Kharia language

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खड़िया, ଖଡ଼ିଆ
RegionIndia (Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha).
Native speakers
297,614, 69% of ethnic population (2011 census)[1]
Devanagari, Odia, Latin
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3khr
A Kharia speaker speaking three languages, recorded in China.

The Kharia language (IPA: [kʰaɽija] or IPA: [kʰeɽija][2]) is a Munda language of the Austroasiatic language family, that is primarily spoken by the Kharia people of eastern India.


According to linguist Paul Sidwell, Austroasiatic languages arrived on the coast of Odisha from Southeast Asia about 4000-3500 years ago.[3]


Kharia belongs to the Kharia–Juang branch of the Munda language family. Its closest extant relative is the Juang language, but the relationship between Kharia and Juang is remote.

The most widely cited classification places Kharia and Juang together as a subgroup of the South Munda branch of the Munda family. However, some earlier classification schemes placed Kharia and Juang together, as an independent branch deriving from the root of the Munda languages, which they named Central Munda.

Kharia is in contact with Sadri (the local lingua franca), Mundari, Kurukh, Hindi, and Odia (in Odisha).[2]


Kharia speakers are located in the following districts of India.[2]


Kharia consonants[4]
Labial (Labio-)


Alveolar Retroflex Post-alv./


Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ


voiceless p t͡s ʈ k
voiceless aspirated t̪ʰ t͡sʰ ʈʰ
voiced b ɗ ɟ ɡ
voiced aspirated d̪ʱ ɗʱ ɟʱ ɡʱ
glottalised ˀb ˀɗ ˀɟ
Fricative ɸ f s ɦ
Approximant l j
Tap/Trill unaspirated ɾ ɽ
aspirated ɽʱ
Kharia vowels
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open æ a
Diphthong /ao, oi, ou, ui/


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues – 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  2. ^ a b c The Munda languages. Anderson, Gregory D. S. London: Routledge. 2008. p. 434. ISBN 9780415328906. OCLC 225385744.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2018. Austroasiatic Studies: state of the art in 2018. Presentation at the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, 22 May 2018.
  4. ^ Moran, Steven; McCloy, Daniel; Wright, Richard (2012). "Revisiting population size vs. phoneme inventory size". Language. 88 (4): 877–893. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0087. ISSN 1535-0665.

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