|520,000 (2001 census)
(additional speakers may have identified as Oriya speakers)
Sambalpuri is comprehensible to speakers of Oriya.
Like the languages of north India and Central India, such as Braj, Bundeli, Awadhi, Bagheli, Maithili, Magahi, Bhojpuri, Nagpuri (Sadri), Chhattisgarhi etc., no written literature was developed in Sambalpuri language till the late nineteenth century. Thus Sambalpuri language remained neglected and was considered a dialect of Oriya. Ancient stone inscriptions, writing on copper plates, palm leaves are not available in this language. The first writing in this language appeared in the year 1891 in the weekly magazine "Sambalpur Hiteisani" published from "Deogarh". It was titled "Sambalpur Anchalar Praachin Kabitaa", written by"Madhusudan".Following is an excerpt from the poem:
"kaha go dUtI muin kenta karsin go
nandapua kAnhAke dekhle badA kAbA lAgsi go"
"disu thisi kaliA TarTar
pindhi thisi haldiA jarjar
dhob farfarTe jAnbArirTe beke ulei hesi go"
2 – "Jatan" wrote "Bhulaaman Chautisaa" between 1900 and 1910.
3 – "Chaitan Das" wrote "Chadhei Chautisaa" between 1900 and 1910.
4 – "Baalaaji Meher" wrote between 1910 and 1920 –
II- "Gaud Gaman",
III- "Kumbhaar Pasraa",
IV- "Sunari Pasaraa".
5 – "Lakshman Pati" wrote between 1915 and 1925 -
I- Aadi Bandanaa,
II- Munush Baran,
III- Maaejhi Baran,
IV- Bhuliaa Pasaraa,
V- Kanrraa Pasaraa,
VI- Kharraa Pasaraa,
VII- Teli Pasaraa,
VIII- Sabar leelaa.
6-"Kapil Mahaapaatar" wrote "Gaunliaa Raamaayana" between 1925 and 1930.
In this way, between 1891 and 1947, a total of 35 poets wrote 64 poems only. The period up to 1891 A.D. can be termed as the dark age in the history of Sambalpuri literature. From 1891 to 1970 can be termed as the infant stage of Sambalpuri literature as very few Sambalpuri literature was produced during this period. Up until 1970, it was successfully planted in the minds of people of Western Orissa by the people of Coastal Orissa, that "Sambalpuri is a distorted and corrupt version of Oriya", therefore, literature should be created in standard Oriya only and not in Samalpuri. Many, including Bhima Bhoi and Gangadhar Meher, were victim of such false propaganda and therefore, dedicated themselves to the creation of Oriya literature, thereby keeping their mother tongue, Samalpuri, abandoned in a dark corner. Only after 1970 there was an awakening and people realized that their mother tongue is Sambalpuri and not Oriya. Satya Narayan Bohidar was the first man who not only created Sambalpuri literature but also encouraged others to write in Sambalpuri. He also proved in many literary forums that Sambalpuri is a separate language. From 1970 onwards people of Western Orissa realized that Sambalpuri is a separate language and literature can be produced in this language. More and more people engaged themselves in creating Sambalpuri literature. A brief account of the contribution of Samalpuri writers, whose contribution has enriched Samalpuri literature is given here. It is neither feasible nor desirable to give an exhaustive list of writers and books of Sambalpuri language. Only those writers, whose work have boosted the development of Sambalpuri literature or enhanced the image of Sambalpuri literature is mentioned below.
- Satya Narayan Bohidar (1913–1980) – His first poem “Anubhuti” was published in 1931. He wrote 119 poems and one short Sambalpuri Grammar book, named " Sankhipta Samalpuri Vyakaran ".
- Khageswar Seth – He wrote "Paerchha Sati" (1949).
- Indramani Sahu (1923–2006) – He wrote “Jharmali” (1953), " Kosali Ramayan " (1997)
- Dr. Nil Madhab Panigrahi – A strong proponent of Sambalpuri language, He gave up writing Oriya for his love for mother tongue, Sambalpuri. He founded, published and edited “Nisan”, a Sambalpuri literary magazine which popularized Sambalpuri language and generated many Sambalpuri writers. He founded “Nisan Sahitya Sansad” and undertook the work of publishing Sambalpuri books written by others. His famous work is “Mahabharat Katha”, the translation of Mahabharat in Sambalpuri. He co-authored "Samalpuri – Kosali Vyakaran" book with Dr. Prafulla Kumar Tripathy.
- Dr. Prafulla Kumar Tripathy – He compiled the book “Samalpuri Oriya Shabdakosha” (1987), a Sambalpuri to Oriya Dictionary. He is a celebrated figure in Oriya and Sambalpuri literature and grammar. He has also received Sahitya Academy Puraskar for his collection of Oriya short stories, "Nija Singhasana". Settled in Bhubaneswar, he continues to work towards getting Sambalpuri language an official status. He has also co-authored "Samalpuri – Kosali Vyakaran" book with Dr. Nil Madhab Panigrahi.
- Prem Ram Dubey – To popularize Sambalpuri language, he published “Hame Kosali Hamar Bhasa Kosali”, a Sambalpuri literary magazine, and “Kosal Khabar” a news based magazine. He wrote many articles in these magazines.
- Hema Chandra Acharya (Born 20.4.1926 – Died 26.8.2009) – His works include “Satar Sati Brundavati”, "Kathani Sat Satani", “Ram Raha” (2001). Ram Raha is the Sambalpuri version of the Raamayana. He has also written a novel "Nuni". He is popular among the masses as the 'Kosal Balmiki' for his Ram Raha.
- Mangalu Charan Biswal (Born 4.5.1935) – He wrote many Sambalpuri plays, among which “Bhukha” is famous, as it was filmed and earned many awards.
- Haldhar Nag (Born 31.3.1950) – He is a God’s gift to Kosli language. He has written many Kosli poems, such as “Mahasati Urmila”, “Achhia”, etc. His works has been compiled into “Lokakabi Haladhar Granthabali” and “Surata”.
- Binod Pasayat – He wrote “Kayan Baetha” (1973).
- Dr. Dolgobind Bisi – He published a Kosali literary magazine “Kosalshree” and wrote “Kosali Bhasha Sundari”(1984). He published the “Kosali Ramayan” written by Sri Indramani Sahu.
- Nimai Charan Panigrahi – He has written many books including “Bhugale Bakhani”, “Kham Khamalo”, etc. His articles “Kosali Sabad Jharan”, published in “Bharni”, in Kosali literary magazine was very famous.
- Dr. Harekrishna Meher : He has translated the Meghaduta of Kalidas to "Kosli Meghaduta".
- Surama Mishra : She has written a children book "Titi Tian. The book is popular among the children of western Orissa.
After the year 2000, many writers of Kosal, have given up producing Oriya literature and devoted their time and talent in creating Ksali literature like Dr. Nil Madhab Panigrahi. Presently, Kosli speaking areas are a part of Orissa state, therefore, Kosli Language is neglected. Recently, print and electronic edition of a Kosli magazine the Beni was released and gaining popularity.
- Kosli at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Western Oriya". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Parliament discussing about Sambalpuri language[dead link]
- Sambalpur Hiteishini, Vol III, Issue 1500, 1891.
- Panda, Sasanka Sekhar, " JHULPUL ", Chitrotpala Publications, Cuttack, 2003, ISBN 81-86556-33-8
- Mohanty, Dr. Banshidhar, " Oriya Bhasa Andolana ", Sahitya Sangraha Prakashan, Cuttack, 2001, P.277
- ”Satya Narayan Granthabali”, compiler – Dr. Shyam Sunder Dhar, Friends Emporium, Sambalpur, 2001.
- Panigrahi, Dr. Nil Madhab, “Mahabharat Katha”, Lark books, Bhubaneswar, 1996, ISBN 81-7375-023-8.
- Biswal, Mangalu Charan, "Bhukha", Saraswat Pustak Bhandar, Sambalpur,1984
- Poetry makes him known as new Gangadhar Meher-Peanut seller Haladhar Nag carves niche for himself as poet of Kosali language
- Nag, Haldhar, “Lokakabi Haladhar Granthabali”, compiler – Dr. Dwarikanath Nayak, Bidya Prakashan, Cuttack, 2000, ISBN 81-7703-009-4
- Harekrishna Meher’s 'Kosli Meghaduta' released
- Kosli e-Book Titi Tian for children launched
- Kosli language and literature
- Kosli Language: A Perspective on Its Origin, Evolution and Distinction