Ardhamagadhi Prakrit
Brahmi: 𑀅𑀭𑁆𑀥𑀫𑀸𑀕𑀥𑀻
ExtinctDeveloped into Eastern Hindi languages[1][2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3pka

Ardhamagadhi Prakrit was a Middle Indo-Aryan language and a Dramatic Prakrit thought to have been spoken in modern-day Bihar[3] and Uttar Pradesh and used in some early Buddhist and Jain dramas. It was likely a Central Indo-Aryan language, related to Pali and the later Shauraseni Prakrit.[4] The Eastern Hindi languages evolved from Ardhamagadhi Prakrit.[5]

Relationship with Pali

Theravada Buddhist tradition has long held that Pali was synonymous with Magadhi and there are many analogies between it and Ardhamāgadhī, literally 'half-Magadhi'. Ardhamāgadhī was prominently used by Jain scholars[6] and is preserved in the Jain Agamas. Both Gautama Buddha and the tirthankara Mahavira preached in the region of Magadha.

Ardhamāgadhī differs from later Magadhi Prakrit on similar points as Pāli. For example, Ardhamāgadhī preserves historical [l], unlike later Magadhi, where [l] changed into [r]. Additionally, in the noun inflection, Ardhamagadhi shows the ending [-o] instead of Magadhi Prakrit [-e] in many metrical places.

Pali: Dhammapada 103:

Yo sahassaṃ sahassena, saṅgāme mānuse jine;

Ekañca jeyyamattānaṃ, sa ve saṅgāmajuttamo.

Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men,

is he who would conquer just one — himself.

Ardhamagadhi: Saman Suttam 125:

Jo sahassam sahassanam, samgame dujjae jine.

Egam jinejja appanam, esa se paramo jao.

One may conquer thousands and thousands of enemies in an invincible battle;

but the supreme victory consists in conquest over one's self.


  1. ^ Saksena, Baburam (1971). Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 9788120808553.
  2. ^ Harrison, Selig S. (2015). India: The Most Dangerous Decades. Princeton University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9781400877805.
  3. ^ "Prakrit".
  4. ^ Cardona, George; Jain, Dhanesh, eds. (2003), "The historical context and development of Indo-Aryan", The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge language family series, London: Routledge, pp. 46–66, ISBN 0-7007-1130-9
  5. ^ Zograph, G.A. (8 March 2023). Languages of South Asia: A guide. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781000831658. Numerically, the content of the Central Group of the Indo-Aryan languages has been very variously assessed by different researchers: Chatterji sees in it one language while Grierson enumerated six. Strictly speaking, the core of this group is represented not by languages at all, but by a number of closely related dialects-Braj, Kanauji and Bundell, which together with Khari Boli and Hariani, can be lumped under the common title 'Western Hindi'. The last-mentioned two dialects which occupy the north-western corner of the area covered by Hindi, display a number of common features with Panjabi, which in its turn can be seen as a transitional link with the most typical representative of the North Western group – Lahnda.

    Closely connected with the dialects of the 'Western Hindi' group are Awadhi, Bagheli and Chattisgarhi, which come under the heading of 'Eastern Hindi". Linguistically, these can be regarded as a transitional stage between the Central and the Eastern groups of languages. The 'intermediate' character of this group of dialects seems to have taken shape as far back as the Old Indo-Aryan period. The Middle Indo-Aryan forerunner of the contemporary Eastern Hindi dialects was the Ardhamagadhi Prakrit, which was a transitional form between Sauraseni and Magadhi; the present-day Central dialects go back to Sauraseni, while the languages of the Eastern group derive from Magadhi
  6. ^ Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.