|2.7 million (2001)|
Devanagari, Telugu script (used in conjunction)
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, Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh 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 writing can be split into two categories: that using non-native scripts and that using native scripts.
Efforts have been undertaken to create a native script for Gondi. In 1928, Munshi Mangal Singh Masaram designed a native script based on Brahmi characters and in the same format of an Indian alphasyllabary. However, this script did not become widely used, and most Gonds remain illiterate.
According to Maharashtra Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre of India, 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
- 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