|2.98 million; 1.95 million of Northern Gondi, 150,000 of Aheri Gondi, 300,000 of Adilabad Gondi (2011 census)|
|Gunjala Gondi Lipi|
Devanagari, Telugu script (used in conjunction)
Gondi (G?ndi) is a South-Central Dravidian language, spoken by about two million Gondi people, chiefly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and in various adjoining areas of neighbouring states. Although it is the language of the Gond people, only one fifth of Gonds can speak the language, making it vulnerable to extinction. Gondi has a rich folk literature, examples of which are marriage songs and narrations.
Gondi has a two-gender system, substantives being either masculine or nonmasculine. Gondi departed from the parent Proto-Dravidian language by developing initial voiced stops (g, j, ?, d, b) and aspirated stops (gh, jh, ?h, dh, bh).
Most of the Gondi dialects are still inadequately recorded and described. The more important dialects are Dorla, Koya, Madiya, Muria, and Raj Gond. Some basic phonologic features separate the northwestern dialects from the southeastern. One is the treatment of the original initial s, which is preserved in northern and western Gondi, while farther to the south and east it has been changed to h; in some other dialects it has been lost completely. Other dialectal variations in the Gondi language are the alteration of initial r with initial l and a change of e and o to a.
Gondi writing can be split into two categories: that using non-native scripts and that using native scripts.
Efforts have been undertaken to create a native script for Gondi. In 1928, Munshi Mangal Singh Masaram designed a native script based on Brahmi characters and in the same format of an Indian alphasyllabary. However, this script did not become widely used, and most Gonds remain illiterate.
According to Maharashtra Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre of India, a dozen manuscripts were found in this script. Programs to create awareness and promotion of this script among the Gondi people are in development stage.