Hindi languages

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Hindi (Central Zone)
South Asia
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
  • Western Hindi
  • Eastern Hindi
Glottolog: None
west2812  (Western Hindi)[1]
east2726  (Eastern Hindi)[2]

The Hindi languages, also known as the Madhya languages and the Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages, is a dialect continuum of the Hindi zone spoken across northern India that descend from the Madhya prakrits, and includes the official languages of India and Pakistan, Hindi and Urdu. The coherence of this group depends on the classification being used; here we will consider only Eastern and Western Hindi.


If there can be considered a consensus within the dialectology of Hindi proper, it is that it can be split into two sets of dialects: Western and Eastern Hindi.[3] Western Hindi evolved from the Apabhramsa form of Shauraseni Prakrit, Eastern Hindi from Ardhamagadhi.[4]

Western Hindi languages. Clockwise from the top: Hindustani, Kannauji, Bundeli, Braj, Haryanvi.
The Eastern Hindi languages are not shown individually. They are Awadhi in the north, east of Hindustani and Kannauji; Bagheli in the center, to the east of Bundeli, and Chhattisgarhi to the southeast of Bundeli.
  1. Western Hindi[5]
  2. Eastern Hindi

Romani and Domari appear to be Central Zone languages that migrated to the Middle East and Europe ca. 500–1000 CE. Parya is a Central Zone language of Central Asia.

To Western Hindi Ethnologue 16 adds Sansi, Chamari, Bhaya (= Malvi?), Gowli (= Gowlan?), and Ghera (a Pakistani enclave of an unidentified Indian language). Sansi is particularly close to Hindustani, but it's not clear the others are actually Central Zone.

This analysis excludes varieties sometimes claimed for Hindi for cultural reasons, such as Bihari, Rajasthani, and Pahari.[8]

Use in culturally non-Hindi regions in the subcontinent[edit]

  • Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. Although only the native language of 7% of the population, it is nearly universal as a second language.
  • Bambaiya Hindi, the dialect of the city of Mumbai (Bonbay); it is based on Hindustani but heavily influenced by Marathi. Technically it is a pidgin, i.e., neither is it a mother language of any people nor is it used in formal settings by the educated and upper social strata. However, it is often used in the movies of Hindi cinema (Bollywood) because Mumbai is the base of the Bollywood film industry.
  • Dakhini (also called Hyderabadi Urdu), a dialect of Urdu spoken in the present areas of the erstwhile Hyderabad State.
  • Bangalori Urdu, a dialect of Urdu native to Bangalore, Karnataka and a few surrounding districts.

Note: There is a slight difference between Urdu spoken in Hyderabad city (and a few surrounding districts) and the Urdu spoken in the other regions of the erstwhile Hyderabad State.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Western Hindi". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Eastern Hindi". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ (Shapiro 2003, p. 251)
  4. ^ (Shapiro 2003, p. 277)
  5. ^ Grierson G.A. Western Hindi. In Linguistic Survey of India.
  6. ^ Michael Huxley (editor) (1935), The Geographical magazine, Volume 2, Geographical Press, "... For new terms it can draw at will upon the Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit dictionaries ..." 
  7. ^ Great Britain, Royal Society of Arts (1948), Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Volume 97, "... it would be very unwise to restrict it to a vocabulary mainly dependent upon Sanskrit, or mainly dependent upon Persian. If a language is to be strong and virile it must draw on both sources, just as English has drawn on Latin and Teutonic sources ..." 
  8. ^ (Shapiro 2003, pp. 251–252)


  • Shapiro, Michael C. (2003), "Hindi", in Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh, The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, pp. 250–285, ISBN 978-0-415-77294-5 

External links[edit]