English-medium schools. Recently Government of Maharashtra made Marathi language compulsory in CBSE/ICSE boards are controlled by Central government. Marathi is already a compulsory subject in Maharashtra state board.
At the same time, the spread of spoken Marathi has increased beyond its regular boundaries due to the increase of its élite, well-educated global Maharashtrian diaspora. Several Marathi mandals have flourished (especially in United states, Europe and Gulf countries) for meetings and cultural events by them.
Standard Marathi is based on dialects used by academicians and the print media, and is influenced by educated élite of the Pune region. Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad (MSP) is apex guiding body for literary institutions of Marathi language. From time to time, MSP helps out in discourses over various aspects of Marathi and in laying down precedents by framing rules, whenever required.
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. Historically, the major dialect divisions have been Ahirani, Khandeshi, Varhadi, Wadvali, Samavedi and Are Marathi.
Ahirani is a language today spoken in the Jalgaon (Bhadgaon,Erandol, Pachora, Parola), Nandurbar, Dhule and Nashik (Baglan, Malegaon and Kalwan tehsils) districts of Maharashtra, India. It is further divided into dialects, such as Chalisgaon, Malegaon and Dhule group. Amalner is considered the cultural capital of Khandesh as Amalner has witnessed Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan. Adapting & bending the words from Hindi and Gujarati, Ahirani has created its own words which are never found in these languages. Ahirani is a colloquial form and uses the Modi script for its writing.
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.
Konkani refers to the collection of dialects of Marathi language spoken in the Konkan region. It is often mistakenly extended to cover Goan Konkani which is an independednt language. Grierson has referred to this dialect as the Konkan Standard of Marathi in order to differentiate it from Konkani language.. The sub-dialects of Konkani gradually merge from standard Marathi into Goan Konkani from north to south Konkan. The various sub dialects are: Parabhi, Koli, Kiristanv, Kunbi, Agari, Dhangari, Thakri, Karadhi, Sangameshwari, Bankoti and Maoli.
Other dialects of Marathi include Warli of Thane District, Dakshini (Marathwada), Deshi (Eastern Konkan Ghats), Deccan, Nagpuri, Ikrani and Gowlan.
| l ɾ|
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 अँ and आँ. The IPA signs for these are /æ/ and /ɔ/, respectively.
Marathi first appeared in writing during the 11th century in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. From the 13th century until the mid 20th century, it was written with the Modi alphabet. Since 1950 it has been written with the Devanāgarī alphabet.
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 on Marathi Grammar was printed in 1805 by William Kerry. 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 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 be followed as of 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.
An unusual feature of Marathi, as compared to other Indo-European languages, is that it displays the inclusive and exclusive we feature, that is common to the 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.
Over a period of many centuries Marathi language and people came into contact with many other languages and dialects. The primary influence of Prakrit, Maharashtri, Apbhramsha and Sanskrit is understandable.
Day-to-day Marathi includes a higher number of Sanskrit-derived (tatsam) words than sister languages like Hindi. Some Sanskrit words that are common in day-to-day spoken Marathi include nantar (from nantaram or after), (or complete, full, or full measure of something), anna (annam or food), (or cause) kadāchit (kadāchit or perhaps) satat (satatam or always), abhyās (abhyāsam or study), vichitra (vichitram or strange), svatah (svatah or himself/herself), prayatna (prayatnam or effort), bhiti (from bhiti, or fear) and vishesh (vishesham or special), amongst others.
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 exact effect on linguistcs.
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).
Many Marathi words are very close to English. It is interesting to have a look at the similarity.
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.
As with other Indic languages, there are distinct names for the fractions , , and . 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 (diiḍ) and (aḍich).
The powers of ten are as follows:
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 read as 12 laakh 34 hazaar 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 thens place minus one. For example, 29 is एकुणतीस (Thirty minus one). Two digit numbers used before hazaar, etc. are written in the same way
|तुम्ही कसे आहात?||Tumhī kase āhāt?||How do you do?|
|तू कसा आहेस?||Tū kasā āhes?||How are you? (to a male)|
|तू कशी आहेस?||Tū kaśī āhes?||How are you? (to a female)|
|आपण कसे आहात?||How are you? (formal)|
|तुम्हाला भेटून आनंद झाला||.||Pleased to meet you.|
|पुन्हा भेटू||Goodbye. (Lit.: "We will meet again.")|
|नको||Nako.||No, thank you.|
|किती?||Kitī?||How much?/How many?|
|शुभ रात्री||Śhubh Ratri.||Good night.|