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Bhojpuri word in devanagari script.jpg
The word "Bhojpuri" in Devanagari script
Native toIndia and Nepal
Native speakers
51 million, partial count (2011 census)[1]
(additional speakers counted under Hindi)
Kaithi (historical)
Official status
Official language in
 Fiji (as the Fiji Hindi dialect)
Recognised minority
language in
 India (as a second language in Jharkhand)[4]
   Nepal (as a national regional language)
Language codes
bho - inclusive code
Individual codes:
hns - Caribbean Hindustani
hif - Fiji Hindi
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Bhojpuri (;[6]About this sound? ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in northern-eastern India and the Terai region of Nepal.[3] It is chiefly spoken in western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.[6][7] Sociolinguistically, Bhojpuri is considered one of several Hindi dialects.[8] The language is an official language of Nepal[] and a minority language in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, South Africa, and Mauritius.[9][10]

Fiji Hindi, an official language of Fiji, is a variant of Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Caribbean Hindustani, another variant of Awadhi and Bhojpuri, is spoken by the Indo-Caribbean people.[11] It has experienced lexical influence from Caribbean English in Trinidad and Tobago and in Guyana. In Suriname, languages that have lexically influenced it include Sranan Tongo Creole, Surinamese Dutch, and English. Another dialect is spoken in Mauritius; its use is declining, and As of 2000 it is spoken by about 5% of the country's population.[12]

Geographic distribution

Bhojpuri-speaking region in India

The Bhojpuri-speaking region in India borders the Awadhi-speaking region to the west, the Nepali-speaking region to the north, the Magahi- and Maithili-speaking regions to the east, and the Magahi- and Bagheli-speaking regions to the south.[3] In Nepal, Bhojpuri is a major language.[10] Bhojpuri-speaking Muslims live in Bangladesh. Their population is lower than that of Bhojpuri speakers in Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji, and Caribbean nations.[][clarification needed]

Bhojpuri is spoken by descendants of indentured labourers brought in the 19th and early 20th centuries for work in plantations in British colonies. These Bhojpuri speakers live in Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Jamaica, South Africa, and other parts of the Caribbean.[9][10][13]


Bhojpuri has several dialects: Southern Standard Bhojpuroi, Northern Standard Bhojpuri, Western Standard Bhojpuri[14], and Nagpuria Bhojpuri.[15][10] The first three are the major dialects.

Southern Standard Bhojpuri is prevalent in the Shahabad district (Buxar, Bhojpur, Rohtas, and Kaimur districts) and the Saran region (Saran, Siwan and Gopalganj districts) in Bihar, and the eastern Azamgarh (Ballia and Mau districts) and Varanasi (eastern part of Ghazipur district) regions in Uttar Pradesh. The dialect is also known as Kharwari. It can be further divided into Shahabadi, Chapariyah, and Pachhimahi.[16]

Northern Bhojpuri is common in the western Tirhut division (east and west Champaran districts) in Bihar, and Gorakhpur division (Deoria, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, and Maharajganj districts) and Basti division (Basti, Sidharthanagar, and Sant Kabir Nagar districts) in Uttar Pradesh. It is also spoken in Nepal.[17]

Western Bhojpuri is prevalent in the areas of Varanasi (Varanasi, Chandauli, Jaunpur, and the western part of Ghazipur district), Azamgarh (Azamgarh district), and Mirzapur (Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, and Bhadohi districts) in Uttar Pradesh. Banarasi is a local name for Bhojpuri, named after Baranas.[clarification needed] Other names for Western Bhojpuri include Purbi and Benarsi.[18]

Nagpuria Bhojpuri is the southernmost popular dialect, found in the Chota Nagpur Plateau of Jharkhand, particularly parts of Palamau and Ranchi. It has been influenced more by the Magahi language than by other dialects.[15][17] It is sometimes referred to as Sadari.[19]

A more specific classification recognises the dialects of Bhojpuri as Bhojpuri Tharu, Domra, Madhesi, Musahari, Northern Standard Bhojpuri (Basti, Gorakhpuri, Sarawaria), Southern Standard Bhojpuri (Kharwari), and Western Standard Bhojpuri (Benarsi, Purbi).[3]


Front Central Back
Close i ? u
Close-mid e ? o
Open-mid ? ?
Open æ ?
Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex (Alveolo-)
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ? ? ?
Stop voiceless p t ? t? k
voiced b d ? d? ?
aspirated p? t? t k?
breathy voiced b? d? d
Fricative s h
Rhotic plain ? ?
Approximant w~? l j

Bhojpuri is, sociolinguistically, one of the seven Hindi languages (Haryanvi, Braj, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Bagheli, and Kannauji).[8] Of the seven, Bhojpuri has the most allophonic variations in vowels.[21]

Bhojpuri has 6 vowel phonemes[22] and 10 vocoids. The higher vowels are relatively tense, and the lower vowels are relatively lax. The language has 31 consonant phonemes and 34 contoids (6 bilabial, 4 apico-dental, 5 apico-alveolar, 7 retroflex, 6 alveo-palatal, 5 dorso-velar, and 1 glottal).[20]

Linguist Robert L. Trammell published the phonology of Northern Standard Bhojpuri in 1971.[20][22] According to him, the syllable system is peak type: every syllable has the vowel phoneme as the highest point of sonority. Codas may consist of one, two, or three consonants. Vowels occur as simple peaks or as peak nuclei in diphthongs. The intonation system involves 4 pitch levels and 3 terminal contours.[20][23]

Writing system

Bhojpuri story written in Kaithi script by Babu Rama Smaran Lal in 1898

Bhojpuri was historically written in Kaithi script,[3] but since 1894 Devanagari has served as the primary script. Kaithi is now rarely used for Bhojpuri.

The word Bhojpuri written in Kaithi script

Kaithi script was used for administrative purposes in the Mughal era for writing Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Maithili, Magahi, and Hindustani from at least the 16th century up to the first decade of the 20th century. Government gazetteers[who?] report that Kaithi was used in a few districts of Bihar throughout the 1960s. Bhojpuri residents of India who moved to British colonies in Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean in the 19th and early 20th centuries used both Kaithi and Devanagari scripts.[9]

Signboard at Purbi Gumti Arrah along with Persian script (on the right side) and Roman script (above). "Lock no. 11" is written on the board in Bhojpuri.

By 1894 both Kaithi and Devanagari became common scripts to write official texts in Bihar. At present almost all Bhojpuri texts are written in Devanagari, even in islands outside of India where Bhojpuri is spoken. In Mauritius, Kaithi script was historically considered informal, and Devanagari was sometimes spelled as Devanagri. In modern Mauritius, the major script is Devanagari.[24]


Bhojpuri syntax and vocabulary reflects a three-tier system of politeness. Any verb can be conjugated through these tiers. The verb to come in Bhojpuri is aana, and the verb to speak is bolna. The imperatives come! and speak! can be conjugated in five ways, each marking subtle variation in politeness and propriety. These permutations exclude a host of auxiliary verbs and expressions, which can be added to verbs to add another degree of subtle variation. For extremely polite or formal situations, the pronoun is generally omitted.

Literary [teh] [teh] b?l
Casual and intimate [tu] [tu] b?l
Polite and intimate [tum] ?v' [tum] b?l'
Formal yet intimate [rau'?] ñ [rau'?] b?l?ñ
Polite and formal [?pne] ñ [?p] b?l?ñ
Extremely formal ?wal j?'e b?lal j?'e

Similarly, adjectives are marked for politeness and formality. The adjective your has several forms with different tones of politeness: tum (casual and intimate), "t?h?r" (polite and intimate), "t'h?r" (formal yet intimate), r?'ur (polite and formal), and ?pke (extremely formal). Although there are many tiers of politeness, Bhojpuri speakers mainly use the form tum to address a younger individual and aap for an individual who is older, or holds a higher position in workplace situations.


Greater official recognition of Bhojpuri, such as by inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India, has been demanded.[by whom?][25] In 2018, Bhojpuri was given second-language status in Jharkhand state of India.[26] It is an official language in Nepal, and Fiji as Fiji Hindi.

Bhojpuri is taught in matriculation and at the higher secondary level in the Bihar School Education Board and the Board of High School and Intermediate Education Uttar Pradesh.[] It is also taught in various universities in India, such as Veer Kunwar Singh University,[27]Banaras Hindu University,[28]Nalanda Open University,[29] and Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University.[30]


Lorikayan, the story of Veer Lorik contains Bhojpuri folklore from Eastern Uttar Pradesh.[31] Bhikhari Thakur's Bidesiya is a play, written as a book. Phool Daliya is a well-known book by Prasiddh Narayan Singh. It comprises poems of veer ras (A style of writing) on the theme of azaadi (Freedom) about his experiences in the Quit India movement and India's struggle with poverty after the country gained independence.


Many Bhojpuri magazines and papers are published in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Several Bhojpuri newspapers are available locally in North India; they are not wealthy enough to be published online. Parichhan is a contemporary literary-cultural Maithili-Bhojpuri magazine, published by a Maithili-Bhojpuri academy and the government of Delhi, and edited by Parichay Das. The Sunday Indian, Bhojpuri[32] is a regular national news magazine in Bhojpuri. Aakhar is a monthly online Bhojpuri literature magazine.[33] Other media in Bhojpuri include Lok Lucknow,[34] and the channels Mahuaa TV and Hamar TV.

Common words


English Bhojpuri (Latin script) ? ( : Kaithi) ? ( ?; Devanagari script)
Sunday Eitwaar
Monday Somaar
Tuesday Mangar ?
Wednesday Budhh
Thursday Bifey
Friday Sook
Saturday Sanichar

Common phrases

English Bhojpuri ? ( : Kaithi ?
Hello Raam Raam / Parnaam / /
Welcome/Please come in Aain na
How are you? Ka haal ba? / kaisan hava? /? ? / ? ?
I'm good. And you? Hum theek baani. Aur rauwa? / Hum theek hain Aur aap? / ? / ?
What is your name? Tohaar naav ka ha? / Raur naav ka ha? ? /? ? ? / ? ?
My name is ... Hamar naav ... ha ? ? ... ? ? ... ?
What's up? Kaa hot aa?
I love you Hum tohse pyaar kare ni / Hum tohra se pyaar kare ni / /

Example text

The following is Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in four languages:

  • Bhojpuri – 1 ? ? ? ? ? - ? ? ? [35]
  • Hindi – ?: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?[36]
  • Sarnámi Hindustani (a dialect of Caribbean Hindustani) – Aadhiaai 1: Sab djanne aadjádi aur barabar paidaa bhailèn, iddjat aur hak mê. Ohi djanne ke lage sab ke samadj-boedj aur hierdaai hai aur doesare se sab soemmat sè, djaane-maane ke chaahin.[37]
  • English – Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.[38]

See also


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e Bhojpuri Ethnologue World Languages (2009)[circular reference]
  4. ^ Sudhir Kumar Mishra (22 March 2018). "Bhojpuri, 3 more to get official tag". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018.
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bhojpuric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. ^ a b Bhojpuri entry, Oxford Dictionaries Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford University Press
  7. ^ Ethnologue's detailed language map Archived 16 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine of western Madhesh; see the disjunct enclaves of language #9 in SE.
  8. ^ a b Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17-21 August 2011, pp 1390
  9. ^ a b c Rajend Mesthrie, Language in indenture: a sociolinguistic history of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa, Routledge, 1992, ISBN 978-0415064040, pages 30-32
  10. ^ a b c d Bhojpuri Archived 25 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Language Materials Project, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  11. ^ Hindustani, Caribbean Archived 13 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ethnologue (2013)
  12. ^ William J. Frawley, International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Volume 1, ISBN 0-19-513977-1, Oxford University Press, Bhojpuri, page 481
  13. ^ "Forced Labour". The National Archives, Government of the United Kingdom. 2010. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016.
  14. ^ Parable of the prodigal son in Benares Bhojpuri Archived 8 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, A Recording in May 1920 by Rajaji Gupta, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  15. ^ a b Parable of the prodigal son in Nagpuria Bhojpuri Archived 8 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, A Recording in 1920 by Shiva Sahay Lal, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  16. ^ Map of Southern Standard Bhojpuri Archived 1 March 2014 at Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  17. ^ a b Shaligram Shukla (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Georgetown University School of Language, ISBN 978-0878401895
  18. ^ Western Standard Bhojpuri Archived 1 March 2014 at Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  19. ^ Monika Horstmann (1969), Sadari, Indologia Berolinensis, Otto Harrassowitz - Wiesbaden, Germany, pp 176-180
  20. ^ a b c d e Trammell, Robert L. (1971). "The Phonology of the Northern Standard Dialect of Bhojpuri". Anthropological Linguistics. 13 (4): 126-141. JSTOR 30029290.
  21. ^ Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17-21 August 2011, pp 1390-1393
  22. ^ a b Verma, Manindra K. (2003), Bhojpuri, In Cardona et al. (Editors), The Indo-Aryan Languages, 515-537. London: Routledge
  23. ^ Shukla, Shaligram (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Washington, D. C., Georgetown University Press
  24. ^ Sarita Boodho, Bhojpuri traditions in Mauritius, Mauritius Bhojpuri Institute, 1999, ISBN 978-9990390216, pages 47-48 and 85-92
  25. ^ "Chidambaram speaks a surprise". Chennai, India. The Hindu. 17 May 2012. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  26. ^ "Jharkhand gives second language status to Magahi, Angika, Bhojpuri and Maithili". Avenue Mail. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Bhojpuri". Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "Banaras Hindu University, Faculty of Arts, bhojpuri addhyan kendra Varanasi". Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "Bhojpuri in NOU" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Auty, Robert (4 December 1969). Traditions of heroic and epic poetry. ISBN 9780900547720. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "Today Bhojpuri Newspaper Update Headlines India- The Sunday Indian Online Magazine - The Sunday Indian". Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Bhojpuri" (PDF). United Nations (in Bhojpuri). 23 April 2019. p. 1. Retrieved 2020.
  36. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Hindi" (PDF). United Nations (in Hindi). 1 July 2015. p. 1 (orig p. 2). Retrieved 2020.
  37. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Sarnámi Hindustani" (PDF). United Nations. (in Sarnámi Hindustani). 9 December 2013. p. 2. Retrieved 2020.
  38. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights – English" (PDF). United Nations. 6 November 2019. p. 2. Retrieved 2020.

External links

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