|Native to||India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan|
|Ethnicity||Santal and Teraibasi Santali|
|6.3 million (2001 census – 2011)|
sat – Santali
mjx – Mahali
Santhali (Ol Chiki: ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱞᱤ) is a language in the Munda subfamily of Austroasiatic languages, related to Ho and Mundari. It is spoken by around 6.2 million people in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, although most of its speakers live in India, in the states of Jharkhand, Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Tripura, and West Bengal.
- 1 Writing system
- 2 Contribution of Pandit Raghunath Murmu
- 3 Grammatical sketch
- 4 Phonology
- 5 Morphology
- 6 Syntax
- 7 Reciprocal influence of Santali language on other languages
- 8 Rising significance of Santali
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Till the nineteenth century Santali remained an oral language and all collective traditional knowledge, history, stories, songs etc were transmitted by word of mouth from generation to generation. The interest of Europeans in the study of Indian languages led to the first efforts at documenting Santali language. Bengali and the Roman scripts were first used to write Santali before 1860s by European anthropologists, folklorists and missionaries like Campbell, Skrefsrud and Bodding. Their efforts resulted in Santali dictionaries, documentation and translations of collected folk tales, study of the basic morphology, syntax and phonetic structure of the language. At a later stage other Indian scripts like Devnagri and Oreya were used to write Santali. A recent development has been the creation of a separate Ol Chiki script for Santali by Pt. Raghunath Murmu (in the 1970s) which is used exclusively by the Santali speaking people of the Singhbhum Jharkhand and Odisha. There is no single script which is uniformly accepted by all Santals. Devnagri remains the script recognized for teaching learning of the language in Jharkhand, Bengali script in West Bengal. A major share of the original documented corpus as well as the most authentic and scientific research efforts are available in the Roman Script. Santali is written using Ol Chiki alphabet. It is also written in Oriya,  Devanagari and Bengali based on the origin of the people. During the British rule it used to be written in Latin. 
Contribution of Pandit Raghunath Murmu
A need for the separate script was felt by some visionary Santals, as none of the existing scripts was sufficient to communicate the Santali language phonetically. This further resulted in the invention of new script called Ol Chiki. This script was invented by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in 1925. He is popularly known as Guru Gomke among the Santals, a title awarded to him by the Mayurbhanj Adibasi Mahasabh. The alphabets of the language are known as Ol Chiki, though people are not very well versed in it. He is respected among Santhals for his noble deed, action and contribution of the script Ol Chiki for the Santal society. For uplifting the Santal community, he contributed a lot through his pen and writings. He wrote over 150 books covering a wide range of subjects. It includes works such as grammar, novels, drama, poetry, and short stories in Santali using Ol Chiki as part of his extensive programme. Among the most acclaimed of his works are Darege Dhan, Sidhu Kanhu, Bidu Chandan and Kherwal Bir Pandit.
The following brief grammatical sketch is based on Ghosh 2008. It does not purport to give a full account of the language's grammar but rather give an impression of the structure of the language.
Santali has 21 consonants, not counting the 10 aspirated stops which occur almost only in Indo-Aryan loanwords and are given in parentheses in the table below.
|Stops||voiceless||p (pʰ)||t (tʰ)||ʈ (ʈʰ)||c (cʰ)||k|
|voiced||b (bʱ)||d (dʱ)||ɖ (ɖʱ)||ɟ (ɟʱ)
In native words, the opposition between voiceless and voiced stops is neutralized in word-final position. A typical Munda feature is that word-final stops are "checked", i. e. glottalized and unreleased.
Santali has eight non-nasal and six nasal vowels.
|High||i ĩ||u ũ|
|Mid-low||ɛ ɛ̃||ɔ ɔ̃|
There are numerous diphthongs.
Santali, like all Munda languages, is a suffixing agglutinating language.
Three numbers are distinguished, singular, dual and plural.
The case suffix follows the number suffix. The following cases are distinguished:
|Nominative||-Ø||Subject and object|
-ak', -rɛak' (inanimate)
|Instrumental-Locative||-tɛ||Instrument, cause, motion|
Santali has possessive suffixes which are only used with kinship terms: 1st person -ɲ, 2nd person -m, 3rd person -t. The suffixes do not distinguish possessor number.
The personal pronouns in Santali distinguish inclusive and exclusive first person and anaphoric and demonstrative third person.
The interrogative pronouns have different form for animate ('who?') and inanimate ('what?'), and referential ('which?') vs. non-referential.
The indefinite pronouns are:
The demonstratives distinguish three degrees of deixis (proximate, distal, remote) and simple ('this', 'that', etc.) and particulate ('just this', 'just that') forms.
The basic cardinal numbers are:
The numerals are used with numeral classifiers. Distributive numerals are formed by reduplicating the first consonant and vowel, e.g. babar 'two each'.
Verbs in Santali inflect for tense, aspect and mood, voice and the person and number of the subject.
Transitive verbs with pronominal objects take infixed object markers.
Santali is an SOV language, though topics can be fronted.
Reciprocal influence of Santali language on other languages
Santali, belonging to the Austroasiatic family and having a tradition traceable from pre-Aryan days, retained its distinct identity and co-existed with languages belonging to the Indo-Aryan family, within the boundaries of Bengal, Orrisa, Jharkhand and other states. This affiliation is generally accepted, but there are many cross-questions and puzzles. Relative influences between Santali and other Indian languages are not yet fully studied. In modern Indian languages like Western Hindi the steps of evolution from Midland Prakrit Sauraseni could be traced clearly, but in the case of Bengali such steps of evolution are not aways clear and distinct and one has to look at other influences that moulded Bengali's essential characteristics. A notable work in this field was initiated by linguist Byomkes Chakrabarti in the 1960s. Sri Chakrabarti investigated the complex process of assimilation of non-Aryan elements, particularly the Santali elements, by Bengali and he showed the overwhelming influence of Bengali on Santali. His formulations are based on the detailed study of reciprocal influences on all aspects of both the languages and try to bring out the unique features of both the languages. More research is awaited in this prospective area.
Rising significance of Santali
A great recognition of Santali was reached in December 2013 when the University Grants Commission of India decided to introduce the language in the National Eligibility Test to prepare future lecturers for the language in colleges and universities.
- Languages of India
- Languages with official status in India
- List of Indian languages by total speakers
- National Translation Mission
- Santali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Mahali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Santali". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Mahali". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- "Santali: A Language of India". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
- "Ol Chiki (Ol Cemet’, Ol, Santali)". Scriptsource.org. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Santali Localization". Andovar.com. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- Syllabus for UGC NET Santali, Dec 2013
- Byomkes Chakrabarti (1992). A comparative study of Santhali and Bengali. Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi & Co. ISBN 81-7074-128-9
- Ghosh, A. (2008). Santali. In: Anderson, G. The Munda Languages. London: Routledge.
- Hembram, P. C. (2002). Santhali, a natural language. New Delhi: U. Hembram.
- Newberry, J. (2000). North Munda dialects: Mundari, Santhali, Bhumia. Victoria, B.C.: J. Newberry. ISBN 0-921599-68-4
- Mitra, P. C. (1988). Santhali, the base of world languages. Calcutta: Firma KLM.
- Зограф Г. А. (1960/1990). Языки Южной Азии. М.: Наука (1-е изд., 1960).
- Лекомцев, Ю. K. (1968). Некоторые характерные черты сантальского предложения // Языки Индии, Пакистана, Непала и Цейлона: материалы научной конференции. М: Наука, 311—321.
- Grierson, Sir George A. (ed.) (1906, reprinted 1967). The Linguistic Survey of India. Vol. IV. Delhi-Varanasi-Patna.
- Maspero, Henri. (1952). Les langues mounda. Meillet A., Cohen M. (dir.), Les langues du monde, P.: CNRS.
- Neukom, Lukas. (2001). Santhali. München: LINCOM Europa.
- Pinnow, Heinz-Jürgen. (1966). A comparative study of the verb in the Munda languages. Zide, Norman H. (ed.) Studies in comparative Austroasiatic linguistics. London—The Hague—Paris: Mouton, 96-193.
- Sakuntala De. (2011). Santali : a linguistic study. Memoir (Anthropological Survey of India). Kolkata: Anthropological Survey of India, Govt. of India,.
- Vermeer, Hans J. (1969). Untersuchungen zum Bau zentral-süd-asiatischer Sprachen (ein Beitrag zur Sprachbundfrage). Heidelberg: J. Groos.
- Bodding, Paul O. (1929). A Santal dictionary. Oslo: J. Dybwad.
- A. R. Campbell (1899). A Santali-English dictionary. Santal Mission Press. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- English-Santhali/Santhali-English dictionaries
- Macphail, R. M. (1964). An Introduction to Santhali, Parts I & II. Benagaria: The Santhali Literature Board, Santhali Christian Council.
- Minegishi, M., & Murmu, G. (2001). Santhali basic lexicon with grammatical notes. Tōkyō: Institute for the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. ISBN 4-87297-791-2
Grammars and primers
- Bodding, Paul O. 1929/1952. A Santal Grammar for the Beginners, Benagaria: Santal Mission of the Northern Churches (1st edition, 1929).
- Col, F T (1896). Santạli primer. Manbhum. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- Macphail, R. M. (1953) An Introduction to Santali. Firma KLM Private Ltd.
- Muscat, George. (1989) Santali: A New Approach. Sahibganj, Bihar : Santali Book Depot.
- Skrefsrud, Lars Olsen (1873) A Grammar of the Santhal Language. Benares: Medical Hall Press.
- Saren, Jagneswar "Ranakap Santali Ronor" (Progressive Santali Grammar), 1st edition, 2012.
- Pandit Raghunath Murmu (1925) ronor : Mayurbhanj, Odisha Publisher ASECA, Mayurbhanj
- Bodding, Paul O., (ed.) (1923—1929) Santhali Folk Tales. Oslo: Institutet for sammenlingenden kulturforskning, Publikationen. Vol. I—III.
- Campbell, A. (1891). Santal folk tales. Pokhuria, India: Santal Mission Press. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- Murmu, G., & Das, A. K. (1998). Bibliography, Santhali literature. Calcutta: Biswajnan. ISBN 81-7525-080-1
- Santali Genesis Translation. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- The Dishom Beura, India's First Santali Daily News Paper. Publisher, Managobinda Beshra, National Correspondent: Mr. Somenath Patnaik
|Santali language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- "We Santhals" web site
- National Translation Mission's (NTM) Santhali Pages
- OLAC resources in and about the Santali language
- OLAC resources in and about the Mahali language