Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश, IPA: [əpəbʱrə̃ˈɕə], Prakrit: Avahansa) is a cover term used to refer a number of dialects of various Middle Indo-Aryan languages.:p.42 These dialects were formed during the transition period of Middle Indo-Aryan languages and Modern Indo-Aryan languages, spanning between the 6th and the 12th, 13th-15th[clarification needed] centuries CE. The term Apabhraṃśa is used by Sanskrit grammarians since Patañjali. Apabhraṃśa in Sanskrit literally means "corrupt" or "non-grammatical language".
Apabhraṃśa literature is a valuable source of the history of North India for the period spanning from the 12th to 16th centuries.
Dialects of various Middle Indo-Aryan languages (including Prakrit languages) gradually transformed into Apabhraṃśa dialects which were used until about the 13th to 15th centuries. Apabhraṃśas later evolved into Modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindustani, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya, Punjabi, Konkani and Sinhala. The boundaries of these periods are somewhat hazy, not strictly chronological. The modern northern Indian languages are often considered to have begun to develop a distinct identity around the 11th century, while the Apabhraṃśa dialects were still in use, and became fully distinct by the end of the 12th, 13th-15th centuries.[clarification needed]
A significant amount of Apabhraṃśa literature has been found in Jain libraries. While Amir Khusrow and Kabir were writing in a language quite similar to modern Hindi, many poets, especially in regions that were still ruled by Hindu kings, continued to write in Apabhraṃśa. These authors include Saraha, Tilopa and Kanha of Kamarupa; Devasena of Dhar (9th century CE); Pushpadanta of Manyakheta (9th century CE); Dhanapal; Muni Ramsimha; Acharya Hemachandra of Patan; and Raighu of Gwalior (15th century CE).
An early example of the use of Apabhraṃśa is in Vikramorvashiyam of Kālidāsa, when Pururava asks the animals in the forest about his beloved who had disappeared. Compositions in Apabhramsha continued until Vikram Samvat 1700, when Bhagavatidas wrote Migankaleha Chariu
- Shastri, Dr Devendra Kumar (1996). Apabhramsha Bhasha Sahitya Ki Shodh Pravritiyan. New Delhi: Bhartiya Jnanpith. Bhartiya Jnanpith Bhartiya Jnanpith. p. 388.
- Shapiro, Hindi
- Apabhramsha Sahitya, Devendra Kumar Jain, Mahavir Jain Vidyalay Suvarna Mahotsav Granth, 2003.
 See also
- Shapiro, Michael C. Hindi. Facts about the world's languages: An encyclopedia of the world's major languages, past and present. Ed. Jane Garry, and Carl Rubino: New England Publishing Associates, 2001.