|Native speakers||2.7 million (2001)|
|Writing system||Devanagari script, Telugu script, Gondi script|
|ISO 639-3||gon – inclusive code
ggo – Southern Gondi
gno – Northern Gondi
Gondi (Gōndi) is a South-Central Dravidian language, spoken by about two million Gond people, chiefly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattishgarh and in various adjoining areas of neighbouring states. Although it is the language of the Gond people, only about half of them still speak it. Gondi has a rich folk literature, examples of which are marriage songs and narrations.
Gondi has a two-gender system, substantives being either masculine or nonmasculine. Gondi departed from the parent Proto-Dravidian language by developing initial voiced stops (g, j, ḍ, d, b) and aspirated stops (kh, gh, jh, dh, ph).
Most of the Gondi dialects are still inadequately recorded and described. The more important dialects are Dorla, Koya, Maria, Muria, and Raj Gond. Some basic phonologic features separate the northwestern dialects from the southeastern. One is the treatment of the original initial s, which is preserved in northern and western Gondi, while farther to the south and east it has been changed to h; in some other dialects it has been lost completely. Other dialectal variations in the Gondi language are the alteration of initial r with initial l and a change of e and o to a.
Bhatola is unclassified, but is spoken by Gonds and may turn out to be a Gondi dialect or language.
Gondi is typically written in the Devanagari script or Telugu script, but has its own writing system, the Brahmi-based Gondi script, designed by a Gond in 1928 and evolved since. However, most Gonds are illiterate and do not use any script.
An earlier native Gondi script was recently discovered in Gunjala, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh. According to former director of AP Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre (APOMLRC) of India, Jayadheer Tirumal Rao, a dozen manuscripts were found in this script. Programs to create awareness and promotion of this script among the Gondi people are in development stage.
- Beine, David K. 1994. A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Gondi-speaking Communities of Central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. chpt. 1
- Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Gondi Script in the UCS
- Singh, S. Harpal (30 January 2013). "Chance discovery of Gondi script opens new vistas of tribal culture". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- Beine, David K. 1994. A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Gondi-speaking Communities of Central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. 516 p.
- Chenevix Trench, Charles. Grammar of Gondi: As Spoken in the Betul District, Central Provinces, India; with Vocabulary, Folk-Tales, Stories and Songs of the Gonds / Volume 1 - Grammar. Madras: Government Press, 1919.
- Hivale, Shamrao, and Verrier Elwin. Songs of the Forest; The Folk Poetry of the Gonds. London: G. Allen & Unwin, ltd, 1935.
- Moss, Clement F. An Introduction to the Grammar of the Gondi Language. [Jubbalpore?]: Literature Committee of the Evangelical National Missionary Society of Sweden, 1950.
- Pagdi, Setumadhava Rao. A Grammar of the Gondi Language. [Hyderabad-Dn: s.n, 1954.
- Subrahmanyam, P. S. Descriptive Grammar of Gondi Annamalainagar: Annamalai University, 1968.
- Parable of the prodigal son in Gondi language, (Audio recording dated 1917)
- Specimen of the languages of the Gond tribes
- Gondi–Telugu–English–Hindi Dictionary and Phrasebook
- Gondi–Telugu–English–Hindi-Marathi Dictionary