Regional variations in Hindi language

The variations of spoken Hindi pertain to different geographical areas, which are in reality some states or cities having their own variation of Hindi language when they speak it. An interesting fact is that the southern and north-eastern states of India (other than Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim) actually have a very low proportion of their population that speaks the Hindi language in comparison to all other states. For most such regions of the country, Hindi is considered as the people’s second language.

Some states of India where Hindi is spoken include Delhi, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Chhattisgarh. There exist many dialects of Hindi language as spoken in the aforementioned as well as other states of India. These can be categorized into 5 groups of Hindi dialects:

  1. Western Hindi: Khadiboli, Braj, Bundeli, Haryanvi, Kanauji, Minari
  2. Eastern Hindi: Awathi, Bagheli, Chhattisgarhi
  3. Rajasthani: Marwari, Jaipuri, Mewati, Malwi
  4. Bihari: Magahi, Maithili, Bhojpuri
  5. Pahari: Kumauni, Garhwali

Let us look at some of the major Hindi dialects, or the major regional variation in spoken Hindi. While the 5 groups of Hindi dialects create comprehensive categories of variations pertaining to different parts of India, we’ll now look at some of the most used dialects from each of the ones mentioned above.

Khadiboli

This is also called Khari dialect and is the variation of the Hindi language that can be found in the daily vernacular of the citizens of Western Uttar Pradesh. The vocabulary of this dialect finds it origins in Persian, Arabic, as well as Sanskrit languages. It used to be a rural language very early on but was then used as the literary form of Hindi following the 18th century. In fact, mostly all significant modern Hindi literature is created in Khadiboli. Some places where it is spoken in its original form include Dehradun, Patiala, Delhi, Rampur, Ambala, Moradabad, Meerut, Mujjafarnagar, Bijnor, and Saharanpur.

Braj

This dialect can be found in the daily vernacular of the people from northwestern Uttar Pradesh, southern Haryana, and eastern Rajasthan. This dialect gets the name ‘Braj’ from the Sanskrit words ‘vraja’. It is spoken by the natives of a region historically better known as Braj or Vraj, which holds significance in the Mahabharata as it is considered the birth place of Lord Krishna. It is also known as Dehaati Zabaan, meaning ‘country tongue’ and was actually prominent before the 19th century. It has provided a particularly important contribution to the Hindi literature of the medieval period, with well-known poets like Bhai Gurdas, Surdas, and Amir Khusro writing in ‘Braj Bhasha’, or the ‘Braj language’. Although Khari dialect has taken its place today, Braj Bhasha is a dialect with a sweet tone, spoken in Vrindavana, Mathura, Bareli, Aligarh, Bulandhshahar, Agra, and Dhaulpur.

Bundeli

Spoken in the Bundelkhand region of the state of Madhya Pradesh as well as Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. While it did make some significant contributions to Hindi literature in the medieval period, the better preferred literary language by the speakers was Braj Bhasha. It is also found in southern Uttar Pradesh.

Bagheli

A variation of the Hindi language found in the Baghelkhand region of central India, Bagheli is spoken by people mainly belonging to six districts of Madhya Pradesh; specifically, Umaria, Sidhi, Annupur, Shahdol, Satna, and Rewa.

Haryanvi

Also called Jatu or Bangaru, this dialect has a lot of similarities with standard Hindi and is spoken by Jats in Haryana and Delhi. An interesting fact about this dialect is that it is considered to be a variation of the early Khadiboli, while it has a tone that sounds rather harsh when this dialect is used. It gets its name from the name of the state of Haryana and holds similarities with Braj Bhasha. One may find a lot of folk music in the Haryanvi dialect.

Kanauji

Spoken mostly in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, this dialect is considered by some to be a language in itself that is closely related to the Hindi language. Having about six million native speakers, Kanauji is said to have its own dialect names Tirhari. Specifically, the districts of Uttar Pradesh in which Kanauji is spoken are Kannauj, Hardoi, Itavah, Farukkhabad, Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit, and western parts of Kanpur.

Awadhi

Another major dialect of the Hindi language is Awadhi, which is also known by the alternate names of ‘Abadhi’, ‘Abadi’, ‘Abohi’, ‘Ambodhi’. ‘Avadhi’, and ‘Baiswari’. It is spoken in the region of Awadh in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is where it gets its name from. Interesting to note: this dialect influences the spoken Hindi in Fiji! Speakers of the Awadhi dialect can also be found in Uttavarsh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, and the country of Nepal.

Chhattisgarhi

With an estimated amount of 17.5 million speakers, this dialect is the official language of the state of Chhattisgarh in India. Speakers of this dialect, however, do not remain limited to this state and can be found in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, as well as Jharkhand. It is most closely relations to the Bagheli and Awadhi dialects of the Hindi language, and is considered by linguists to be a separate language owing to its distinctness from the Hindi language. The classical name of this dialect is Kosali or Dakshin Kosali from the ancient times.

So many variations...

Highlighted by these 8 major dialects is the nature of the numerous variations of spoken Hindi that not only reflect the cultural variations in different regions of India, but also show the historical significance of the language adapted by the different states of the country.

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