Magadhi Prakrit
Brahmi: 𑀫𑀸𑀕𑀥𑀻
Extinctdeveloped into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Magadhi Prakrit (Māgadhī) is of one of the three Dramatic Prakrits, the written languages of Ancient India following the decline of Pali and Sanskrit. It was a vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan language, replacing earlier Vedic Sanskrit.[2]

History and overview

Magadhi Prakrit was spoken in the eastern Indian subcontinent, in a region spanning what is now eastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal.[3][4] Associated with the ancient Magadha, it was spoken in present-day Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and eastern Uttar Pradesh under various apabhramsha dialects,[5] and used in some dramas to represent vernacular dialogue in Prakrit dramas. It is believed to be the language spoken by the important religious figures Gautama Buddha and Mahavira[6] and was also the language of the courts of the Magadha mahajanapada and the Maurya Empire; some of the Edicts of Ashoka were composed in it.[4][7]

Magadhi Prakrit later evolved into the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages:[1][8]


  1. ^ a b South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Prasad, Balaram; Mukherjee, Sibasis. "Magadhi / Magahi" (PDF). Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b Chatterji, Suniti Kumar (1926). The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language. p. vi.
  5. ^ Grierson, Sir George Abraham (1903). The Languages of India: Being a Reprint of the Chapter on Languages. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India. pp. 57–58.
  6. ^ Beames, John (2012) [1879]. Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India: To Wit, Hindi, Panjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, and Bangali. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139208871.003. ISBN 978-1-139-20887-1.
  7. ^ Bashan A.L., The Wonder that was India, Picador, 2004, pp. 394
  8. ^ Ray, Tapas S. (2007). "Chapter Eleven: "Oriya". In Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George. The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9.