Marathi language

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'.

Geographic distribution

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.

Official status

Marathi is an official language of Indian state of Maharashtra, and a co-official language or used for official purposes in Goa, union territory of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar haveli. The Constitution of India recognizes Marathi as one of India's 22 official languages.

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.


Main article: Marathi literature.

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.

Pre-13th century

Earliest forms

The first written attestation of Marathi, a document found in Karnataka, dates from A.D.700 The earliest known written form is on the copper plate of Vijayaditya found in Satara, dated 739.

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.

12th century to 1905


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.

Mahanubhav sect

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.

Warkari sect

They were followed by the Warkari saint-poet Eknath ((1528–1599). Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayana brought the message of Bhagvat cult to the people with great power. Mukteswar translated the great epic Mahabharata into Marathi. Social reformers like saint-poet Tukaram transformed Marathi into a rich literary language. A real genius, Saint Tukaram’s(1608-49) poetry contained his wonderful inspirations. He was a radical reformer. Conciseness, clarity, vigor and earnestness were the peculiarities of his poetry. A shudra by birth, Tukaram wrote 3000 Abhangas. Their appeal is timeless. He was followed by Ramadas. Writers of the Mahanubhav sect contributed to Marathi prose while the saint-poets of Warkari 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. Another notable aspect is the contribution of Christian missionaries in Goa. Father Stephens (1549-1619) who came to India, studied Marathi language. His Krista Purana (क्रिस्तपुराण), written in Marathi and Konkani is considered a classic on the model of Jnaneshwari.

Maratha 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 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.

18th century

In the 18th century, some well-known works like 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 the leading poets during Peshwa period. New literary forms were successfully experimented with during the period and classical styles were revived, especially the Mahakavya and Prabandha forms.

After 1800

This British colonial period (also known as the Modern Period) saw standardization of Marathi grammar through efforts of Christian missionary, William Carey. The Christian missionaries played an important role in the production of scientific dictionaries and grammars.

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.

20th century to present

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 spoken in the west Khandesh North Maharashtara region.

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.


Khandeshi is spoken in East Khandesh specifically in Yawal and Raver Talukas. Khandeshi is also called as Tawadi which is specifically spoken by Leva Patils dominant caste of east Khandesh. Bahinabai Chaudhari is well known poet in Khandeshi, the study of her literature is studied and included in Marathi language. It is often misquoted that Bahinabai is an ahirani poet.


Varhādi or Vaidarbhi is spoken in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

In Marathi, the retroflex lateral approximant (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.


This dialect may not necessarily be named thus. It was primarily spoken by Wadvals, which essentially means agricultural plot owners, of the Naigaon, Vasai to Dahanu region. Somavamshi Kshatriyas speak this dialect. This language is preserved mostly by the Roman Catholics native to this region, since they are a closely knit community here and have very few relatives outside this region. It was also widely spoken among the Hindus native to this region, but due to external influences, ordinary Marathi is now more popular among the Hindus. There are many songs in this language. Recently a book was published by Nutan Patil containing around 70 songs. The songs are about marriage, pachvi etc. The dialect of the Kolis (fisherfolk) of Vasai and neighbouring Bombay resembles this dialect closely, though they speak with a heavier accent.


Samavedi is spoken in the interiors of Nala Sopara and Virar region to the north of Mumbai in the Vasai Taluka, Thane District of Maharashtra. The name of this language correctly suggests that its origins lie with the Samavedi Brahmins native to this region. Again this language too finds more speakers among the Roman Catholic converts native to this region (who are known as East Indians), but nevertheless is popular among the Samavedi Brahmins. This dialect is very different from the other Marathi dialects spoken in other regions of Maharashtra, but resembles Wadvali very closely. Both Wadvali and Samavedi have relatively higher proportion of words imported from Portuguese as compared to ordinary Marathi, because of direct influence of the Portuguese who colonized this region till 1739.

Are Marathi

Are Marathi, written in Devanagari script as अरे मराठी, is another dialect spoken mostly in Andhra Pradesh.

Thanjavur Marathi and Namdev Marathi

Thanjavur Marathi, Namdev Marathi and Bhavsar Marathi are spoken by many Southern Indians. This dialect evolved from the time of occupation of the Marathas in Thanjavur in southern Tamil Nadu. It has speakers in parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.


Other dialects of Marathi include Warli of Thane District, Dakshini (Marathwada), Deshi (Eastern Konkan Ghats), Deccan, Nagpuri, Ikrani and Gowlan.

Other languages having considerable Marathi influence

  • Dakhini and Hyderabadi Urdu spoken in Hyderabad and some parts of Deccan are considerably influenced by Marathi. The grammar of Hyderabadi Urdu is adapted from Marathi. In fact, it is also called a creole between Marathi and Urdu with some Telugu words.
  • Kannada: especially the northern Karnataka Kannada has been heavily influenced by Marathi. E.g. the feature of aspiration, quite non-native to any Dravidian language, is found in northern Kannada. Also some kinship terms like vahini (brother's wife) are adapted from Marathi. The use of Marathi for numbers is also common amongst Northern districts of Karnataka.


The phoneme inventory of Marathi is similar to that of many other Indo-Aryan languages. An IPA chart of all contrastive sounds in Marathi is provided below.

  Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Alveopalatal Velar Glottal



    s   ɕ   h
Nasals m

ɲ ŋ  
Liquids ʋ
  l ɾ
lʰ ɾʰ
ɭ ɽ j    

  Front Central Back
High i   u
Mid e ə o
Low   a  


Like other abugidas, Devanagari writes out syllables by adding vowel diacritics to consonant bases. The table below includes all the vowel symbols used in Marathi, along with a transliteration of each sound into the Roman alphabet and IPA.

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.


The table below includes all the consonant bases onto which vowel diacritics are placed. The lack of a vowel diacritic can either indicate the lack of a vowel, or the existence of the default, or "inherent", vowel, which in the case of Marathi is the schwa.


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.

Devanagari script

Marathi is written in the Devanagari script, an alphasyllabary or abugida consisting of 16 vowel letters and 36 consonant letters making a total of 52 letters. It is written from left to right. Devnagari used to write Marathi is slightly different than that of Hindi or other languages. Marathi Devnagari script is called as Balbodh (बाळबोध) script.

Modi script

Marathi was written in Modi script-- a cursive script designed for minimising the lifting of pen from paper while writing. Most writings of Maratha empire are in Modi script. However, Persian-based scripts were also used for court documentation. With the advent of large-scale printing, Modi script fell into disuse, as it proved very difficult for type-setting. Currently due to availability of Modi fonts and the enthusiasm of the young generation the script is far from being vanished. (See Reference Links).

Consonant clusters

In Marathi, the consonants by default come with a schwa. Therefore, तयाचे will be 'təyāce', not 'tyāce'. To form 'tyāce', 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:

  • त्याचे - tyāce - "his"
  • प्रस्ताव - prastāv-"proposal"
  • विद्या - vidyā - "knowledge"
  • म्यान - myān
  • त्वरा - tvarā
  • महत्त्व - mahattva - "importance"
  • क्त - phakt - "only"
  • बाहुल्या - bāhulyā - "dolls"

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.

  • ण्हेरी - kaṇherī - "a shrub known for flowers"
  • न्हाणे - nhāṇ - "bath"
  • म्हणून - mhaṇūn - "because"
  • ऱ्हा - taṟhā - "different way of behaving"
  • कोल्हा - kolhā - "fox"
  • केंव्हा - keṃvhā "when"


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.

Marathi organisations

Many government and semi-government organisations exist which work for regulation, promotion and enrichment of Marathi language. These are either initiated or funded by Government of Maharashtra. Few prominent Marathi organisations are given below:

Outside Maharashtra state

  • Gomantak Marathi academy
  • Madhya Pradesh Sahitya Parishad, Jabalpur
  • Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Paraishad, Hyderabad
  • Marathi Sahitya Parishad, Karnataka


Sharing of linguistic resources with other languages

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.

Marathi has also shared directions, vocabulary and grammar with languages like Indian Dravidian languages, and a few foreign languages like Persian, Arabic, English and a little from Portuguese.

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.

Influence of foreign languages

  • 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.

Word formation and origin

Marathi has taken words from and given words to Sanskrit, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, and Portuguese. At least 50% of the words in Marathi are either taken or derived from Sansrit.

  • Adakitta "nutcracker" directly borrowed from Kannada
  • Khurchii "chair" is derived from Arabic kursi
  • Jaahiraat "advertisement" is derived from Persian zaahiraat See Note 1
  • Shiphaaras "recommendation" is derived from Persian sifarish
  • Marjii "wish" is derived from Persian "marzi"
  • Batataa "potato", is derived from Portuguese
  • Ananas "pineapple", is derived from Portuguese See Note 2
  • Niga "looking after" is derived from Persian nîgâh "sight-vision"
  • Hajeri Attendance from Hajiri Urdu

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.

  • Navy compared to Nau
  • Dew compared to Dav
  • Tree compared to Taru
  • path compared to patha

Forming complex words

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 , , 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:

  • 100: shambhar (also constructed with number prefix and "-she" suffix)
  • 1,000: hazaar (or sahasra, a word close to the Sanskrit version)
  • 100,000: laakh (or laksha)
  • 10,000,000: koti
  • 1,000,000,000: abja
  • 10,000,000,000: kharva
  • 100,000,000,000: nikharva
  • 100,000,000,000,000,000: parardha

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

Example short phrases

Words/phrases Transliteration Meaning
नमस्कार Namaskār. Hi/Hello.
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.")
धन्यवाद Dhanyavād. Thank you.
हो Ho. Yes.
नाही Nāhī. No.
नको Nako. No, thank you.
किती? Kitī? How much?/How many?
कुठे? Kuthe? Where?
कसे? Kase? How?
केव्हा? Kevha? When?
कोण? Kon? Who?
काय? Kaay? What?
शुभ रात्री Śhubh Ratri. Good night.

Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan

An annual gathering of all marathi poets, writers and critics happens at various places across the country. In 2007 it was organised at Sangli in Maharashtra. The purpose of these gatherings is to enrich Marathi literature by making knowledge sharing and throwing innovative ideas. This also gives the people in that region an opportunity to meet and interact with their favourite writers.

Marathi on computers and internet

Historically, Marathi has 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. Shrilipi, Shivaji and Kiran fonts were used prior to introduction of Unicode standard for Devanagari script. Various Marathi typing software is widely used and display interface packages are now available on both Windows and Linux. Many Marathi websites, including prominent Marathi newspapers, have become popular especially with Maharashtrians outside India. Online projects like the Marathi language Wikipedia, the Marathi blogroll and Marathi blogs have gained immense popularity.

Voyager Golden Record

The Golden Record carries greetings from earth to the Universe in 55 Different Languages, Marathi is one of them. The words are "Namaskar! Hya prithvitil lok tumhala tyanche shubhavichar pathavitat, ani tyanchi iccha ahe ki tumhi hya janmi dhanya vha

See also


  • Marathi: The Language and its Linguistic Traditions - Prabhakar Machwe, Indian and Foreign Review, 15 March 1985.
  • 'Atyavashyak Marathi Vyakaran' (Essential Marathi Grammar) - Dr. V. L. Vardhe
  • 'Marathi Vyakaran' (Marathi Grammar) - Moreshvar Sakharam More.
  • 'Marathi Vishwakosh, Khand 12 (Marathi World Encyclopedia, Volume 12), Maharashtra Rajya Vishwakosh Nirmiti Mandal, Mumbai
  • 'Marathyancha Itihaas' by Dr. Kolarkar, Shrimangesh Publishers, Nagpur
  • 'History of Medieval Hindu India from 600AD to 1200 AD, by C. V. Vaidya
  • Marathi Sahitya (Review of the Marathi Literature up to I960) by Kusumavati Deshpande, Maharashtra Information Centre, New Delhi

External links


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