The Marathi Language and Dialects

The dialectic differences within the Marathi area are comparatively small, and there is only one real dialect, viz. 9 Konkani. There are, of course, dialects, everywhere local varieties, and these are usually honoured by a separate name. On the whole, however, Marathi is a remarkably uniform language. Three slightly different forms may conveniently be distinguished, the Marathi of the Deccan, the Marathi of Berar and the Central Provinces, and the Marathi of the Central and Northern Konkan. The last two forms of the language have some characteristics in common, and these are also shared by the rustic dialects of the Dekhan, such as the form of speech current among the Kunbis of Poona. In the southern part of the district of Batnagiri the Konkan form of Marathi gradually merges into Konkani, through several minor dialects.

In the northern part of the coast strip belonging to Marathi we find some smaller dialects, such as Kathodi, Varli, Vadval, Phudgi, and Samvedi. The Khandesi dialect of Khandesh, which has hitherto been classed with Marathi, lias in this Survey been transferred to Gujarat. It contains a large admixture of Marathi, but the inner form of the language differs, and its base is a Prakrit dialect more closely related to Sauraseni than to Maharashtri which latter Prakrit is derived from the same base as Modern Marathi.

Further towards the east we find some broken dialects, such as Katiya, Halbi, Bhunjia, Nahari, and Kamari, which have been so largely influenced by Marathi that it has been found convenient to deal with them in this connection, though they are no true Marathi dialects.


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