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Awadhi language

अवधी • اودهي
Native to India, Nepal, Fiji (as Fiji Hindi), Mauritius, Bhutan
Region India: Awadh and Lower Doab regions of Uttar Pradesh, as well as in the parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi
Nepal: Lumbini Zone, Kapilbastu District; Bheri Zone, Banke District, Bardiya District
Native speakers
38 million  (2001)[1]
Census results conflate most speakers with Hindi.[2]
Devanagari, Kaithi, Persian
Official status
Official language in
No official status
Language codes
ISO 639-2 awa
ISO 639-3 awa
Glottolog awad1243[3]

Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी, Perso-Arabic: اودهي), aka Kosali or Baiswari, is an Eastern Hindi language, a dialect of the Hindi dialect continuum. It is spoken chiefly in the Awadh (Oudh) region of Uttar Pradesh and Nepal although its speakers are also found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi.[4] A mixture of Awadhi, Brij Bhasha and Bundeli is also spoken in the Vatsa country (Lower Doab) south of Awadh region which includes Kanpur and Allahabad. It is also spoken in most of the Caribbean countries where the people of Uttar Pradesh were taken as indentured workers by the British India government. According to the 2001 census, it ranks 29th in the List of languages by number of native speakers in World.

Awadhi is also known by alternate names of Abadhi, Abadi, Abohi, Ambodhi, Avadhi, Baiswari, Lakhanawi, Kojali, Kosali and Dehati.

Geographical distribution

Awadhi is mainly spoken in the major part of Uttar Pradesh or Central Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar, the adjoining Madhesh area of Nepal, the lower stretch of the GangesYamuna Doab, and Caribbean countries.A distribution of the geographical area can be found in volume 9 of 'Linguistic Survey of India' by George A. Grierson.

Awadhi is a language spoken by more than 45 million people. The language is ranked 29th out of the most spoken languages in the world and is mainly heard in India, Pakistan (mainly Karachi), Nepal, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia and Mauritius. Most speakers of the language speak it as a first, not second, language. Awadhi belongs to the Indo-European language family. The writing system used for Awadhi is usually Devanagari or Kaithi, although some people use a mixture of both, and Muslims use the Persian script.


The 2001 census identified Awadhi as a language/dialect having more than one and a half million speakers speaking it as their mother tongue. It was grouped under Hindi.[5] As per the census of 2011, number of Awadhi speakers have increased considerably.


In Awadh, it is spoken in the following districts almost entirely:


In Nepal, it is spoken in the following regions:

In literary traditions

Although today it is only considered a dialect of Hindi, before the standardization of Hindi, it was one of the two most important literary dialect of Hindustani (the other being Braj Bhasha). Important works in Awadhi are the Candayan of Maulana Da’ud, the Padmavat of Malik Mohammad Jaisi (1540 A.D.), the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1575 A.D.), Indravati by Nur Muhammad (1757 A.D.). Most of the Hindu literature, including Chalisas such as Hanuman Chalisha, are written in Avadhi.[6] Most of the North-Indian Hindu literature, including Chalisas such as Hanuman Chalisha, are written in Awadhi.

In popular culture

Before 1990, most of the Indian movies were influenced by Awadhi language such as Ganga Jumna.[7] Awadhi had also been used in various Hindi movies like Lagaan, Peepli Live, Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge, Naya Daur, Haasil and Billu.[8]

Amitabh Bachhan has used Awadhi in his many movies and songs like Holi Khere Raghuvira Awadh Ma from Baghban and Ek Rahe Eer Ek Rahe Beer from Bhootnath. Recently in a serial Yudh (TV series) aired on Sony Entertainment Television (India), he delivered few dialogues in Awadhi which was very well appreciated by the Media. According to Hindustan Times, "We simply loved Amitabh Bachchan speaking Awadhi on TV! Only an actor of his calibre could transform himself from a high-class English speaking businessman to rattle off the dialogues in Awadhi, his mother tongue. He has done it in the past for a few Bollywood and regional films, but not as regularly as one would have liked him to show off grasp over the language. It was great to see him speak in fluent Awadhi in Wednesday's episode."[9]

Geographical boundary

Awadhi can roughly claim to be the language of the tract lying between Bareilly to Allahabad, north of the Yamuna river and south of Mahabharat range in Nepal, cornered by Etawah in south-east and Khalilabad of Basti Janpad in northeast. This makes Awadhi as the singly the most widely spoken dialect of Hindi.

Sample sentences in English with Awadhi translation

English sentence Awadhi translation
What is your name? Tohaar naav kaa hai?(tumar naam ka hai?)
Come here. Hiyan aav(yehar aav).
What are you doing? Toy ka karat has?(tum ka karat hav)
That man is going. Ooh admi jaat hai/ Ooh aadmeeva jaat hai.
How are you? Kaa haal-chaal hai?/ aur kes hav?
I'm fine. Hum theek han/Ham theek ahi
I don't know. Hum nahi jaanit hai / Hamka nahi maalum.
i'm going. ham ja'it hi.
He is my son. Ee hamaar lerka (betwa) ahai.
She is my daughter. Ee hamaar bitiya (larki)ahai.
What should i do? Hum kaa kari?/ Hamka kaa karai ka chahi?
He is eating an apple. Ooh ek seb khaat ahai/ Ooh ek seb khay raha hai.
I saw a film last week. Hum pichhla hafta ek film dekhe gai rahe.
They went to the Masjid. Ooh sabhe mahjid gaye hai.
She slept the whole night. Ooh rat bhar sova kihis / Ooh rat bher sois.
He has eaten. Ooh khay lihis hai./ Ooh khaay chuka hai.
He will eat. Ooh khayi.
He will go. Ooh jaayi.
Why did you tell him to go? Tum uka kaahe jaay khattir kahe hav?
Why is here crowded? Hiyan (yehar) ee mazma kaahe jutta hai?/ Hiyan (yehar) etna hujum kahe hai?
I have to leave for Varanasi, next early morning. Humka kaal bhorhi, Banaras khatir nikrek hai.
Which is best Hindi newspaper. Sabse badhiya Hindi akhbar ka'un hot hai.
Where should i go? Hum kahaan jaai?
It is a book. Ee ek kitab hai.
Will you give me your pen? Tum hamka aapan kalam dehav?
Yes, of course./ Why not. Haan, jarur./ Kaahe nay.
Which village, you hail from? Tumar gaon kahaan hai?
Did he call you? Kaa ooh tumka balain hai?
This is our area. Ee sabh apne jageer hai.
What's going on? Kaa chalat hai?
Please say that again. Tani phir se kahav.
Pleased to meet you. Tumse mil ke badhiya lag hai./ Tumse mil ke khusi bhay hai.
Is everything alright? Sab khairiyat se hai na?
How was your exam? Tumar intihan kes bhava?
Are you married? Tumar biyah bhava hai?/ Tum shadishuda hav?
She don't understand anything. uka tankav na samajh me aave./ oo rattiv bhar nay samajh paavat hai.
Please speak more slowly tanik dheere bolav/ Tani aahista bolav
You are very beautiful. Tum bade sundar hav. (to male)/ Tum badi sundar hav. (to female)
He is looking at you. Ooh tohka taakat hai.
My life is full of problems. Hamar jindagi khali pareshani se bhara hai.
Come with me. Hamre saathe aav./ Hamre sange aav.
One language is never enough. ek juban kabho kafi nay hot hai/ Ek jabaan kabbhav jada nay hot hai.
I'll come after you. Hum tumre paachhe aaib.
Go there Hunva jav.
I can do anything for you. Hum tumre vaaste kuchhu kar sakat han./ Hum tumre khaatir kuchhu kar sakit hai.

Note that the above table is mostly based on talking to a male who is older or of the same age. At other times, "tumar" tends to be "tohaar" and "tor" (for a younger person). While talking to someone, people often use the word "falane" or "falana" to refer to someone unnamed or unknown, like, "Falana ke bappa hinya aye rahain" which means, His (which is unnamed or he who can not be named) father has come here.

Sample words in English with Awadhi translation


English Awadhi
Mother Mahtari/Maai/Amma
Father Baap/bappa/abba/Babu
Brother Bhai/Bhaiya/Bhaizan
Sister Bahin/Didiya/baji/bachchi
Son Put/Beta/lerka/launda/ladika
Daughter Bitiya/ladiki
Grandfather Dada/Baba(Paternal),Nana(Maternal)
Grandmother dai=Daadi(Paternal),Nani(Maternal)
Brother-in-law Devar/Saala=saar/Jeeja=bahnoi
Sister-in-law Bhauji/Saali=saari/Nanad=nand/Sarhaj
Uncle Chacha(Paternal), Phupha (Paternal), Mama (Maternal), Mausa (Maternal)
Aunty Chachi (Maternal), Bua or Phua (Paternal), Mami (Maternal), Mausi (Maternal)


English Awadhi
Red Laal
Yellow Per or Piyar
Orange Nevrangi
Green Harer
Blue Asmani
Black Kariya
Brown Bhurwa or Bhuwar
Maroon Katthai
White Ujjar
pink gulabi

Name of days

English Awadhi
Monday Somaar,sammar
Tuesday Mangar
Wednesday Buddh
Thursday Biphai,zumerat
Friday Sook,zuma
Saturday Sanicchar
Sunday Ittvar,attavar


English Awadhi
What Kaa or kaav
Why Kaahe
Where Kahan
When Kab
Who Ko/Kay
Which Kaun
How Kaise
Whom Kikai or Kaykai
Whose kikai (normal) or kaykai
What Stuff Kaa chij
Which Stuff Kaun chij

Some famous proverbs used in Awadhi:

माई के जियरा गाई कै, बेटवा के कसाई कै Maai ke jiyara gaai ke, betwa ke kasaai ke This means mother's heart is like the heart of a cow and the son's heart is that of a butcher. This is used in occasions when the mother does good things for her son, but the son is evil and does not consider his mother's good doings.


See also


  1. ^ Awadhi at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ "Census of India: Abstract of speakers’ strength of languages and mother tongues –2001". Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Awadhi". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ "Nepal". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). - Baburam Saksena - Google Books". Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Most Popular Awadhi-Language Feature Films". Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  9. ^ "Yudh review: Amitabh Bachchan's show limps back to sluggish pace". 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 

External links




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