|Extinct||Replaced by Eastern New Indo-Aryan languages.|
Magadhi Prakrit (Māgadhī) was a vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan language, replacing earlier Vedic Sanskrit in parts of the Indian subcontinents. It was spoken in present-day Assam, Odisha, Bengal, Bihar, and eastern Uttar Pradesh, and used in some dramas to represent vernacular dialogue in Prakrit dramas. It is believed to be the language spoken by the important religious figures Gautama Buddha and Mahavira and was also the language of the courts of the Magadha mahajanapada and the Maurya Empire; the edicts of Ashoka were composed in it.
Magadhi Prakrit later evolved into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Chakma, Chittagonian, Maithili, Magahi, Odia, Rajbangsi, Rohingya and Sylheti among others. Out of all of its offshoots, Bengali is the most spoken, with over 240 million speakers, followed by Odia and Maithili (both with over 40 million speakers) and Bhojpuri, (with over 30 million speakers, and generally considered to be a dialect of Hindi).
References and footnotes
- Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh, eds. (2003), "The historical context and development of Indo-Aryan", The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge language family series, London: Routledge, pp. 46–66, ISBN 0-7007-1130-9
- Bashan A.L., The Wonder that was India, Picador, 2004, pp.394
- South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203
- Ray, Tapas S. (2007). "Chapter Eleven: "Oriya". In Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9.