Rājasthānī , રાજસ્થાની ભાસા
Native toIndia
Native speakers
70 million (2016)[1]
Early form
Language codes
ISO 639-2raj
ISO 639-3raj – inclusive code
Individual codes:
bgq – Marwadi
gda – Gade Lohar
gju – Gujari
mki – Dhatki
mup – Malvi
wbr – Wagdi
hoj – Hadothi
lmn – Lambadi
lrk – Loarki
noe – Nimadi
ahr – Ahirani
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Rajasthani (Devanagari: राजस्थानी) refers to a group of Indo-Aryan languages and dialects spoken primarily in the state of Rajasthan and adjacent areas of Haryana, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh in India. There are also speakers in the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh.[3] Rajasthani varieties are closely related to and partially intelligible with their sister languages Gujarati and Sindhi. It is spoken by 65.04% of the population of Rajasthan. The comprehensibility between Rajasthani and Gujarati goes from 60 to 85% depending on the geographical extent of its dialects.[4]

The term Rajasthani is also used to refer to a literary language mostly based on Marwari,[5]: 441  which is being promoted as a standard language for the state of Rajasthan.


Rajasthani has a literary tradition going back approximately 1500 years. The Vasantgadh Inscription from modern day Sirohi that has been dated to the 7th century AD uses the term Rajasthaniaditya in reference to the official or maybe for a poet or a bhat who wrote in Rajasthani.[6] The ancient astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta of Bhinmal composed the Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta. In 779 AD, Udhyotan Suri wrote the Kuvalaya Mala partly in Prakrit and partly in Apabhraṃśa.[7] Texts of this era display characteristic Gujarati features such as direct/oblique noun forms, post-positions, and auxiliary verbs. It had three genders as Gujarati does today. During the medieval period, the literary language split into Medieval Marwari and Gujarati.

By around 1300 AD a fairly standardised form of this language emerged. While generally known as Old Gujarati, some scholars prefer the name of Old Western Rajasthani, based on the argument that Gujarati and Rajasthani were not distinct at the time. Also factoring into this preference was the belief that modern Rajasthani sporadically expressed a neuter gender, based on the incorrect conclusion that the [ũ] that came to be pronounced in some areas for masculine [o] after a nasal consonant was analogous to Gujarati's neuter [ũ]. A formal grammar of the precursor to this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra Suri in the reign of Solanki king Jayasimha Siddharaja. Maharana Kumbha wrote Sangeet Raj, a book on musicology and a treatise on Jai Deva’s Geet Govinda.

Geographical distribution

Most of the Rajasthani languages are chiefly spoken in the state of Rajasthan but are also spoken in Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. Rajasthani languages are also spoken in the Bahawalpur and Multan sectors of the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Tharparkar district of Sindh. It merges with Riasti and Saraiki in Bahawalpur and Multan areas, respectively. It comes in contact with Sindhi from Dera Rahim Yar Khan through Sukkur and Ummerkot. This language is common in many areas of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Many linguists (Shackle, 1976 and Gusain, 2000) agree that it shares many phonological (implosives), morphological (future tense marker and negation) and syntactic features with Riasti and Saraiki. A distribution of the geographical area can be found in 'Linguistic Survey of India' by George A. Grierson.

Rajasthani language speakers in India.
Rajasthani language speakers in India.


The Rajasthani languages belong to the Western Indo-Aryan language family. However, they are controversially conflated with the Hindi languages of the Central-Zone in the Indian national census, among other places[citation needed]. The main Rajasthani subgroups are:[8]

Rajasthani language and geographical distribution of its dialects
Rajasthani language and geographical distribution of its dialects

Official status

India's National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi,[13] and University Grants Commission recognize Rajasthani as a distinct language, and it is taught as such in both Jodhpur's Jai Narain Vyas University and Udaipur's Mohanlal Sukhadia University. The state Board of Secondary Education included Rajasthani in its course of studies, and it has been an optional subject since 1973. National recognition has lagged, however.

In 2003, the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution to insert recognition of Rajasthani into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. In May 2015, a senior member of the pressure group Rajasthani Bhasha Manyata Samiti said at a New Delhi press conference: “Twelve years have passed, but there has absolutely been no forward movement.”[14]

All 25 Members of Parliament elected from Rajasthan state,[14] as well as former Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia,[15] have also voiced support for official recognition of the language.[16]

Writing system

Script of Rajasthani accessed from Mewar State Records
Script of Rajasthani accessed from Mewar State Records
Bahi Patta written by Maharana Pratap in Old Mewari
Bahi Patta written by Maharana Pratap in Old Mewari

In India, Rajasthani is written in the Devanagari script, an abugida which is written from left to right. Earlier, the Mahajani script, or Modiya, was used to write Rajasthani. The script is also called as Maru Gurjari in a few records. In Pakistan, where Rajasthani is considered a minor language,[17] a variant of the Sindhi script is used to write Rajasthani dialects.[18][19]

Salient features

In common with most other Indo-Iranian languages, the basic sentence typology is subject–object–verb. On a lexical level, Rajasthani has perhaps a 50 to 65 percent overlap with Hindi, based on a comparison of a 210-word Swadesh list. Most pronouns and interrogative words differ from Hindi, but the language does have several regular correspondences with, and phonetic transformations from, Hindi. The /s/ in Hindi is often realized as /h/ in Rajasthani — for example, the word ‘gold’ is /sona/ (सोना) in Hindi and /hono/ (होनो) in the Marwari dialect of Rajasthani. Furthermore, there are a number of vowel substitutions, and the Hindi /l/ sound (ल) is often realized in Rajasthani as a retroflex lateral /ɭ/ (ळ).


Rajasthani has 10 vowels and 31 consonants. The Rajasthani language Bagri has developed three lexical tones: low, mid and high.[20]

Front Central Back
Close i u
ɪ ʊ
Mid e ə o
ɛ ɔ
Open ɑ
Labial Dental/
Retroflex Post-alv./
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ
Plosive p



Fricative s ʃ ɦ
Tap or Flap ɾ ɽ
Approximant ʋ l ɭ̆[5] j


Rajasthani has two numbers and two genders with three cases. Postpositions are of two categories, inflexional and derivational. Derivational postpositions are mostly omitted in actual discourse.[21]


Prominent linguists

Linguists and their work and year: [Note: Works concerned only with linguistics, not with literature]

Works on Rajasthani grammar

See also


  1. ^ "Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength - 2011" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ Ernst Kausen, 2006. Die Klassifikation der indogermanischen Sprachen (Microsoft Word, 133 KB)
  3. ^ Census of India, 2001. Rajasthan. New Delhi: Government Press
  4. ^ Stroński, Krzysztof, Joanna Tokaj, and Saartje Verbeke. "A diachronic account of converbal constructions in old rajasthani." Historical Linguistics 2015: Selected papers from the 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Naples, 27–31 July 2015. Vol. 348. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Masica, Colin (1991), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2.
  6. ^ Bhandarkar, Devadatta Ramakrishna (1908). "Vasantgadh Inscription of Varmalata: (Vikrama) Samvat 682".
  7. ^ Ajay Mitra Shastri; R. K. Sharma; Devendra Handa (2005). Revealing India's past: recent trends in art and archaeology. Aryan Books International. p. 227. ISBN 8173052875. It is an established fact that during 10th–11th century...Interestingly the language was known as the Gujjar Bhakha..
  8. ^ Ethnologue.com: Ethnologue report for Rajasthani
  9. ^ Gold, Ann Grodzins. A Carnival of Parting: The Tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chand as Sung and Told by Madhu Natisar Nath of Ghatiyali, Rajasthan. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1992 1992. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft3g500573/
  10. ^ a b c d e f g https://censusindia.gov.in/2011Census/C-16_25062018_NEW.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^ "pg no 293,296".
  12. ^ "Pakistan & Afghanistan - Carte linguistique / Linguistic map".
  13. ^ "..:: Welcome to Sahitya Akademi - About us ::." sahitya-akademi.gov.in. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  14. ^ a b Press Trust of India, "Sit-in for constitutional recognition of Rajasthani planned", 4 May 2015, The Economic Times. Accessed 22 April 2016.
  15. ^ Press Trust of India, "Vasundhara Raje flags off ‘Rajasthani language rath yatra’", 26 July 2015, The Economic Times. Accessed 22 April 2016
  16. ^ "Vasundhara Raje flags off 'Rajasthani language rath yatra'". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  17. ^ "Language policy, multilingualism and language vitality in Pakistan" (PDF). Quaid-i-Azam University. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  18. ^ "Goaria". Ethnologue. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  19. ^ "Dhatki". Ethnologue. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  20. ^ Gusain 2000b
  21. ^ Gusain 2003
  22. ^ Dixon 1994.
  23. ^ "?" (PDF).