Saturday, August 18, 2007

Marathi Language

Marathi is the language spoken by the native people of Maharashtra. Marathi belongs to the group of Indo-Aryan languages which are a part of the larger of group of Indo-European languages, all of which can be traced back to a common root. Among the Indo-Aryan languages, Marathi is the southern-most language. All of the Indo-Aryan languages originated from Sanskrit. Three Prakrit languages, simpler in structure, emerged from Sanskrit. These were Saurseni, Magadhi and Maharashtri. Marathi is said to be a descendent of Maharashtri which was the Prakrit spoken by people residing in the region of Maharashtra.

The saint poet Jnaneshwar gave a higher status to Marathi by bringing the sacred Geeta from Sanskrit to Marathi. The holy book was written in Sanskrit and was not easily accessible to the common Marathi speaking person. JNaneshwar wrote the book popularly known as JNaneshwarI in which he explains the Geeta in Marathi with his own rich poetic style. He proudly said about Marathi that 'MAjhA MarAThAchi bolu kavatuke, amRitAtehi paijA jinke, aisI akshare rasike meLavIn ' which means that 'I will speak my Marathi (language) only with pride and I will give such Marathi words to the ardent listeners which will even win bets against the nectar (amRit).'

Marathi is at least fifteen hundred years old, and derives its grammar and syntax from Pali and Prakrit. The Marathi language was earlier known as Maharashtri, Maharathi, Malhatee or Marthi in ancient times.

Some of the peculiar features of Marathi linguistic culture include Marathi drama, with its unique flavour of 'Sangeet Natak' (musical dramas), scholarly discourses called 'Vasant Vyakhyanmala' (Lectures in Spring), Marathi folk dance called 'Lavani', and special editions of magazines for Diwali called 'Diwali anka'.

Spoken in : India, Mauritius and Israel.

Region : Maharashtra, parts of Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka,
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Dadra-Nagar-Haveli and Daman-Diu.

Total Speakers :70 million native speakers,20 million second language speakers.

Ranking: 13–17 (native); in a near tie with Korean, Vietnamese,Telugu & Tamil.

Language family:Indo-European,Indo-Iranian,Indo-Aryan,Southern Indo-Aryan,Marathi.

Writing system: Devanagari script, Modi script (traditional)

Official status
Official language of: Maharashtra State, India.
Regulated by: Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad.

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