|Native to||India, Nepal, Fiji (as Fiji Hindi), Mauritius|
|Region||India: Awadh and Lower Doab regions of Uttar Pradesh, as well as in the parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi
Nepal: Lumbini Zone, Kapilbastu District; Bheri Zone, Banke District, Bardiya District
|45 million (2001)
Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.
|Devanagari, Kaithi, Persian|
Official language in
|No official status|
Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी, Perso-Arabic: اودهي), aka Kosali or Baiswari, is an Eastern Hindi language, a dialect of the Hindi dialect continuum. It is spoken chiefly in the Awadh (Oudh) region of Uttar Pradesh and Nepal although its speakers are also found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi. A mixture of Awadhi, Brij Bhasha and Bundeli is also spoken in the Vatsa country (Lower Doab) south of Awadh region which includes Kanpur and Allahabad. It is also spoken in most of the Caribbean countries where the people of Uttar Pradesh were taken as indentured workers by the British India government. According to 2001 census, it ranks 29th in the List of languages by number of native speakers in World.
Awadhi is also known by alternate names of Abadhi, Abadi, Abohi, Ambodhi, Avadhi, Baiswari, Kojali and Kosali.
Name of the language
Awadhi is the main dialect of the Eastern Hindi branch of the Indo-Aryan group of languages spoken in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora spread all over world. The term Awadhi appears to denote the language of Awadh (Oudh) but as matter of fact it is not confined to Awadh (Oudh) but also spoken outside Awadh e.g. Kanpur, Allahabad and some parts of Nepal, Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad, Malaysia, Guyana. It is also spoken in some parts of maharastra, haryana, bihar, jharkhand, uttrakhand, madhya pradesh. Many people claim it as being the language of sultan(emperors). Awadhi is spoken by roughly 45 million people.
Awadhi is mainly spoken in the major part of Uttar Pradesh or Central Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Bihar, the adjoining Madhesh area of Nepal, the lower stretch of the Ganges–Yamuna Doab, and Caribbean countries.A distribution of the geographical area can be found in volume 9 of 'Linguistic Survey of India' by George A. Grierson.
Awadhi is a language spoken by more than 45 million people. The language is ranked 29th out of the most spoken languages in the world and is mainly heard in India, Nepal, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia and Mauritius. Most speakers of the language speak it as a first, not second, language. Awadhi belongs to the Indo-European language family. The writing system used for Awadhi is usually Devanagari or Kaithi, although some people use a mixture of both, and Muslims use the Persian script.
The 2001 census identified Awadhi as a language/dialect having more than one and a half million speakers speaking it as their mother tongue. It was grouped under Hindi. By the census of 2011 number of its speakers has also increased considerably.
In Awadh, it is spoken in the following districts almost entirely:
- Rae bareli
- Ambedkar Nagar
Excluding Awadh, the Language is also spoken widely in the Lower Doab:
In the Lower Doab, Awadhi is spoken with influences from Kannauji, Bundeli and Bagheli. Kanpur Urban excluding the westernmost areas of the district which speak entirely in Kannauji, Bundeli in southern parts of Fatehpur and Kaushambi districts, while part of Allahabad district south of Yamuna speaks with the mixture of Bagheli and Bundeli
It is spoken in these districts:
- Lakhimpur Kheri (excluding western areas)
- Sitapur (excluding western areas)
- Ambedkar Nagar (excluding eastern areas)
- Basti (excluding eastern areas)
- Siddharthnagar district
In Nepal, it is spoken in the following regions:
- Nepalgunj is the main centre of Awadhi in Nepal.
In literary traditions
At present there is little literary endeavour in Awadhi, since most speakers have adopted western Hindi or Urdu. Although today it is only considered a dialect of Hindi, before the standardization of Hindi, it was one of the two most important literary dialect of Hindustani (the other being Braj Bhasha). Awadhi was one of the earliest Indo-Aryan languages to be cultivated for literature. The oldest specimen of Awadhi is found in Ukti-vyakti-prakarana by Damodara Pandita, who flourished during the first half of the 12th century. He wrote this book to teach Awadhi through his mother tongue which was a kind of old Awadhi. The Sufi tradition which became established in India in the 14th century found a series of writers, mostly Muslim, who took a number of poems of medieval Hindu inspiration and wove them into poems in Awadhi. Maulana Daud was probably the first of them. The manuscripts of these poems are mostly Persian in character due to the Muslim influence existing at that point of time.
The Awadhi dialect of Hindi was enriched by a number of Sufi writers who wove some romantic tales of the folklore type into beautiful allegorical plays by way of elucidating the characteristics of Sufi doctrines. Maulana Daud is the author of the oldest work of this type, Chandayan. But the greatest writer of this school was Malik Muhammad Jayasi, whose poem Padmavat, composed between 1520 and 1540, is a detailed Sufi allegorical treatment of the famous story of Rani Padmini of Chittor.
The greatest Awadhi writer during this period was Gosvami Tulsidas, born in Uttar Pradesh in 1523. He wrote his masterpiece Ramcharitmanas in 1574. It narrates the story of Rama and through it propounds the story of the Bhakti movement. Tulsidas wrote many other devotional works, of which Vinaya-Patrika (Letters of Prayer) is the most well-known.
Important works in Awadhi include the Chandayan by Maulana Daud, the Padmavat by Malik Mohammad Jaisi (1540 A.D.), the Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas (1575 A.D.), and Indravati by Nur Muhammad (1757 A.D.). Many important works of the North-Indian Hindu devotional literature, including Chalisas such as Hanuman Chalisha, are written in Awadhi.
In popular culture
Before 1990, most of the Indian movies were influenced by Awadhi language. Awadhi had also been used in various Hindi movies like Lagaan, Peepli Live, tumko na bhool payenge, naya daur etc., and Amitabh Bachhan used Awadhi in his many movies and songs like Holi Khere Raghuvira Awadh Me from Baghban and Ek Rahe Eer Ek Rahe Beer from Bhootnath.
- Languages of India
- Languages with official status in India
- List of Indian languages by total speakers
Awadhi can roughly claim to be the language of the tract lying between Bareilly to Allahabad, north of the Yamuna river and south of Mahabharat range in Nepal, cornered by Etawah in south-east and Khalilabad of Basti Janpad in northeast. This makes Awadhi as the singly the most widely spoken dialect of Hindi.
|English sentence||Awadhi translation|
|What is your name?||Tohaar naav kaa hai?(tumar naam ka hai?)|
|Come here.||Hiyan aav(yehar aav).|
|What are you doing?||Toy ka karat has?(tum ka karat hav)|
|That man is going.||Ooh admi jaat hai/ Ooh aadmeeva jaat hai.|
|How are you?||Kaa haal-chaal hai?/ aur kes hav?|
|I'm fine.||Hum theek han/Ham theek ahi|
|I don't know.||Hum nahi jaanit hai / Hamka nahi maalum.|
|i'm going.||ham ja'it hi.|
|He is my son.||Ee hamaar lerka ahai.|
|She is my daughter.||Ee hamaar bitiya ahai.|
|What should i do?||Hum kaa kari?/ Hamka kaa karai ka chahi?|
|He is eating an apple.||Ooh ek seb khaat ahai/ Ooh ek seb khay raha hai.|
|I saw a film last week.||Hum pichhla hafta ek film dekhe gai rahe.|
|They went to the Masjid.||Ooh sabhe mahjid gaye hai.|
|She slept the whole night.||Ooh rat bhar sova kihis.|
|He has eaten.||Ooh khay lihis hai./ Ooh khaay chuka hai.|
|He will eat.||Ooh khayi.|
|He will go.||Ooh jaayi.|
|Why did you tell him to go?||Tum uka kaahe jaay khattir kahe hav?|
|Why is here crowded?||Hiyan (yehar) ee mazma kaahe jutta hai?/ Hiyan (yehar) etna hujum kahe hai?|
|I have to leave for Varanasi, next early morning.||Humka kaal bhorhi, Banaras khatir nikrek hai.|
|Which is best Hindi newspaper.||Sabse badhiya Hindi akhbar ka'un hot hai.|
|Where should i go?||Hum kahaan jaai?|
|It is a book.||Ee ek kitab hai.|
|Will you give me your pen?||Tum hamka aapan kalam dehav?|
|Yes, of course./ Why not.||Haan, jarur./ Kaahe nay.|
|Which village, you hail from?||Tumar gaon kahaan hai?|
|Did he call you?||Kaa ooh tumka balain hai?|
|This is our area.||Ee sabh apne jageer hai.|
|What's going on?||Kaa chalat hai?|
|Please say that again.||Tani phir se kahav.|
|Pleased to meet you.||Tumse mil ke badhiya lag hai./ Tumse mil ke khusi bhay hai.|
|Is everything alright?||Sab khairiyat se hai na?|
|How was your exam?||Tumar intihan kes bhava?|
|Are you married?||Tumar biyah bhava hai?/ Tum shadishuda hav?|
|She don't understand anything.||uka tankav na samajh me aave./ oo rattiv bhar nay samajh paavat hai.|
|Please speak more slowly||tanik silo bolav/ Tani aahista bolav|
|You are very beautiful.||Tum bade sundar hav. (to male)/ Tum badi sundar hav. (to female)|
|He is looking at you.||Ooh tohka taakat hai.|
|My life is full of problems.||Hamar jindagi khali pareshani se bhari hai.|
|Come with me.||Hamre saathe aav./ Hamre sange aav.|
|One language is never enough.||ek juban kabho kafi nay hot hai/ Ek jabaan kabbhav jada nay hot hai.|
|I'll come after you.||Hum tumre paachhe aaib.|
|Go there||Hunva jav.|
|I can do anything for you.||Hum tumre vaaste kuchhu kar sakat han./ Hum tumre khaatir kuchhu kar sakit hai.|
Note that the above table is mostly based on talking to a male who is older or of the same age. At other times, "tumar" tends to be "tohaar" and "tor" (for a younger person). While talking to someone, people often use the word "falane" or "falana" to refer to someone unnamed or unknown, like, "Falana ke bappa hinya aye rahain" which means, His (which is unnamed or he who can not be named) father has come here.
|Uncle||Chacha(Paternal), Phupha (Paternal), Mama (Maternal), Mausa (Maternal)|
|Aunty||Chachi (Maternal), Bua or Phua (Paternal), Mami (Maternal), Mausi (Maternal)|
|Yellow||Per or Piyar|
|Brown||Bhurwa or Bhuwar|
Name of days
|What||Kaa or kaav|
|Whom||Kikai or Kaykai|
|Whose||kikai (normal) or kaykai|
Some famous proverbs used in Awadhi:
माई के जियरा गाई कै, बेटवा के कसाई कै Maai ke jiyara gaai ke, betwa ke kasaai ke This means mother's heart is like the heart of a cow and the son's heart is that of a butcher. This is used in occasions when the mother does good things for her son, but the son is evil and does not consider his mother's good doings.
- Awadhi reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Detailed language map of western Nepal, see disjunct enclaves of language #2 in southwest
- 2001 Census
- History of Hindi language, Compiled by Sanjeev Nayyar, March 2002
- Evolution of Awadhi (a branch of Hindi) By Baburam Saksena
|Awadhi language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Tulsi Ramayana
- World Bible Translation Center: New Testament in Awadhi
- Awadhi Bible Downloads @ World Bible Translation Center
- Awadhi language audio Bible stories and lessons @ Global Recordings Network