Abahatta (Prakrit: abasatta, Bengali: অবহট্ঠ ôbôhôtthô, ultimately from Sanskrit apaśabda; "meaningless sound") is a stage in the evolution of the Eastern group of Indo-Aryan languages. The eastern group consists of languages such as Bengali, Maithili and Oriya. Abahatta is also called Apabhramsa Avahatta, Apabhramsha Abahatta or Purvi Apabhramsa. Abahatta is considered to follow the Apabhraṃśa stage, i.e. those Apabhraṃśas derived from the Prakrit known as the Magahi language.
Abahatta, which existed from the 6th century to 14th century, was contemporaneous with some Apabhraṃśas as well as the early modern languages such as Old Oriya, Old Bengali and Old Maithili. Many poets composed both in Abahatta and a modern language such as the Charyapada poets, who wrote dohas or short religious verses in Abahatta; the Maithili poet Vidyapati wrote his autobiography Kirtilata in Abahatta.
The Abahatta stage is characterized by
- Loss of affixes and suffixes
- Loss of grammatical gender
- Increased usage of short vowels
- Nasalisation at the end or in the middle of words
- The substitution of h for s
In the history of the Bengali language, the Abahatta stage was followed by Old Bengali by c. 1100.
- Deshpande, Madhav - Sanskrit and Prakrit, p.32
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