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Kharia language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 Dental/
Retroflex Post-alv./
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɳ) ɲ ŋ
voiceless p ʈ c k (ʔ)
aspirated t̪ʰ ʈʰ
voiced b ɖ ɟ ɡ
breathy d̪ʱ ɖʱ ɟʱ ɡʱ
glottalised ˀb ˀɖ ˀɟ
Fricative f s ɦ
Approximant w l j
Tap unaspirated ɾ (ɽ)
aspirated (ɽʱ)
  • [ɽ, ɽʱ] are only marginally phonemic and are normally intervocalic allophones of /ɖ, ɖʱ/.
  • /f/ can also be pronounced among some speakers as an affricate [p͡f].
  • /c, cʰ, ɟ, ɟʱ/ are often realized as affricate sounds [t͡ʃ, t͡ʃʰ, d͡ʒ, d͡ʒʱ], especially in loanwords.
  • [ʔ] is an allophone of /ɡ/ when in coda position.[4]
Kharia vowels[4]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e (ə) o
Open a
Diphthong /ae̯, ao̯, ou̯, oe̯, ui̯/
  • /i, e, o, u/ have lax allophones of [ɪ, ɛ, ɔ, ʊ].
  • /a/ can have allophones of [ɑ, ä, ə, ʌ].[4]


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues – 2011". www.censusindia.gov.in. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  2. ^ a b c Anderson, Gregory D. S. (2008). The Munda languages. London: Routledge. p. 434. ISBN 9780415328906. OCLC 225385744.
  3. ^ Sidwell, Paul (2018). "Austroasiatic Studies: state of the art in 2018". Archived from the original on 2019-05-03 – via academia.edu.. Presentation at the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, 22 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Peterson 2008.

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